As we ease into the penultimate week of Flashpoint‘s first act, we are unfortunately faced with the event’s weakest batch of books yet. Not that these titles (in which Lois Lane, Kid Flash, Reverse Flash and The Outsider headline) are bad or anything, but they just didn’t immediately grab me the way many of the other tie-ins have. Let’s start with the best of the bunch…
FLASHPOINT: LOIS LANE AND THE RESISTANCE #1
When the cover to this issue was first previewed and the background characters were still in silhouette, there was lots of speculation that one of them would wind up being John Constantine. That turned out to be untrue, and instead we get two ladies, a giant bug (who I assume is the goddamn “Canterbury Cricket”), and Etrigan. This is awesome news for me because I love Etrigan, but lousy news for me because he doesn’t actually appear in the issue! Still, this is definitely this week’s best book.
We begin with Lois and Jimmy covering a fashion show in Paris for the Daily Planet. Lois complains to Perry White about how frivolous this assignment is, and that she should be covering the Amazon assault on the UK, but he counters that in these troubled times people need culture more than ever and blablabla. Also, Jimmy says something totally creepy to Lois:
Ew. I don’t like that, Jimmy! It sounds like something a Hills Have Eyes mutant might say right before he sodomizes you with a railroad spike. Come on, Jimmy, don’t be gross.
The next thing you know – SPLIZZASH! – Aquaman floods the shit out of Paris, and suddenly Lois has bigger problems than her shitty job and Jimmy Olsen’s lechery. Running through the streets with the city of lights crumbling around her, of course Lois’ already-slutty outfit gets shredded into something even skimpier:
Ohhh comic books! Where the slightest physical activity turns every woman into Sheena Queen of the Jungle.
Anyhoo, Lois and Jimmy head up to the top of Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, the highest point in Paris, where they meet up with a friendly priest. Poor, brave, creepy Jimmy Olsen, however, rushes back down to save someone and gets drownded to death. Lois and her new priest friend ruminate on the circumstances:
The priest dude is right to feel hopeless, because when some Amazons arrive to rescue survivors, they call him a “worshipper of false gods” and leave him behind. Pretty harsh, but it’s no skin off Lois’ nose as she gets whisked away in an invisible plane to New Themyscira.
I am really confused by New Themyscira. If I am correctly understanding the bits and pieces of information I’ve picked up from previous Flashpoint stuff… the Amazons took over the UK and built it up into an Amazon society, and then they used Terra’s crazy earth-shifting powers to raise the island high above sea level so it would be protected from the Atlanteans. But does this…
…look like the entirety of the UK to you? Or even Britain? Or even just London? To me, it looks like it’s about three city blocks! Is this just really shitty representational artwork, or have I completely misunderstood something?
In any case, once Lois is inside of the Bottle City of New Themyscira, shit gets real. The Amazons are batshit crazy, and Lois is suddenly stuck in a suffocating society ruled by people like this. The genders are separated upon arrival, and due to the fact that “women are made stronger by the absence of men,” dudez are all put into some sort of prison labor system. Lois is horrified, but while she is mournfully cradling dead Jimmy’s beloved camera to her chest, she makes a shocking discovery:
Jimmy, as it turns out, was a secret agent, working with Cyborg to locate and open a dialogue with the UK’s anti-Amazon resistance movement. Lois, whose existence feels empty without the constant glare of Jimmy Olsen’s eyes on her tits, insists on taking over his mission, lest his death be in vain. Cyborg doesn’t quite know what to do about this, so he’s just sort of like, “um, okay, well gather intel on the enemy or whatever, and I’ll get back to you.”
And Lois does just that. She works herself up the ranks of this Orwellian society until she is a candidate for “conversion,” the highly dangerous process by which the best and brightest of the female recruits are physically transformed into superhuman Amazons. The day before she is to be converted, having learned all she could, she attempts to make an escape. On the run and cornered by Amazon warriors, Lois finally makes contact with a member of the Resistance:
Penny Black (who seems to be named after an old-ass postage stamp) comes to the rescue and says a bunch of dumb British things like “wotcha” and “fancy.” But before the two can escape, they are cornered and held at crossbowpoint by the tag team powerhouse of Artemis and Hawkgirl, and the issue ends.
