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Review: Flashpoint Beyond #0

Flashpoint Beyond #0

When it comes to events for DC, it feels like there’s isolated “low level” ones that are fairly easy to dive into for new readers. But, if you go beyond that, they tend to go heavy into DC continuity relying on readers to have encyclopedic knowledge of the DC Universe. Years ago, Flashpoint was the rare event that new readers could dive into as it cleared all of that continuity to introduce us to a new world. Readers discovered things as each issue explored this broken world. Things got complicated from there as characters from Watchmen were folded into the new DC Universe and its “rebirth” creating an ever evolving “meta”story. That meta story has clearly taken turns through the years with concepts added and dropped. Flashpoint Beyond #0 kicks off the latest chapter of that meta story requiring readers to have a bit deeper knowledge of DC history both new and old to really enjoy it.

Written by Geoff Johns, Flashpoint Beyond #0 takes us back to the world where Thomas Wayne is Batman, Bruce died, Atlantis and the Amazons are at war, and a whole lot of other things have changed. But, this world isn’t even the Flashpoint we knew. Something has changed even this and the first issue dives into that mystery as Thomas Wayne attempts to put the pieces of that puzzle together.

For the most part, Flashpoint Beyond #0 is pretty easy to follow. Someone has manipulated this world. It’s the details that will be what gets lost for new readers. The opening of the issue kicks off with Batman, Mime, and Marionette breaking into the Time Masters’ HQ to retrieve something. There we get references to 5G, upcoming death of the Justice League, Deathstroke acting weird, and more. It’s a lot to take in and the dropping of crumbs that for a while felt like a standard in DC Comics. For new readers, it’s a lot of gibberish that feels like it distracts, it’s the inside info that’ll get long time fans excited though.

But beyond that, Johns does a decent job of using Thomas Wayne as out guide to the mystery laid out and this new world. The frustration he feels oozes off the page and there’s a slight madness to his actions. It feels like a nice mix of spandex and a detective/noir story.

That’s helped by the art of Eduardo Risso who’s joined by Trish Mulvihill on color and Rob Leigh on lettering. The look of the comic fits that “detective” vibe with a hint of spiraling madness about it. It’s a solid style that fits the tone of the comic well. Thomas Wayne’s depiction feels like an old, weary man more in line with the older Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond. The use of color creates a very dynamic look that at times is reminiscent of Batman the Animated Series. And there’s even a bit of Frank Miller influence in its use of shadows. It’s a look that blends so many things together but it all works so well. There’s some panels which stand out as a negative here and there, mostly when eyes are a focus, but that’s the exception not the rule of the comic.

Flashpoint Beyond #0 isn’t bad in any way. It’s the first piece in a bigger puzzle. But, without the rest of the pieces, the enjoyment of it is going to be mixed. The perfect example of its issue is its ending which relies on revealing a character and unless you know who it is, it falls flat. That’s the reliance on DC history that feels like it only works for some. How much the comic continues to do that will be the overall indicator of how much this series is for anyone that’s not the diehard fans.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Eduardo Risso
Color: Trish Mulvihill Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus Comics