Review: Flashpoint #4

What can I say about Flashpoint that hasn’t already been said before?  It’s a lost series, a book that doesn’t know what it wants to be.  It certainly isn’t an adventure story – every time a team is formed to deal with a problem, they collapse or fail immediately.   Every attempt to become epic quickly backfires, every attempt to become post-apocalyptic is thwarted by the mundane.  In service of a more fully realized story, this dedication to defying expectation might be noble; in Flashpoint, it just feels like padding to keep a simple story running for the proper number of trade-worthy issues.

There’s no subtlety to Aquaman or Wonder Woman here – any character they might have had, any tragedy that made their conflict poignant or meaningful in any way has been relegated to the comparatively excellent Wonder Woman and the Furies and Emperor Aquaman tie-ins.  There’s no rhyme or reason behind Enchantress’ bizarre betrayal – I’d imagine you’d have to read Secret Seven to know or care why that happened.  There’s no explanation why Reverse Flash would seek to return now, when Flash and a team of metahumans find it most important to find and defeat him.  Everything here is done for shock value, from Wonder Woman murdering a child hero in cold blood to Thawne’s sudden reappearance.  Flashpoint left the subtlety, the character beats, the extended action scenes to the tie-ins.  This may be the first event in history that’s vastly more satisfying the more you ignore the main story.

Grade: C-

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6 Responses to Review: Flashpoint #4

  1. Alastor says:

    Hi, first post and all. Well, what I wanted to say was that WW did not kill Billy; it was her aunt Penthylesia (or summething like that)… and the Enchantress part it’s really told in Secret Seven. Seems she is at odds with her June Moone persona (sorry if I misspelled the name), and the Amazons (again the evil aunt) promised to help if she killed the Seven.

    To me, Flashpoint has been a fun read but I can be biased as I like elseworlds stories, and this is maybe the uber-elseworld tale, in the sense that it happens over a reality… not in other realities. The problem here is that A) the story is build from the neccesity to buy all the tie-ins or related titles; B) the reader has to care about the world and characters; and C) the pieces must be placed by the reader as the story just show you a figment of a world. I mean, people has problems with the normal DCU, which is seen in much more depth than this one.

    In that light I can see the points of your review and agree with them. Even if I have liked Flashpoint, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t with it’s own flaws and mistakes.

    PS: I hope Legion of Doom does the only thing I think will be able to salvage such bad narrative until now. Though it would only add more darkness to a world that is a dark hero-caliptic place, it would be better than what has been delivered so far. Even would fix it.

    PS2: Sorry for my bad writting but english is not my primary language… and btw, what other related minis have you read?

    • Cal Cleary says:

      Thanks for reading!

      I often enjoy alternate world or altered reality stories, too. As I said in my review of Flashpoint #2, Age of Apocalypse was one of the first comics I read, and along with things like Days of Future Past, really shaped how I viewed the X-Men for years to come, and I consider stories like Kurt Busiek’s altered-history story “The Nearness of You” from Astro Cityt to be a stirring example of what the medium is capable of. Flashpoint just isn’t doing it for me on a character or plotting level, and those are two very vital things in these event comics.

      I’m reading every issue of Wonder Woman and the Furies, Emperor Aquaman, Lois Lane and the Resistance and Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos, but I checked out the first issue of almost every single mini, even the really bad ones (Canterbury Cricket, I’m looking at you!).

      How about you – favorite tie-ins?

  2. lebeau says:

    Boy, C- is a very, very generous grade. This thing is a train wreck. Some of the tie-ins are good. But the main book is awful.

    • Cal Cleary says:

      The grade is heavily weighted based on the strength of some of the tie-ins. But yeah, if I’d been in a bad mood when I read this, it could easily have been D-range.

      What did you think of the Johns/Lee Justice League preview, by the way?

      • lebeau says:

        Honestly, I haven’t read it yet. I read FP4 late after I finally got the kids to bed. I may have been a tad grumpy, but I was downright annoyed when I finished reading this issue. It was like a Greatest Hits album of all of Johns’ most lazy writing. Element Woman and her juice box obsession really put me over the top.

        This issue, for me, was the worst thing I have read from Johns in a long time. And I don’t hold his writing in high esteem.

  3. Michael says:

    Flashpoint, Flashpoint, Flashpoint. I’m not angry at you … just really, really disappointed. Sigh.

    Aspects of FP have been quite enjoyable. I really liked the first issue.

    But the longer the event has gone on and the more I’ve read, the more it hasn’t made sense and the more frustrated I’ve become. I’ve read almost all the comics, although I have a bit of catching up to do on a couple of the tie-ins. I thought Batman was excellent, Abin Sur ended with a bang, Frankenstein was really solid (but didn’t really matter to FP as a whole), and Aquaman and Wonder Woman started strong and had their moments before getting a little lost in the ridiculousness of their stories.

    I suppose one beef I haven’t been able to get past is whole Thawne managed to mess so much up. It doesn’t make sense.

    Age of Apocalypse was also one of my early comic book experiences (I was a late bloomer, who started collecting when I was 18) and comparing the two is not very favourable to FP. In particular, AoA made a lot of sense and the characters acted in a way that was consistent with their characters – in the altered circumstances of that timeline.

    Ultimately, FP doesn’t really feel like it matters, even though it’s changing the entire face of DC. Characters die willy-nilly. Motivations are blurry and a bit erratic. And everything else you mention is pretty spot on.

    It’s a shame.

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