Despite confusing art, a half-ass scenario, and some goofy characterizations, I like this book. But Lois Lane is a longtime favorite of mine, so I’d pretty much dig anything that casts her as the lead. I look forward to her further adventures with a bunch of annoying British people, but until then I’ll just keep the fires burning with google image search results for my favorite Lois, Erica Durance.
FLASHPOINT: REVERSE FLASH (ONE-SHOT)
I’ve read that, despite what it says on the cover, this is actually a one-shot, and not the first in a three-issue miniseries. That wouldn’t be a big deal if anything happened in this book, but nothing happens in this book.
That’s not to say it’s not good – it’s actually a pretty entertaining autobiography of Professor Eobard Reverse Zoomflash, but it has almost nothing to do with Flashpoint, and doesn’t really tell us anything about this character that we didn’t already know from The Flash: Rebirth and other shit.
One positive thing I’ll say about this book is that I really dig the sketchy-ass cartoony art. It’s nice to see a mainstream superhero comic, part of a big crossover event even, that has the balls to divert from the usual cliché superhero art style. Check it:
As for the story… I mean, I honestly don’t even know how to properly summarize this story without it reading like the Professor Zoom wikipedia page, so maybe you should just go read that? Here it is in a nutshell: This dude is from the future, idolized The Flash, wanted to be The Flash, went back in time and tried to usurp the role of The Flash from the actual Flash. When that didn’t work out, he used time travel to attempt to systematically destroy The Flash’s life, eventually going so far as the kill The Flash’s mother.
It’s nothing new, but it’s a great tale well told, so I can’t really complain. It really helps that Reverse Flash himself is the narrator here; it’s intriguing to see his story through his own eyes. The coolest concept in this book is the Reverse Flash’s perpetual experimentation – it’s fascinating watching this dude endlessly tinkle with the Flash’s past to try to find the exact right formula for a ruined future. Reading this, you can totally see the chain of events that led up to the creation of the Flashpoint universe, but dammit, it ends before we get to that point! Context is nice to have, but we already have context. The whole Flashpoint incident, and whatever Zoom did to set it in motion, is not part of this story. In fact, it’s not even mentioned, and in a book with Flashpoint in its title, that’s pretty weird!
My final thoughts: As a standalone profile of a pretty rad villain, Flashpoint: Reverse Flash totally works. As an examination of that villain’s role in the event that this book is supposedly part of, it’s a complete failure. You can decide for yourself how much that matters to you.
FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST #1
This book was really confusing. It didn’t help that I know more about a donkey’s dick than I know about Bart Allen, but the real issue here is that this story begins inside of a fake virtual world which exists in the distant future of an alternate reality version of a fictional universe, and then it gets even more convoluted.
We open up with Kid Flash running around with Barry Allen (who is his grandfather via time travel or some shit like that), but something doesn’t quite seem right about the world around him. The geography is all wrong, an old injury seems to have disappeared, and most telling of all, Barry is being a total dick to him:
Man, I wish that any time someone I loved hurt my feelings, I could just triumphantly yell my own name and then wake up to discover that I’d been trapped in a Matrix-esque artificial reality. That’s never happened to me, but it is what happens to Kid Flash.
Bart wakes up to find himself strapped to a machine in some kind of crazy high-tech alien-looking lab, and the first thing he discovers is that the Speed Force no longer exists. That is, of course, because Bart is now in Flashpointland, which makes him the third hero that we know of (after Barry Allen and Booster Gold) to be transported to this alternate timeline while still retaining his memories from the “real” world.
