A Belated Burial of Flashpoint #5

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Last week, I did an autopsy on Flashpoint, a crossover event that shouldn’t have existed as presented, let alone lasted five issues and numerous mini-series titles. With Flashpoint issue #5, I feel like I’m holding the cirrhosis-stained liver of a being drunk on power. Maybe it’s Geoff Johns. Maybe it’s Dan Didio. Either way it’s someone who helped puke out this series, all the while confident that the fans would buy it. And I don’t get free review copies (and that won’t likely change after posting this), so I guess I can only say “Well played, DC.”

Let’s get this over with. I’ll continue to use the numbering system because it’s like I’m undertaking a comics recovery program I’ll never finish.

1. I almost went back to edit my review last week regarding something I wrote: “What in the world makes The Flash, or more specifically The Flash’s Mother, the lynchpin to the entire reality?” Later, the answer seemed obvious. Crisis on Infinite Earths! I couldn’t believe I overlooked that. But then I realized so did Johns.

2. John Roberson told me last week, “You don’t give Johns his due. He’s managed to go 5 issues without anyone’s arm getting ripped off. That’s gotta be a record.” I have only this for you, John, from issue #5.

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3. Above: Misogyny?

4. And it’s Superman, no less. Never mind that he is killing a magical being, which he’s vulnerable to. I can’t think about this anymore, because I’m starting to feel like Geoff John’s unpaid, unheard assistant.

5. Now that I think about it, Mark Waid did a small story arc on the effects of Barry Allen not being a flash. I think the impact of that was summed up in the last two issues of the arc that introduced Barry Allen’s long lost brother or something. That was cool in comparison.

6. I’m sorry. I’m just pissed at the waste of space in something pamphlet sized. I’m going to be pissed once this is collected.

7. New Warriors. Take a look at this cover, and I’ll explain below.

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8. Okay. About twenty years ago, Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley did a story where history was changed by The Sphinx (the then-new female version). Basically, the Sphinx makes it so the original helped to conquer the world by having Egypt colononize the America colonies and take over the rest of the world. The world, as a result, is very unstable. Mutants (all the regular, white Marvel characters we’re familiar with) are persecuted and the Sphinx helps keep order with a Egyptian version of the Avengers, including their only white member, Richard Rider, aka New Warrior Nova. The whole plot was set up and resolved in three issues of the regular title.

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9. This was by no means a perfectly logical story. How the hell would the Assyrian Avengers have the same names as the “real” Avengers was just one question that came up. But it was enjoyable and short and didn’t try to change the entire Marvel Universe. How did a story that likely would have worked best as a similar three-parter turn out to be the lynchpin for DC’s 52 title relaunch?

10. Yes, with the last issue of Flashpoint, all my concerns about plot advancement were resolved in the fifth issue. Yes, this is still aggravating, as this should have been done in issue two or three.

11. Fellow WGI man Don Conley was talking to me about this series last night, saying how bad it is that Barry Allen was once the most revered character in the DC canon. I agree. The fact that he’s basically a big screw up for five issues is sad. Why WAS he brought back?

12. I love that Eobard Thawne is now “outside the time stream.” I would normally think that meant he would cease to exist. But this is Johns’ own take on time travel. The only one who seems to share his logic is Barry’s mother, and she doesn’t even exist (again).

13. Now that I think about it, why wouldn’t Thor be a member of the Assyrian Avengers? His world wouldn’t be affected by the Sphinx. Does that mean Thor’s racist? There’s some basis for that in recent Marvel history…

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Maybe the Clone Thor was just more honest about his feelings.

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Or maybe I’ve just been looking for an excuse to use these graphics.

14. In issue #1 of Flashpoint, it begins with the Thomas Wayne Batman starting the narrative using the past tense as if he somehow survived the events long enough to do so. Of course, he dies well before the book’s end. I know Johns thought that was a great surprise for the reader, but no. Sloppy writing. And the whole narrative thing was abandoned after issue #1 anyway. It could have been a great lead in to the note to Bruce Wayne at the end of the series, but no. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

15. Lest it seems like I’m piling on Johns, Andy Kubert…

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Kubert doing emotion is really awkward isn’t it? But given how all the human emotion is so last minute, I’m putting this one on Johns too.

16. If Barry Allen rebuilt the DC Universe from his own mind, why didn’t he remember everyone from his Silver Age days. That could have been an awesome idea. DC did the retro books for crying out loud. So much potential, so little thought.

17. On the other hand, some of the covers and redesigns on things like Red Hood and the Outlaws and Supergirl makes it look like this new universe could have come out of the repressed fetish fantasies of a straight edge Republican type like Barry Allen, so maybe there’s some design. But I doubt it.

18. I’m reminded of a movie I saw earlier this week on DVD called “Hot Tub Time Machine.”

19. Bear with me here. And don’t judge. I needed a funny movie, and it was only a buck at the Blockbuster machine.

20. To sum up with spoilers, “Hot Tub Time Machine” has a man-child character who goes back in time via a hot tub with other friends and the grownup son he didn’t know was his. The plot actually sounds like one DC Comics would use. I’ll start another paragraph to let this fact sink in.

21. At the end of the movie, the man-child stays in the 80’s and ends up changing history to have everything go his way, fronting Mötley Crüe and starting Google. But I think 9-11 still happened. Priorities, I guess.

22. Yes, this movie is a comedy, and overall a fun, brainless one. Still, I found the movie’s handling of time travel to be a little creepy. Especially when one of the characters at the film’s end found out he had a wife in the new timeline. A wife he now knew nothing about. Even scarier was the idea that someone who was unintelligent as the man-child could go back in time, steal vast ideas like the internet and alter destiny without any negative consequences at all.

23. I think Geoff Johns scripted Flashpoint while watching “Hot Tub Time Machine.” Then he just imagined himself punching through time like Superboy, page after page. He went through many keyboards.

24. Second-to-Final Note: The only people who think the 90’s were a good time for mainstream comics were the people who sold comics in the 90’s. DC having so many old Image and X-Men staff on the New 52 can’t even be called sloppy seconds.

25. Final Note: I bought Hawk and Dove #1. I am going to hell with the rest of you.

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About Chad Parenteau

I'm a poet. I run the Stone Soup Poetry series in Cambridge that runs every Monday night. I review comics in my spare time.
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2 Responses to A Belated Burial of Flashpoint #5

  1. Pingback: Draw Two: Action Comics #4-5 in DC’s New 52 Pick Up | wegotcomicissues

  2. Pingback: By-The-Numbers Presents: A Review of The Flashpoint Paradox | wegotcomicissues

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