Flashpoint. Let’s fucking do this.
BOOSTER GOLD #45
Our story picks up where it left off last time, with the government sending Doomsday to kill Booster Gold for, quite literally, no reason at all. They see him, immediately assume he’s an Atlantean spy without having any real cause to make such an assumption, and then they commit all their resources to his destruction without any further investigation. I’m not sure why, but this bothers me more than anything else I’ve read in any of the Flashpoint stories – and trust me, there’s a lot of dumb shit to choose from.
In any case, in the midst of fighting Doomsday, Booster is recalling his history with the monster, and wow I’d forgotten that Mr. Gold himself is the one who gave Doomsday his name way back in The Death of Superman. Go you, Booster!
This fistfight down memory lane continues for a little while, and then Doomsday suddenly orders our hero to surrender himself to the “Surface Defense Protectorate” and Booster is shocked that the beast can talk! “This is seriously messed up,” he proclaims, and he’s totally right. As it turns out, Doomsday’s body is being controlled Avatar-style by General Nathaniel Adam (aka Captain Atom in non-Flashpointland).
This is one of my favorite tropes of shitty storytelling: characters explaining things to each other that they already know about, for the benefit of filling the reader in. I think am going to start talking like this to people in my life. “Good morning, sir. You are, as you know, my landlord. As such, we have reached an agreement by which you collect monthly payments in exchange for providing me with a space in which to reside. As you are well aware, I have given you these payments on the first day of the month for the past several years, and today is no exception. Having provided you with the previously agreed-upon amount, I will now return to the apartment on the third floor which, as you know, is where I live.” How do you think people would react? Do you think they’d start wondering if they were characters in a book?
Meanwhile, the Booster/Doomsday battle smashes and bashes its way into an apartment building, a la Predator 2. But instead of a hilariously foul-mouthed old lady, the duo run into a hot Greek babe:
Booster rescues the babe, who turns out to be a Greek heiress named Alexandra Gianopoulos, and flies her to a cabin in the woods for some reason. Alexandra doesn’t trust Booster at first, but once he tells her his crazy story, they make fast friends. Booster hits the internet to google about the new world he’s found himself in, and soon learns about the war and Cyborg and the scary new Batman and blablabla. Just like Barry Allen before him, Booster takes about fifteen seconds to figure out that Professor Zoom is somehow behind all of this:
Man, if Professor Zoom is trying to keep his involvement a secret, he’s doing a terrible fucking job! Booster somehow uses the computer to detect a small “chronal signature anomaly” just outside of Gotham City, so he flies off to check it out. As soon as he’s gone, Alexandra starts glowing, flying, and talking to herself about how Aquaman killed her father. THERE IS MORE TO HER THAN MEETS THE EYE!
Booster tracks his chrono-synclastic infundibulum or whatever to Wayne Manor, but suddenly a plane shows up and airdrops Doomsday right on top of his golden ass! Alexandra appears, having followed Booster, and attacks the plane:
It appears that Greeky McLie-and-Fly is fighting on Booster’s side, at least for now. However, her impulsive attack on the plane managed to do little more than knock out Captain Atom’s connection to Doomsday, causing the government guys to completely lose control of the monster. As our story TO BE CONTINUES, poor Booster Gold suddenly finds himself face to face with the primal, mindless Doomsday we all know and love. Hang in there, Booster! See you next month!
FLASHPOINT: EMPEROR AQUAMAN #1
To be completely honest, not a whole hell of a lot happens in Emperor Aquaman. It’s a pretty short and straightforward story, which is padded by the device of splitting it up between flashback and present-day segments.
Eleven months ago, Geo-Force, king of the fictional European nation Markovia, decided to align himself with Aquaman for protection against Amazon forces. The Atlanteans feigned an alliance, but betrayed Geo-Force by using him to help create the bomb that flooded Europe. Aquaman still holds the Markovian king captive, planning to use him to locate his sister Terra (who is in league with the Amazons), and eventually to make him “shake the earth,” whatever that entails. Oh yeah, also, Mera is dead and Aquaman is pissed off about it.
Sorry for such a quickie synopsis of this one, but when you get right down to it, what I described is pretty much all that happens in this brief but well-told tale of political intrigue and personal loss. Instead of boring you with more, I’ll just show you this awesomeness:
Aquaman really knows how to make a splash! LOL!
FLASHPOINT: DEATHSTROKE & THE CURSE OF THE RAVAGER #1
Remember when I wondered if Deathstroke would survive Aquaman’s attack? Well unfortunately Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager #1 will leave that question unanswered, because the book only depicts the events that led up to Pirate Captain Deathstroke’s debut appearance in Flashpoint #2.
We open with Deathstroke, captain of the pirate ship Ravager, waxing poetic about how the chaos of war provides an opportunity, for those who choose not to take sides, to become bloodthirsty superpirates and reap the spoils of a world on the verge of self-destruction. However, these ruminations are soon interrupted by a confrontation with the rival pirate Warlord, who Deathstroke is convinced is holding his daughter Rose as a prisoner. The crew of the Ravager sack the shit out of Warlord’s ship, taking everyone aboard prisoner and freezing the ship solid:
Deathstroke allows Warlord to escape, as he is only focused on finding his daughter. Unfortunately for him, Warlord’s female captive was not Rose, but somebody named Jenny Blitz.
D-to-tha-Stroke follows a lead to an island prison, where a guard reveals that Rose was taken to a metahuman lab in Norway. After taking over the facility, he recruits a couple of new mateys from among the prisoners:
This impassioned Braveheart speech leads to Clayface, Electric Eel, Sonar, and a few other dudes joining Deathstroke’s crew. The search for Rose continues inland where we sync up with the events of Flashpoint #2, with Aquaman tridenting Deathstroke right in the breadbasket:
Oh no! Will Deathstroke survive?? Probably not, right?
