Figuring Out The Flashpoint

Now it’s pretty obvious by now that Flashpoint is the story of someone having gone and screwed up time by changing things. I mean, if you’re reading Flashpoint and haven’t picked up on that… you’re special. Now, the culprit hasn’t even really been hidden, it’s the Reverse Flash trying to screw with Barry Allen’s life as the one thing he can’t do to his arch rival is kill him. So instead… rip through time, change things, make him unspectacular and unimportant. Ruin his life in ways that he’ll never even realize.

Good, compelling villainy.

Anyway, in the Abin Sur Green Lantern mini-series we saw fellow Green Lantern Sinestro go to see Atrocitus to find out about the Flashpoint prophecy.

A moment in time when everything changes, not moments plural. What we’d seen in the Booster Gold series is Booster fixing hiccups in time, and it hadn’t seemed like an out of line guess that maybe the Reverse Flash had been all over history to rewrite it. But this makes it seem like he chose one moment to change, one thing to alter, and then everything changes.

But what could be so big? What one change could be made to effect not only the entire future of Earth, but space as well?

I think he killed Jay Garrick before he could ever become the original Flash.

World of Flashpoint tells us that the Justice Society did, in fact, exist, but without a speedster they fell quickly. A JSA with no Flash? That doesn’t sound like a recipe for success. And given that they don’t seem to have made it out of World War II? Imagine how different the DC Universe would be if the JSA had fallen during the War. Before they ever meant anything.

Now, the fact that Barry Allen grew up a fan of Jay Garrick is no secret, he even took the name Flash to honor Jay (who pre-Crisis was believed to be fictional because of Earth-2, and post-Crisis had just vanished following the war; we all know this is because of Keystone vanishing though). Jay is his hero and who inspired so much of what Barry has done over the years. Go back and read Flash: Rebirth; Barry wanted to be just like Jay ever since he was a kid. So what would Barry be like without Jay?

Let’s look at the DC Universe without Jay Garrick while we’re at it, the JSA without their speedster apparently fell in Flashpoint (no mention of Alan Scott the original non-Corps Green Lantern). Without a JSA we’d have seen World War 2 go down much differently, and the H.U.A.C. would have lost their masked men to attack in the 50’s. Mystery Men, super heroes, they wouldn’t exist in the DC Universe without the JSA. They came first, they inspired the next generation all those decades later. The loss can also bridge the gap that makes sense out of why Aquaman and Wonder Woman came out so differently. The little ripples, the changes that came from the loss of one man, they can shake history like an earthquake. Hell, the Nazi’s are still a world power and control South America in Flashpoint. That’s proof alone that history changed at World War 2.

America would be a different place because of this, without the clear victory in WW2, and with no real thought towards metahumans for decades until all of the sudden there’s an uncontrolled boom, mainly on the villain side, and they have no real means of handling it. This led to things like Project Superman, hell, in WW2 it led to Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos. America is no longer a country that feels protected by their heroes; its a country that feels under-protected and has a steadfast desire to win a metahuman arms race. They’re paranoid, they’re cautious, and their first real honest-to-god super hero is Victor “Cyborg” Stone. Even Batman in this world is a vengeance seeking vigilante who is out on his own mission without a care for the bigger picture.

But really, the biggest change that comes out of all of this is that by removing Barry they’ve actually managed to remove the Silver Age entirely. No Superman, the wrong Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are bad guys, Hal Jordan never got his ring, Hawkgirl is one of Wonder Woman’s Furies, no mention of Hawkman or the Atom. There is no Silver Age in the world of Flashpoint, and I blame it as a direct result of the crippling of the Golden Age by removing Jay Garrick from the equation. The Modern Age still comes to pass, but it almost feels reactionary to the glut of villains that arises to take advantage of a void of heroes. Look at some of the characters that we’ve seen in Flashpoint, look where they’re at. Cyborg is America’s top hero, Firestorm was made up of Ronnie and Jason, Vixen was a villain, Jaime Reyes was the Blue Beetle, Osiris exists as the Prince of Kahndaq, Mr. Terrific had his life ruined by the Outsider, Kent Nelson travels with Haley’s Circus. The list goes on (and I’m compiling a massive version of it too), and aside from a few little exceptions… there is no Golden or Silver Age.

So let me take this one better and see if I can’t blow your minds. Think about the DC Comics Relaunch in September, and how Superman is called the world’s first super hero, and how there is no reference to the JSA. We know that Flashpoint is the catalyst of change for the DC Universe, but we haven’t been told just what is going to change to create this altered universe.

Well, what if the change is that Jay Garrick stays dead? That the JSA is  distant memory in the past, and that what we’re seeing is the Silver Age of DC Comics having come together in modern times?

For the last decade we’ve grown accustomed to not only having the JSA in the canon, but with their own monthly book that was pretty damn good for the most part (particularly the initial volume by James Robinson, David Goyer, and Geoff Johns). Fans are up-in-arms about the potential removal of the group, they’re that ingrained in the modern culture of DC Comics. People can’t seem to fathom DC without them anymore, and for as cool as that is, it also reminds me that prior to 1999 there hadn’t been an active JSA for more than a mini series or a cameo since the Crisis. Zero Hour was used as a way to remove the team from the table, aging the majority of the group and in several cases all the way to death. Sure, it came across as a method to put over Extant (who never got the respect he deserved… different rant for a different day), and the JSA were fed to him like enhancement talent, but it was a telling moment as far as moving the Golden Age permanently into the background to push forward with the modern age.

Alan Scott, who wasn’t even aged by Extant, gave his ring to Kyle Rayner (though Hal “Parallax” Jordan crushed it under his heel) before settling into his role as Sentinel about three or four years later. Jay Garrick tore the lightning bolt off of his chest and walked off with Alan in a quiet display of respect as no heroes tried to stop, nor said a word.

The JSA is an amazing concept, but if it doesn’t fit with the stories that the writers are trying to tell, I can completely understand it. Despite the magical methods, the Speed Force, all the random zany reasons that every JSA member has for still appearing in their 50’s despite fighting in a way sixty years ago, it’s not really enough sometimes. You still have these characters who, by nature, create a weird timeline. If the DC Universe was meant to have begun inside of the last decade, then having a generation over fifty years prior with nothing in between just seems odd. Then again, you could also make the case that with the DC Comics Relaunch in this post-Flashpoint continuity, that the Silver Age is the new Modern Age.

You could also argue that the removal of the JSA could just mean that we’re not too far off from having a Crisis on Multiple Earths to put the JSA back on Earth 2. That instead of these great superheroes from the 40’s simply being erased, that they were put back where they were before the original Crisis. That JLA and JSA team ups in the future will feature younger version of both teams, and the JSA we see in the future will be one that might only be slightly removed from the second World War in their own timeline.

But at the end of the day it boils down to one thing, and only one thing.

Eobard Thawne, Professor Zoom, The Reverse Flash.

He removed someone from history and it changed everything, he created a Flashpoint from which everything was changed. And that removal could very easily be Jay Garrick, with the end result being that both Golden and Silver Ages never occurred.

That, my friends, is Flashpoint.

Tags: , , , , , , ,