Off The Shelf Reviews: Flashpoint #1

This past Wednesday, DC Comics dropped its big summer event on everyone's doorstep with the release of Flashpoint #1. The questions is thought, did it get off to a running start or fall flat on its face? Read on to find out... I've been so excited for both of the big events from Marvel and DC this summer; and since we've already had some time to get into Fear Itself, I was very anxious for Flashpoint to come out. DC hadn't really given away much of the details surrounding this storyline, so we weren't spoiled to anything other than the very basic premise. Not only that, but the Flash books have been leading up to this for awhile, with some elements stretching all the way back to the Flash: Rebirth series (a good jumping on point for new-Flash readers). DC's current mastermind aka Geoff Johns is once again behind the wheel of this event, with artwork done by Andy Kubert.

When I got to the store on Wednesday to pick this up, my initial thought was this: the cover looks magnificant! This issue is one of the very few comics that I have read where seeing the cover made me want to read the book so badly. Andy Kubert's art on the cover is so bold and full of color that I just enjoy looking at this. Seriously, this is the kind of artwork I want to see redone as a poster. And moving into the issue, that same style is present all throughout this issue. The comparison to the "before" universe and the "changed" universe (more on that in a second) is very apparent, we can already infer that this is a much darker world just from the changes in scenery.

So what's Flashpoint all about? Basically, Barry Allen wakes up to find himself in a radically changed world, where no one has heard of the Flash, Superman, or even the Justice League. This isn't a parallel world, this is his reality now. Its been hinted that the Reverse-Flash has been tampering with time, rewriting it to alter the DC Universe in significant ways. Not only is Barry Allen not the Flash, but its implied that he may not even have his super speed (that was pretty vague to me, its never explicitly stated, but you see him having to use a car versus whipping around the world at super speed--but maybe I just missed something). As Barry tries to make sense of the situation, he finds out there is still one "hero" around that he recognizes---Batman. So he heads off to Gotham to get Batman to help him make things right.

I've talked about the artwork, but what did I think of the story? Honestly, as much as I love the premise and the artwork, I kept feeling like I wanted more from this issue. It just seemed that for a #1 issue thats supposed to get people excited and into this series, DC really could have given us a little bit more, maybe an action scene or something. For instance, we find out that now, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are vicious enemies that are set in bringing about war. Aquaman has already sunk most of Europe into the ocean--maybe they could have shown us a bit of this instead of just having another character tell us this? I will say that this issue seemed as if someone new could just jump in and start reading; as continuity is thrown out the window and it doesn't matter if you recognize characters because now they are entirely different people. I applaud DC for this. I may have to test this out and see if people who aren't regular DC fans enjoy this issue.

CONCLUSION: Borrow. Find someone who has gotten this issue and read it to see if its something that appeals for you. I have several questions still (For instance, DC set up that the Reverse Flash can change the past but he can't kill Barry Allen because his "negative speed force" can't exist if Barry Allen's "Speed Force" doesn't, but yet he's still around when Barry is powerless?) but I'm hoping that the second issue does a better job of explaining things, and I'm eagerly awaiting it.