Off The Shelf Reviews: Flashpoint #2

Issue number 2 of DC's epic tale dropped yesterday, but how was it?  Not since Blackest Night have I been so excited to read an event book.  Since then, I've read a bunch of things and enjoyed some, hated others, etc.; but Flashpoint is one of those titles that I wanted to read right in the store when I grabbed it.  First of all, another SPLENDID cover by Andy Kubert.  One of the things I enjoyed about Blackest Night was Ivan Reis' covers, which I plan on framing and hanging in my studio.  However, I may have to make room for this series as well, because I am loving Kubert's covers for this book--in fact, it may be a big reason why I get so excited to read it when I see it.

So what happens in this issue?  We get to see a bit more of the world in this issue, starting off with Geoff Johns using Deathstroke as a pirate to show us what has happened to Eurpoe and give us a look at Aquaman and how ruthless he has become in this changed reality.  Afterwards, we then slide over to Gotham City where we continue from the ending of issue #1 between Batman and Barry Allen with Barry figuring out what happened in Crime Alley long ago to create this version of Batman.  Batman, of course, thinks he's crazy and starts beating the crap out of him while Barry wonders whats happened.  Suddenly, he cries out as his memories start changing and he understands that this is real.  I wont give away the rest of the book but there is also a cut away to show us what Wonder Woman is like in this world.

This book is great.  Everytime I get to the end of one of these books I get this anxious feeling.  One, because I want to see so much more and two because there is always a perfect cliffhanger that leaves you hating the fact you have to wait another month to see what happened.  Both Flashpoint and Fear Itself dropped this week, and Fear Itself ended up being one of the last books I read this week while this book was the first.  I really just don't care that much what is going on in Fear Itself because its more of the same kind of story telling that we've seen, whereas for me, this is something completely different.  I know the concept has been done before, but as a new comic reader its new to me.

CONCLUSION: Buy.  Don't wait for the trade, as half the fun of this series is the suspense that builds up waiting between each issue.  Between this series and the buzz DC has been building up this week, I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in the months ahead.

Did you pick up this book?  Am I crazy?  Tell me below!

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.