|Cover by Andy Kubert, |
Ivan Reis, George Perez
Flashpoint #1 (May 11, 2011)
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
I was originally planning on reading another Marvel comic for today, preferably one that featured a solo hero like Spider-Man or Captain America. I ended up changing my mind at the last minute, however, and decided to read an entirely new character for me: the Flash.
My only previous experience with the Flash (like most of my DC hero experience) comes from the show Justice League Unlimited. I remember the Flash being portrayed as very light and sort of goofy; like the smart aleck sidekick in a sitcom or romantic comedy. I liked him enough but I really knew nothing of his background or his powers except that obviously, he’s really, really fast. I also picked up this particular work, Flashpoint, because it proclaimed right on the cover that this was Chapter 1 of 5 and I figured this would be as good a place as any to start.
So once again, I jumped right into an unfamiliar landscape with unfamiliar characters. This issue was framed at the beginning and conclusion with off-screen narration and it was not until the ending that it was revealed just who the speaker was; of course, I had my suspicions that it was not the Flash himself when the narrator claimed, “I’m not the hero of this story.” Meta and cryptic.
I can’t really determine if this was a good way for me to be introduced to the Flash as the entire plot of this story arc is basically a superhero-infused version of It’s a Wonderful Life. Barry Allen aka the Flash wakes up at his job to find himself in an alternate timeline: his long dead mother is alive, his wife is single and dating someone else, the Flash and the Justice League do not even exist. Oh man!
Also, Gotham looks suspiciously like Pottersville, what with all the casinos and neon lights advertising seedy underbellies. The only hero in this comic that appears to still exist is Batman, though the reader quickly realizes that this is not the Batman we know and love. He’s much more callous and vindictive, willing to kill and unwilling to help a group of alternate heroes, led by Cyborg (about whom I know nothing) as they attempt to stage a revolution against the now tyrannical Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Also, half of Europe is apparently under water now.
I have to say that though this was an interesting plotline and I guess in a vague way I’m sort of curious of just where all of this goes, nothing about the comic really held me. The writing was not particularly strong and instead the issue seemed to rely mostly on the surprise twist (spoiler alert: it was kind of cool but not enough to make me run out and buy all the next issues) at the ending of this chapter. The best comics don’t focus just on narrative tricks (and gratuitous geek references like this issue, which included both a Star Wars and Harry Potter reference on the same page. Don’t mock me, Flashpoint) but on a combination of strong characterization, dialogue, art, and narrative. I wish Flashpoint had had all of these but it simply did not.