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Graeme Will Review 9 Comics In A Flash: Flashpoint Month 2, Weeks 1 & 2

As promised yesterday, here’re the Flashpoint-centric reviews I was meaning to write, before I launched into a Fear Itself diatribe…

FLASHPOINT #2: If there’s an award for the most exposition-filled comic of the year, it’ll have to go to Flashpoint. Almost every character spends a ridiculous time just explaining things to other people in this series; I almost want to see a spin-off series called Barry Allen and AltBatman Explain It All with the two heroes tackling different subjects each month. And yet, somehow, despite everything, it works. Maybe it’s because there’s a sense of things slowly being put into place – The introductions of Aquaman and, to a lesser extent, Wonder Woman in this issue feel appropriately important, and I like when they appear, after their mentions in the previous issue – or, more likely, it’s the comedy and “big idea”-ness of Barry’s “Clearly, I need to get my powers back” scheme (Where was this Barry Allen in Geoff Johns’ Flash series? Decisive, bold, actually doing things instead of running around and being confused and frowning… This is a Flash I would have enjoyed reading about!), which walks the fine line between genius and stupid so well that I have no idea what side it’s actually on. For the second month, I am genuinely surprised that this is better than expected, and actually Good. That said, next month, it’ll probably all go to shit, right?

FLASHPOINT: ABIN SUR – THE GREEN LANTERN #1: Well, I’ll give Adam Schlagman this: He can do Geoff Johns very well. In just one issue, he’s already got both the tied-up-in-continuity and inflated-sense-of-its-own-importance of the regular GL series down. Of all the Flashpoint stories so far, this feels most like a What If? story, especially with the final page recasting Flashpoint as Blackest Night in terms of prophecies. Felipe Massafera does a fine enough job, and I’m sure the synergy folks are very happy to see Sinestro look like his movie incarnation. Let’s say tenuously Okay if you like that kind of thing.

FLASHPOINT: BATMAN – KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #1: Jeff’s right, it looks lovely, but there’s nothing here that really catches my interest. Azzarello doesn’t make Thomas Wayne that interesting, it all feels pretty much like an undercooked Elseworlds Batman book and who hasn’t read too many of those already? Eh, and that’s mostly for the art.

FLASHPOINT: CITIZEN COLD #1: In theory, I really like The Flash, and equally in theory, the Rogues are a large part of that. I like the idea of a bunch of supervillains who are just pissy about one particular hero, and who have a sense of camaraderie and bros-before-superheroes mentality. That said, almost everything Geoff Johns has done for the Rogues has never worked for me, and this series, with Scott Kolins writing, is like everything I don’t like about the Johnsian approach to the character in one sensitively-rendered-in-pencil-and-overpowering-colors package. Crap, even before you get to the “So, DC is really ripping off Jimmie Robinson’s Bomb Queen? Really?” set-up.

FLASHPOINT: DEATHSTROKE AND THE CURSE OF THE RAVAGER #1: I’ve never liked Deathstroke, and making him a pirate really doesn’t do anything to change that. Like Citizen Cold, this is one of those comics that seems to think that bad people doing bad things because they’re bad is inherently interesting, and… Well, it’s just not for me, really. Eh, because it’s probably fine for people who are into this genre. If nothing else, there’s some interestingly Sean Philips-ish inking on Joe Bennett towards the end of the book that I’d like to see again.

FLASHPOINT: EMPEROR AQUAMAN #1: And after two books where the set-up of “Bad Guy Is Bad” turned me off, here’s one where I liked it despite myself. That’s not to say that Tony Bedard’s script doesn’t have flaws – The structure is all over the place, and the dialogue tends towards the melodramatic – or that Ardian Syaf’s art (Very late 1990s, not as Kuberty as recent appearances) is spectacular, but there’s something not just about seeing Aquaman as a bastard, but the specifics of his plan to destroy the surface world – Yes, it’s Aquaman as more successful Namor, pretty much – that hooked my interest. Okay, although I doubt I’ll pick up the rest of the series because I’ll be surprised if the threads I’m interested in don’t get resolved in the main Flashpoint book.

FLASHPOINT: FRANKENSTEIN AND THE CREATURES OF THE UNKNOWN #1: It’s very, very much early days for this series still, but I’ll admit it: I really like Jeff Lemire’s take on Frankenstein, and am happy to see him write the post-Flashpoint ongoing series announced today. Ibraim Roberson’s art is… just there, really, neither exciting nor disagreeable, although it’s weirdly reminiscent of William Tucci’s work for some reason. An Okay opener, and enough to get me to stay on for what’s next.

