Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gone in a Flashpoint

Today, Pierre continues his thoughts on the DC Relaunch with a look at Flashpoint 5. There are spoilers in this article if you haven't read Flashpoint 5, so be aware.

Flashpoint is over and the DCnU is HERE!! So how could we describe the end of the DCU???
One word. Bittersweet.

Bitter, because it was the end of an era. But sweet because there was some fun tales. Some fun and touching moments in those last comics to be part of the DCU. The Batgirl comic was especially good and sad at the same time. And this is the only Batgirl issue I ever read. and I was sad in the end. So I can understand the disappointment of the Batgirl fans to see this series end like this.

 The Emerald Warrior was a very special treat as well. And that last scene with Batman. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!!! I will miss that series. But at least we will still see Guy in Green Lantern Corps.

JLA was great too. The Saturn/Thanagar War 2 pages spread made me want to read that tale. Damn that could have been a fun saga. But I guess we will never know now.

And the last scene between Dick and Donna was pretty touching as well. Although for comics like the Dark Knight. It is business as usual. The comic basically ends to be continued in the next issue.

Although, technically, the last DCU comic should be the NEW Teen Titans Games GN that will come out in September. I don’t know about you, but I am dying to read that book. I am a huge Perez fan and I was a fan of the Wolfman/Perez Titans. So this book should be pure goodness in each panel. We shall see.

I will miss the DCU. So let’s start with Flashpoint. It was a fun ride…. But I could not help but be disappointed by the final issue. The artwork is very good and full of energy… but the story is another matter. The story has a few very VERY basic flaws that are impossible to ignore/forgive. I must admit. I did not read all of the tie-ins. So it is possible that I have not read a crucial part of the story. But then again if you cannot follow the story from just reading the Flashpoint series itself. there is a problem.

First, the reveal that Barry Allen is the cause of the Flashpoint. That came out of nowhere. In the book Tools to Screenwriting: A writer’s guide to the craft and elements of a screenplay there is a small section devoted to something called planting and payoff. Essentially planting clues early in the story leading towards some sort of payoff later in the story.

A great example of planting and payoff is the film The Sixth Sense. The reveal at the end is a quite a surprise (at least it was to me), but once you watch the film again, you see that all the clues that pointed to the fact that he was a ghost were right there. Right there from the start - but in a subtle enough way that you did not realise what they really meant at the time.

But even after reading the final issue of Flashpoint and knowing how it turns out. Looking back at other issues in the series still leave me clueless as to what lead to this. The closest thing to a plant that I could see is the last few pages of the Flash (Issue 12) where we see Barry at his mother’s grave. Then we see someone whom I assumed is Zoom (although now I think it’s Barry, but him being coloured yellow in one panel mislead me into thinking this was Zoom) saying “It changes.” And then we see a BIG lightning on the last page. That’s it???

Those were the clues that were supposed to lead us to the reveal that Barry had gone back in time to save his mother?? And if he DID go back in time to save his mom, why is he surprised to see her alive in Flashpoint issue #1?? He just saved her.  Oh that’s right - Zoom later tells Barry “You forgot didn’t you?”

Although he did not forget being the Flash… Bruce being Batman… Etc… but he forgot saving his mother 3 seconds after doing it??? Really?? Come on!!

That reveal was so disappointing that it pretty much ruined the whole Flashpoint story for me. And second, the final nail in the coffin, the 2 pages spread explaining the 3 universes merging together to make the new DCnU. Once again, something that comes out of nowhere. A mystery woman that we never saw before and we have no clue as to whom she is comes by and with the help of Barry merges the 3 universes into one.

Holy *@#*#... that is as bad as One More Day or the “no more mutants” from House of M.  Might as well have had God himself come down and create the DCnU. At least we would have had a cool line like “So it is written…. So it shall be.” And it would have been a counterpoint to Mephisto rebooting Spider-man in OMD. If Spidey can make a deal with the Devil to reboot his comic, why not have Flash make a deal with God to reboot the DCU??  Makes about as much sense. 

So anyway… Mystery Lady mentions that history was “shattered into three long ago”. Really… when?? When was the Wildstorm/Vertigo and DCU ever shattered in 3?? Once more something that comes out of nowhere that we read about here for the very first time.

As for Vertigo... it was always part of the DCU. The Vertigo characters just did not interact with the DCU characters much at some point. But it was still the same universe. And DC brought some of the Vertigo characters back to interact more with the rest of the DCU not that long ago. Heck, that was the WHOLE point of Brightest Day. Animal Man, a Vertigo staple, was in 52 for crying out loud. Vertigo and the DCU was the SAME universe. Damn that 2 pages reveal is bad on so many level.

Essentially, the whole point of Flashpoint seems to be to bring the Wildstorm Universe into the DCU.  But it seemed that DC decided to take this opportunity to reboot their lower selling comics as well.
On the flipside, Flashpoint had some fun moments. It was enjoyable to see what they did with Hal Jordan, Abin Sur, Citizen Cold, heck Cyborg hadn’t been so cool since his early days in the NEW Teen Titans. But the reveal that Barry was the cause of Flashpoint and the One More Day type of storytelling device combined with a blantant Deus Ex Machina soiled what was a otherwise rip-roaring comic event tale.

But despite those 2 VERY HUMONGUS flaws, Flashpoint managed to end with a very touching scene between Barry and Bruce.

Up next: Justice League 1!

Until then,

- Pierre


Trey said...

" will miss the DCU."

Well, it's not going anywhere. :)

It's just being tweaked and mildly rebooted like on at least 3 occasions in the past (Crisis, Zero Hero, Infinite Crisis--maybe even the first appearance of the Silver Age Flash counts as one of these, as well).

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Don't you dare try to cheer me up and keep me from weeping like a baby.

The DCU is gone.... GONE I SAYS!!! :(


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