FLASHPOINT: FRANKENSTEIN AND THE CREATURES OF THE UNKNOWN #1
The DC Comics version of Frankenstein’s monster (as opposed to Marvel’s version) dates back to 1948, but has recently risen to prominence in Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory series. I have not read that series, so I knew very little about this dude prior to diving into his Flashpoint tie-in. However, since this book is written by the awesome Jeff Lemire, I had a feeling it would kick ass, and I wasn’t disappointed.
I don’t know what Frankenstein is like in the DCU proper, but if I had to describe the Flashpoint version of the character, I’d do it like this: Captain America’s backstory with Thor’s personality and the Hulk’s looks, but without being derivative of any of those characters.
Our story begins in an unspecified region of the north Atlantic during World War II. Check out the book’s very first panel:
Thanks Ed!* Wheee, I love that there’s a note from the editor in this book! You hardly ever see that anymore, so it tickled me pink that somebody decided readers needed to told what “Jerry” was slang for. I love it, and would love to see more editor’s notes in comics!
*The Editor –Chadd
So anyway, a bunch of American soldiers are fighting some Germans in the snow, when they stumble across the goddamn Frankenstein Monster!
Frankenstein, ever the poet, proclaims that “where evil walks… Frankenstein lives” and then he apparently joins the Army!
Cut to a year later in a classified location, where a scientist named Mazursky is proudly showing off the supersoldiers he’s created to Frankenstein, and by supersoldiers of course he means a bunch of monsters in giant test tubes. There’s a dracula, a wolfman, some kind of demon thing, and he’s even turned his own daughter into a creature from the Black Lagoon! Mazursky is convinced that by turning these soldiers into “living embodiments of this century’s classic archetypes of fear,” together they can end the war swiftly. Frankenstein is kind of pissed at this callous bastardization of humanity…
…but not so pissed that he doesn’t become the leader of this ragtag group of Creature Commandos. And hey, it turns out Mazursky was right about monsters being the key to victory, because it takes Frankenstein and his groovy ghoulies about four panels worth of battling before this happens:
The Monster Squad storm Hitler’s secret base and chop his fucking head off! So the next time some smartypants history professor is talking your ear off about how World War II really ended, you look him in the eye and say, “Sir, World War II ended when Frankenstein decapitated Hitler.” I’ve found that boring conversations usually wrap up pretty quickly once you throw a statement like that into the mix.
Once the war is over, the government decides to shut down the Creature Commando initiative in favor of an all-robot army, and the monsters are all put into a state of stasis. They wake up in 2011, and are shocked at the new world they’ve been thrust into. The team are all regressing too deeply into their monster nature, and need some of Mazurksy’s plasma formula to keep themselves stable. Luckily, the black lagoon lady remembers that her father had a secret lab outside of Gotham City, in Slaughter Swamp (an area most known, it’s worth noting, for being the home base of Solomon Grundy), and the monsters decide to head there to see if he left anything behind.
As the monsters begin their little road trip, military guys discover that they’ve escaped and decide to send the best monster hunter in the world after them, a monster hunter whose identity is revealed on the issue’s very last page. Who is this cliffhanger-worthy character, you ask?
Yes, it’s Shrieve! Of course it’s Shrieve! Who else would it be, am I right? Man, this is a pretty presumptuous way to end this book, with the assumption that a single reader will have any fucking idea who Shrieve is. I sure don’t. And, admit it, neither do you.
Despite that – man, this shit fucking ruled. Lemire is going to be writing a Frankenstein title as part of DC’s #1 reboot thingie in September, and if it’s half as good as this shit, I’ll read all four issues of it!
FLASHPOINT: CITIZEN COLD #1
As you might remember, Captain Cold is Central City’s greatest superhero in the Flashpoint universe, and now we finally get to learn more about how that happened. Hooray.
The book opens with an epic battle between Captain Cold and Mr. Freeze, which is such an obviously perfect idea that I find it hard to believe that it’s never happened before.
Whether or not this is the first time these dudes have clashed, it’s awesome to see them go at each other. Captain Cold, of course, battles his way to a stunning victory:
Awesome!! He goes on to murder Mr. Freeze, by the way. You see, the deal with Captain Cold is that even in this universe, he’s still a pretty shitty dude. He tricks villains into committing crimes and then battles them for money and sex and publicity, kind of like old school Booster Gold. The difference between Cold and Booster is that Cold is more than willing to kill to keep this sham going. Kill in cold blood.
But it seems like good old Leonard Snart’s luck is about to run out. Not only are his imprisoned Rogues (under the leadership of Mirror Master) scheming to take him out, but reporters Iris and Wally West are investigating him, suspicious that this hero isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. On top of all that, he learns that his sister has been arrested for the murder of their abusive father, and he longs to be by her side in her hour of need.
As Cold is trying to process all these problems, Wally West is secretly photographing him from a rooftop across the street from his apartment, which leads to the discovery that the great Citizen Cold is none other than two-bit thug Leonard Snart. What a scoop! Wally’s sure to get the Pulitzer for this one!
Wally jets the fuck out of there as if he’s The Flash or something, and he’s all like “Did he see me? Did he see me?” Spoiler alert: He saw him. We TO BE CONTINUE with a splash panel of Captain Cold killing the living shit out of Wally West. That’s cold!
That’s it for Week 4 of Flashpoint, only two weeks late! Since we’ve all got Captain Cold fresh in our minds, I will leave you with one of the character’s finest moments:
Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1
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Flashpoint: Grodd of War #1
Flashpoint: Deadpool and the Flying Graysons #1