Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, Jesse Delperdang, and Alex Sinclair
Everything changes here.
Seriously, everything changes here, in case you’ve been under a rock and don’t know. This is the epic end of Flashpoint, and the segue to the new DC Universe. There’s action, drama, questions, answers, and even some real and true emotion. It’s the finale to a series that has been as plagued by bad pacing as it has benefited from having some of the best epic super hero art in years. Seriously, the book has been a mismatch from issue to issue with highs and lows that really depended more on your personal tastes than anything else. Me personally? I’ve enjoyed it despite the bad pacing, but I know that many haven’t. This issue, however, is almost a league in and of itself compared to the rest of the series due simply to the nature of what it is. The bridge from old to new makes this a pivotal issue in DC’s modern history, but it makes this an interesting issue to look at. I mean, do you review it as the last issue of Flashpoint or as the segue to the future?
Anyway, enough rambling, let’s get to the actual content of the issue!
The issue picks up immediately on the hills of the last issue, with Zoom entering the fray to hand Barry’s ass to him and explain pretty much everything. In the first few pages you find out how Flashpoint happened, who was responsible, what moment in time changed everything, and all of the little side effects. All this plot we’ve been wondering about since the start is just fed to us immediately to get it out of the way, and that isn’t a bad thing. The villain should monologue before smacking the crap out of a hero further, especially when your villain is the Reverse Flash. Everything kind of fits that theme that they’ve given him, and there’s a lot of swerves thrown at the reader. Most of them pretty good, and I especially liked what happens to Thawne as I did not see it coming.
The Amazon/Atlantis war also continues in this issue, but it’s almost a passing moment. A few pages of focus, a few in the background of other events taking place, but some cool moments figure in anyway. Enchantress is with the Amazons now and after helping to bring down Captain Thunder last issue, she spends this issue happily slaughtering anyone who fights for the other side. The Resistance shows up in full force, even The Outsider is there, and it makes for a cool splash page, but it also winds up being utterly unimportant. The war itself gets that feeling, as there are quite a few cool moments, but you never get the sense that the outcome of it matters. It’s just the end of our buddy story with Barry and Thomas Wayne, which has been the crux of this series. The Flash/Batman dynamic is well handled here, and rightfully it’s Thomas who has to tell Barry when the time comes that he needs to stop trying to save this world and go fix the timeline. Everything this Batman has done since meeting the Flash has been in the interest of sacrificing himself to bring back his son, and knowing that he obviously wasn’t going to be seen past this issue, it was nice for his character arc to be able to come first circle. He has faith in Barry Allen.
Barry’s final stop before saving the world is an interesting one, though not completely unexpected. Barry know deep down that what he needs to do is right, but going to get the justification that he does is something that makes sense given his character. He’s the hero, he wants to save everyone, and having to take in the fact that he can’t is something that really truly bothers him. It drives him to change things back, to fix everything, but he could never anticipate what would happen when he did. DC promised us a two page spread to bridge us from the old DCU to the new one, and that isn’t a lie. There’s an actual explanation for why things have changed the way that they have, and it’s not a bad one.
The art is fantastic in this issue, as it has been the entire series. Andy Kubert does big blockbuster super heroics meshed with iconic imagery and makes it look like a million bucks. Even the scenes with the war look great as he really tells a lot of the story in the background with action. There’s a lot of detail in this issue, and like I said, the background feels just as important as the foreground. Kubert puts over the fact that this issue happens during a war so much better than Johns does, which really does feel according to plan. The battle damage on the costumes is a nice touch, as are the overall damages to the characters. By the end of the issue Barry and Batman look like they’ve been through war, you can see it on their faces, in their costumes, and even in their eyes. Kubert nails the emotion through the end of the issue, especially in the final pages where so much is told just through his art. When you see it, you’ll know exactly what I mean, but it’s an amazing character moment told completely through Andy’s art.
Barry’s return caps off the issue, and we find out bits and pieces of the new status quo. Nothing overly telling, but it’s a nice character driven way to end the series. The issue has a really good ending, kind of going back to where it all started and giving a little bit of closure. The issue started strong, kind of went everywhere for the sake of going everywhere in the middle, and the ended well. Not perfectly paced, the problem still being an issue almost completely until the end, but I didn’t really expect that to be worked out. Really, the biggest problem I have with this issue is just how much of an afterthought that war becomes despite being the center of seemingly everything to go on thus far in the series. The fact that it gets breezed past so quickly cuts down the overall importance of the Flashpoint timeline when held up next to the importance of reaching the New 52, while at the same time it makes sense because…it’s never been about Flashpoint. It’s always been about fixing it.
It’s not a perfect story, but it’s very enjoyable, and like I said, I really enjoy the ending.
Tags: andy kubert, Batman, DC Comics Relaunch, Flashpoint (DC Comics), Geoff Johns, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, The Flash