Flashpoint has had a lot of highlights. Unfortunately, most of those highlights have not exactly been positive ones: insanity, poor storytelling, laughably overwrought cliffhangers and more are what we’ll remember about Flashpoint, while it’s sporadically good tie-ins will be forgotten. Two of the stronger tie-ins, Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown and Emperor Aquaman, ended last week. Here’s a review of both.
As a trial run for Jeff Lemire’s upcoming Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown didn’t provide much of a suggestion as to how he handles the character: largely an ensemble book, Frankenstein was more muscle than character, and while he gets a few good moments, most of it is overshadowed by haphazard character archetypes. Lemire clearly has some good ideas: let’s hope that, with room to expand, Lemire’s storytelling will grow to match his ambition.
Smith and Champagne finish off the arc with somewhat uneven art. Some of the designs are fun pulp throwbacks, but the action is static and the characters are impassive and unemotional. It suits the book. What started out as gloriously weird, a book where Frankenstein and a werewolf could decapitate Hitler, ended up as conventional as can be – and ended up having no purpose whatsoever. I suppose it’s intended to show how Frankenstein and S.H.A.D.E. will come to influence the brawl coming in Flashpoint #5, but… well, the actual story here didn’t end up being that interesting. The book radiated promise from first page to last, but rarely lived up to it.
Emperor Aquaman and Wonder Woman and the Furies were not only the best books of the tie-ins, but also the weirdest conceptually: political fantasy, one that gave the background of a war currently raging. It wasn’t as complicated as it should be, but it was clever and interesting and fun. So, how does their story end?
With a brawl. With an unfinished brawl. Bedard does a good job writing the small character beats in the story and lending it a tragic air it probably honestly hasn’t earned, but the fact remains: this was not complete, not even as an emotional arc. There are a number of interesting reveals in this book, though none of them are terribly surprising, and they don’t take us anywhere new. All roads lead to the main Flashpoint title now, and while I understand why they would do that, it still makes the conclusion singularly unsatisfying.