FLASHPOINT: SECRET SEVEN #1: Firstly, Enid Blyton must be rolling over in her grave when she sees what Flashpoint has done to her beloved creations. Second: This is really just Milligan writing a Shade series again, and I’m loving it. It’s not his Vertigo Shade, of course (Sadly), but there’s enough hint of that (“Why am I talking to this thing? It isn’t real. I feel the same way about myself. No. I have to get a grip. I’m real.”), mixed with some Ditko-esque lunacy to make me a very happy man indeed. Admittedly, like Frankenstein, this acts more as a taster to get me involved in the post-Flashpoint version of the book (Justice League Dark, which is a terrible name but a promising looking book), but even so: It’s Good.

FLASHPOINT: WORLD OF FLASHPOINT #1: Ah, finally, a comic that challenges Flashpoint in the exposition stakes! I guess it makes sense, but I’m clearly a sucker for this kind of thing because this was one of the more enjoyable tie-ins to me, even though nothing really happens until the last half of the book. That said, I like the Runaways-ripoff set-up enough to have some weird goodwill for the book, even if I’m not sure it’s got enough legs even to take it to the end of three issues. That said, it was Okay, and I might even pick up the next issue. Who knew?

9 Responses to “ Graeme Will Review 9 Comics In A Flash: Flashpoint Month 2, Weeks 1 & 2 ”

  1. Perhaps it’s just me but everything in Flashpoint 2 that doesn’t have Flash or Batman feels like filler.

  2. And most of the stuff with Flash and Batman felt like filler.

  3. I would have given World Of Flashpoint a Good rating, right up until the last panel.
    If the build up/tension is someone pushing a button, then stuff better happen right away once that button gets pushed.
    A twelve hour timer?
    I’ve seen super-heroes stop things in time with 10seconds to go – a twelve hour window is a walk in the park.
    And what really bothers me?
    This wouldn’t have bothered me at all if the story hadn’t sucked me right in.

  4. “That said, almost everything Geoff Johns has done for the Rogues has never worked for me….” — Graeme McMillan

    As a huge Rogues’ Gallery fan, I gotta ask…what don’t you like about Johns’ work on them? I credit Johns with rescuing them from limbo and revitalizing them, as they’d been left languishing pretty much since Barry’s death. Other than Ostrander, not even Mark Waid knew what to do with them (per ‘The Flash Companion’).

    Don’t get me wrong…Johns’ recent Flash run was pretty dire, but the treatment of Cold, Weather Wizard, and the rest has always been a personal highlight in his body of work.

  5. Wait a minute, didn’t Deathstroke get speared (i.e., gored and killed) by Aquaman in Flashpoint #2?

    If so, huge spoiler if you’re reading the Deathstroke mini.

  6. Loving the return of the capsule reviews.

    Here’s a question from somebody who basically isn’t following Flashpoint. When I flipped through Flashpoint #1 I was left pretty cold by all the expository dialogue and the unimaginative revamps… except one. For some reason, I love the idea of Captain Marvel as an Infinity Man-type hero summoned by six kids, each of whom gets one of the gods’ powers on their own. (The Battle Cat Tawky Tawny, or the fact that Captain Thunder seems to be a bit of a prick, not so much. Why does he always play the heavy in these alternate timeline stories?)

    I would think that Captain Marvel concept has the most potential of any of them. Honestly, I would love to read stories about that character, at least for a couple of issues. But he doesn’t seem to be in any of the miniseries! Will this character actually show up in any of the spin-offs? Or is it just twenty series of “What if Deathstroke… was a pirate?”

  7. “I credit Johns with rescuing them from limbo and revitalizing them, as they’d been left languishing pretty much since Barry’s death”

    As a kid, I really loved the William Messner-Loebs era issue where Wally takes one of his girlfriends to a Rogue’s party. One of the Rogues invites Wally West to one of their parties as a joke, but then he shows up, with some random girl… I haven’t read any of the ones where they’ve been straight-up bad guys, I don’t think, but I guess some small part of me always feels a little sad when I’ve heard they got all evil after that…

  8. Joe Bennett is massively underrated. He’s come a long way from his mid-1990s Image work – his work on Priest’s THE CREW was bloody awesome. I wish he had more interesting books to draw more frequently.

    He’d quickly be up there with the big ones, if somebody gave him a chance to work with, say, Grant Morrison. I think he’s pretty quick, too.

  9. I loved Messner-Loebs’ take on them as well. They were a bunch of criminals who could have ruled the world had Barry Allen not baited them into playing cat-and-mouse games; without him, some of them reformed, some of them tried to and failed, and a couple kept baiting the new kid in the same suit.

    Johns’ “everyone’s evil and angry and traumatized” approach just seemed boring after that. The whole “All that stuff you thought was character growth over the last 20 years? Just a magic spell! Everything has to be just like it was when I was a kid” bit didn’t endear me to it, either.

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