Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Andy Kubert
Inks by Sandra Hope
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Lettering by Nick J. Napolitano
Release Date: May 11, 2011
The world has changed, and Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert are responsible.
Readers of Johns’ recent stint on The Flash know that a big story has been building centering around The Flash’s arch rival Professor Zoom, aka The Reverse Flash. Aged bodies have turned up dead, and it seems that Zoom has found a way to bring the past, present, and future all to one moment in time, and all we know is that this can prove to be extremely dangerous.
Flashpoint is DC’s big summertime event that focuses on a displaced Barry Allen in an unfamiliar world, and honestly, I felt like Barry Allen when I read this comic.
Spoilers abound below for Flashpoint #1 so proceed with caution.
Flashpoint #1 picks up with Barry Allen waking up in his office at the Central City crime lab when he overhears that Citizen Cold, the local hero, was fighting against The Pied Piper. In a rush to stop the madness, Barry Allen darts away from his desk to transform into The Flash, but notices he doesn’t have his ring, and he falls down a flight of stairs, and is greeted by his mother. Fans of The Flash will know that, in our universe, Barry Allen’s mother is dead, so we get a nice emotional moment between the two of them. Barry is trying to put the pieces of his life together, tells his mother that he is The Flash, who she is not familiar with, so Allen starts asking about other heroes. Mrs. Allen doesn’t recognize any of the heroes he mentions, until he brings up Batman.
Cut to to a murderous Batman who is viciously hunting on the rooftops Gotham City. When he tries to murder the brand new, completely insane villain named “Yo-Yo”, who appears to be a youthful woman, Cyborg saves her and confronts Batman. We then find out that Wonder Woman and Aquaman have ravished parts of the world, and are becoming increasingly dangerous. Cyborg tries to amass a group of heroes and possibly villains, honestly it’s hard to tell at this point, and most agree under the condition that Batman is a part of the deal, and when Batman declines due to the lack of organization and tensions within the team, the rest of the members decline, as well.
The issue wraps up with Barry Allen traveling to Gotham City to see Bruce Wayne in a completely run down Wayne Manor. He goes down to the Batcave to discover it is completely low tech, and we find out that the Wayne behind the mask is not the one we are used to.
And that can pretty much be said about the entire issue. It’s easily the most intriguing first issue that I’ve read in a very long time, but it’s still hard to read because literally everything is foreign to the reader, and that’s really it’s only flaw. Johns typically does an good job of taking obtuse concepts and simplifying them to make an easy read, so it’s surprising that this first issue remains insanely hard to follow, but honestly, I don’t think it’s the writing. It’s the concept. In this alternate reality book we have characters that are similar to familiar DC Heroes, like Element Girl screams Metamorpho, while Citizen Cold is the good guy analog to Captain Cold, but one thing that bothered me were the pop culture references that seemed forced into the book to make the reader feel more comfortable. There are references to Harry Potter and a couple of other things that we’re supposed to get, but my whole thing is that Professor Zoom has changed the time line, so would J.K. Rowling even exist? I don’t know! But judging by previous science fiction time traveling tales, messing with the timeline either changes everything or nothing!
Anyway, that’s the only real complaint. It’s a little difficult to follow because of reasons like that, but with blockbuster events like this, the pieces of the puzzle don’t really starting making sense until further down the line. It was a strong first issue with beautiful art from the amazing Andy Kubert, so the series is on the right track, so let’s just see if it keeps this pace up.
But, oh man, who Batman is completely blew my mind when it was revealed on the last page.