Anyway, it turns out that this is the 31st century of the Flashpoint universe, a time period in which Brainiac has taken over the Earth. Brainiac “fished Bart out of the time stream” and put him into virtual reality stasis in an attempt to “pull the chronal energy from his cells.” As Brainiac is explaining all this and trying to contain Kid Flash, a familiar face shows up to save the day:
This is Hot Pursuit, last seen in The Flash #12. The thing is, back then Hot Pursuit’s secret identity was the Flashpoint universe version of Barry Allen, but now it’s the regular-DC-universe version of Barry Allen’s former coworker Patty Spivot behind the mask. Patty rescues Bart from Brainiac, and then explains how she came to find herself in this situation:
Okay, so she doesn’t explain anything per se, but she sure does use a lot of words! I guess that “something bigger with my life” is meant to indicate that she decided to become Hot Pursuit after the original died? We’ll just go with that for now, I guess.
Anyway, the issue ends with Bart figuring out that in this new timeline, he shouldn’t exist, and so he is starting to disappear like Marty Mcfly did in 1955 after he stopped his parents from hooking up.
I guess I mostly enjoyed this issue, but man is there a lot to take in here! With plot twists piled on top of plot twists, all of which are both confusing and nonsensical, I guess Kid Flash Lost really does mean Kid Flash
FLASHPOINT: THE OUTSIDER #1
The Outsider appears to be a brand new character created specifically for Flashpoint, though his name and appearance are taken from a one-time alter ego of Alfred Pennyworth.
This Outsider is Michael Desai, a rich and powerful Luthoresque businessman from India, whose body appears to be made from some kind of stone. We begin with a flashback to Desai’s birth, which was so powerful that it not only exploded his mother’s vagina, but also wiped his entire birth city clear off the map:
After we’re done flashbacking to these humble origins, we catch back up with the Outsider as he participates in Cyborg’s superhero meet-up, first seen waaaaaay back in Flashpoint #1. It’s fun to see this now-legendary event from a new angle… as it turns out, the Outsider himself wasn’t even at that meeting, but was actually just projecting a holographic facsimile of himself, so he could bullshit with Cyborg and take care of some business back in India all at the same time.
And hey – flashing back to the superhero meeting reminded me of something:
Are we going to see the Flashpoint version of Captain
Marvel Thunder again? I sure hope so! I love the concept behind this reimagining (that the Captain is an amalgam of several Shazam-saying members of the Marvel family, a la Captain Planet), and it seems like it’d be a waste not to explore it further. Hopefully, this character will turn up again in future books.
Anyway, we are also reminded that during Cyborg’s meeting, there seemed to be a little bit of animosity between the Outsider and a character named Farooq aka Blackout. We now learn that Michael Desai is desperately searching for this Blackout guy, to no avail. Based on everything else we learn about the Outsider, it’s pretty insane that he can’t find this one dude, since he seems to be secretly controlling the political and economic climate of the entire world:
Who is it that has the balls to go after a man as powerful as the Outsider in his own home? Why, it’s Mr. Terrific of course, along with his wife Mrs. Terrific, and a Japanese superhero called Rising Sun. Judging by the things they scream as they fight, it seems their beef with the Outsider is that he framed them for some crime, had them jailed, dragged their names through the mud, and basically ruined their lives. Now they want revenge. They don’t get revenge:
After the Outsider (along with his awesome Olmec-looking robots) brutally kills his attackers, he figures out that they were freed from prison and sent to kill him by a third party. As we TO BE CONTINUE, he sips on some tea and wonders who is trying to kill him.
As one of the few Flashpoint characters without a regular-DCU counterpart (that I know of, anyway), I am intrigued by Michael Desai. I really like how he seemed to be a superhero during his initial appearance at Cyborg’s pow-wow, but this book clearly paints him as an archetypal comic book supervillain. Who is the Outsider really? I look forward to finding out!
That’s it for this week, kiddos. Next time: the last of the #1 issues!
Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #1
Flashpoint: Project Superman #1
Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries (One-Shot)
Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket (One-Shot)