DC’s new event Flashpoint begins this week, and in spite of myself, I am pretty excited about it! With a freshly-off-of-Brightest-Day Geoff Johns at the helm, this has the potential to be fun as shit, incredibly stupid, or (likeliest of all) a beautiful combination of both. Since I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to read every goddamn page of this thing, I figured I might as well blog about it as I go! Flash Fact: Spoilers ahead.
This is, more or less, the first huge company-wide crossover event from DC that I’ve been in on the ground floor of since I got back into comic books, and it appears like it’s going to be a baptism of fire. Take a look at the May/June checklist:
And that’s just through June; this thing is gonna go on for months! And to complicate things even further, I am going to begin with a comic book that isn’t even on that fucking checklist:
THE FLASH #12
I recently sat down and read all of Johns’ current Flash series in one big chunk. It’s extremely good, but once it gets up to the “Road to Flashpoint” storyline, I start having no idea what the hell is ever going on. Which is something I’m used to from comic books, so no big deal really. Issue #12, out this week, marks the end of the Road to Flashpoint (and, sadly, also the end of the ongoing series), so I figured that would be the appropriate place to start this journey.
The Flash #12 primarily consists of the Reverse Flash (or Professor Zoom or whatever the hell his name is) saying and doing a lot of things I don’t really understand. Most of it is retarded-sounding pseudo-sciencey bullshit:
Unless I’m mistaken, the gist of all this seems to be that the Reverse Flash can manipulate the Speed Force in new fancy ways that allow him to mess around with the very nature of reality. Of course he is going to use these powers to fuck with Barry Allen, and he starts by murdering the alternate-reality version of Barry who has been going by the name Hot Pursuit. Reverse Flash practically has an orgasm over killing his old enemy (even though it’s just a fake version from some other universe), and then he skedaddles off to do more bad shit elsewhere.
The remainder of the issue is either Barry whining about his dead mother, or Barry’s girlfriend Iris whining to him about how he’s closed himself off emotionally, or other people whining about other bullshit, and then lightning crashes dramatically and the issue ends. Which brings us to…
We begin with Barry Allen taking a nap and having a dream about how wonderful his life is, and how he has so many awesome friends and other Flashes to hang out with, and oh what a charmed life he leads and thank god it couldn’t possibly all change in a flash! But when Barry wakes up, it becomes immediately apparent that everything is all different and Twilight Zoney… his colleagues are all talking about the city’s greatest hero Citizen Cold, his own powers seem to be nonexistent, and – GASP! – his mother is still alive! Barry’s mother’s death at the hands of the Reverse Flash has been the primary source of most of Barry’s recent superheroic whining and guilt-feeling, so this is quite a surprise!
As is the case with most people’s first conversations with their mysteriously resurrected mothers, the talk quickly shifts to the Justice League of America. Mrs. Allen has never heard of The Flash or even Superman, but she has heard of Batman. Why, everyone knows who Batman is! With at least this one constant in place, Barry rushes off to Gotham City to get to the bottom of this, and finds himself in the middle of Back to the Future II.
In this reality’s version of Gotham,
Biff Wayne has overrun the entire city with sleazy casinos. Here is my favorite one:
Party on! We cut to Batman pursuing “Yo-Yo” who seems to be this world’s Harley Quinn analogue. After interrogating her on the whereabouts of The Joker, Batman callously throws her off a rooftop to her death. Yo-Yo is saved by Cyborg, who admonishes Batman for constantly murdering criminals in “this particular alley” wink wink nudge nudge. So it seems we have a much more brutal version of Batman who has no problem with killing bad guys, and that is so fucking cool. You got me, Flashpoint, I’m hooked. Congratulations.
Cyborg, who in this world is apparently the shit, has assembled a bunch of superheroes, hoping to convince them to join him in combating a terrible threat, and in the process the readers get a hell of a lot of expositional information shoved up their asses:
Okay, so the Amazons and the Atlantans are at war with each other, and the conflict is tearing the world apart. Got it. We also get our first glimpse of the spectrum of superheroes in Flashpointland, including:
-Element Woman (who is dead in the regular DCU, and who doesn’t even appear to have a Wikipedia page)
–Shade the Changing Man
-a version of the Marvel family who are tied to a hero named Captain Thunder
-some dudes named Farooq and The Outsider
-a bunch of other weirdos who I don’t recognize and aren’t named
Batman refuses to join Cyborg’s team, and as a result all the other heroes get cold feet and start to backpedal, claiming they need more time to think about it. Are you ready for about fifty one-shots worth of them thinking about it? I am!
Meanwhile, Barry Allen’s search for Batman has taken him to Wayne Manor, which seems to have been long-abandoned. He makes his way down to the Batcave and finds it much more sparsely accessorized than he is used to:
Barry is pondering over a shattered photograph of the Wayne family, when suddenly Batman swoops in and attacks him! Barry protests, insisting that they know each other, and in doing so he prompts Batman to spout out a fantastic revelation which I am about to TOTALLY SPOIL…
Barry Allen: Bruce, wait…
Batman: Bruce? Bruce is DEAD!
Whoa. So in this reality, Batman is Frank Castle… a father who watched his wife and son get gunned down, and now goes out and wreaks his deadly vengeance on the criminal scum of his city. I LOVE THIS! Love it love it love it!!! Take my hand in yours, Geoff Johns, and let’s enjoy this beautiful, retarded journey together! Two issues down, and only about 500 more to go!
Booster Gold #44