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Review: Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint #1

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint

DC Comics’ Tales From the Dark Multiverse have been fun, twisted takes on infamous storylines. Some entries have been better than others. Overall, it’s been interesting to see where creators take a known story and what they can do with the premise. Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint has Bryan Hitch writing and providing pencils for the world-changing event.

In this version of Flashpoint, Barry Allen doesn’t regain his powers. This leaves the Reverse-Flash to roam this world and do with as he pleases. Hitch takes things to interesting places using the over-sized issue as best he can. Like so many previous one-shots, this is a story that could easily have been a mini-series on its own. A lot is packed into the issue. While it doesn’t deliver a punch, it does entertain, especially for those that have read the original.

While Hitch as a writer and artist can be hit or miss for me, Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint is a solid entry into that world. There’s a logical progression that Hitch takes things as we see Eobard Thawne take advantage of the situation. But, more importantly, we get a debate about the “hope” that Barry Allen represents. Barry’s “hope” created Flashpoint and Thawne points out that hope was actually selfishness. That gets juxtaposed with this version of Batman which is Thomas Wayne who lost his son Bruce in the alley and his wife breakdown after. There’s something interesting and tragic about it all as we know the damage Barry did and wonder if Thawne and Thomas will repeat his mistakes. We also get to see more of what drives Thawne and he finds a new opponent in Wayne.

Hitch’s art is solid as well. While he doesn’t quite bring the motion that so many others do on the Flash, there’s a great use of Thawne’s movement in the art. There’s also the “doom” of Flashpoint without causing the comic to be a downer. This is a drab, depressing world, but Hitch doesn’t drag the comic down by focusing too much in that. The colors of Alex Sinclair and Jeremiah Skipper instead give us oranges, reds, and yellows, that create a mood without the comic itself being moody.

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint does a solid job of revisiting Flashpoint and taking it in a logical direction that’s not just annihilation and war. There’s an intriguing idea behind what Bryan Hitch has created and where the story leaves it. It also creates some intriguing possibilities for the future and Thawne’s character. Like so many of the other “Tales From”, this is a “dark” world I wouldn’t mind revisiting and hope we get to see more of it.

Story: Bryan Hitch Art: Bryan Hitch
Ink: Andrew Currie, Scott Hanna Color: Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyAmazon KindleZeus Comics

Preview: Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint #1

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint #1

Written by: Bryan Hitch
Art by: Bryan Hitch

Spinning out of the events of a world where a single choice by the Flash affected the entire DC Universe, find out what would have happened if Barry Allen had not put things right. In a world where the Flashpoint reality was never undone, where Thomas Wayne still haunts Gotham City as the Batman, and the Amazonian and Atlantean armies still prepare for war, will the Reverse-Flash embrace this darker, deadlier world and finally eclipse Barry Allen’s legacy?

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint #1

Review: The Flash #22

The Flash #22 is a rush of speed lines from artist Howard Porter as The Flash and Batman travel through time and the Speed Force and come to the conclusion (with us readers) that “The Button” is a prologue to the upcoming “Doomsday Clock”. Joshua Williamson and his sometimes co-writer Tom King barely scratched the surface on the cause of the rewriting of the history of the DC Universe. It will be up to Geoff Johns and Gary Frank to tell the story  the Watchmen characters’ connection to the DC continuity. But “The Button” was still a pretty fun ride, especially with the interactions between Batman and Thomas Wayne, who is Batman in the Flashpoint Universe, and there is even at a glimpse at the Justice Society before Williamson, Porter, and colorist Hi-Fi snatch it away.

“The Button” has been like a cool teaser trailer that has some emotional resonance. The Flash #22 starts with a physical and verbal back and forth between The Flash and Reverse Flash until Reverse Flash dies yet again after boasting about being a constant point in a shifting sea of time and space. This seems like a replay of what happened in the first part of “The Button”, but Williamson and Porter throw in the new wrinkle of the return of Jay Garrick in a powerful splash page that reminded me of the winged helmet showing up in the Season 1 finale of The Flash TV show. It a powerful glimpse of hope that is yanked away and probably yet another plot thread that will be explored in “Doomsday Clock” so hence the fact that The Flash #22 seems like yet another teaser for a bigger, upcoming story. There is a running plot thread between the disappearance of the Justice Society, the death of Reverse Flash, and the Watchmen characters that could be really interesting to see play out in the fall. But, for now, it’s nice to see the DC Universe add even more elements from its past to the DC Rebirth universe as Williamson realizes the intergenerational legacy of heroism is one of its greatest strengths, especially where The Flash is concerned.

But The Flash #22 does have some emotional heft between it as Joshua Williamson realizes the connection between the post-Flashpoint/DC Rebirth versions of Barry Allen and Batman. What sets them apart from the other characters in the DC Universe is that they’ve had an opportunity to speak and interact with people who they’ve loved after they were taken from them thanks to the events of Flashpoint and “The Button”. Barry is kind of the perfect person for Batman to talk to after having an extended conversation with his father in previous issues. They have both seen some crazy things and understand how difficult it is to process. The fact that Thomas Wayne wants Bruce to move on with his life and not be Batman is just a major character beat for Batman in general, and Williamson and Porter leave his reaction to these words ambiguous closing on a moody nine panel grid. Hopefully, either Tom King in Batman, Geoff Johns in “Doomsday Clock”, or yet another writer builds upon this powerful moment.

With art that is constantly in motion by Howard Porter along with some nostalgic imagery, The Flash #22 is a suitable end to a storyline that’s only job was getting readers excited for a storyline down the road. However, Joshua Williamson and Porter make time to show Batman and Barry Allen’s personal reactions to this crazy journey so it’s not all sizzle and no steak. “The Button” crossover also shows the care that the Powers that Be at DC Comics are taking to restore and rebuild their history and continuity via the vehicle of relatively self-contained crossovers and slow burn mystery thrillers instead of making Superman a fascist or something.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Howard Porter Colors: Hi-fi
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Flashpoint WILL Impact Arrow (Updated)

It was announced not long ago that the Flashpoint storyline will be coming to The Flash next season. A question that remained out there was if the story would impact Arrow? We now have an answer.

At the Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, Stephen Amell was asked and gave a very clear answer.

It was also revealed that Diggle will be getting a new Cisco designed helmet, Lance doesn’t get reinstated, and fans of Olicity may be disappointed.

Updated: Or not.

Flashpoint Comes to The Flash Season 3

The end of the second season of The Flash saw some potentially world changing events as the series mimicked the comics for a finale that saw Barry saving his mother in the past from being killed by his nemesis Zoom. In DC Comics, this act changes the DC Universe time stream and results in a new DC Universe where Batman was actually Batman’s father, the Amazons were at war with Atlantis, a whole different world in a comic event called Flashpoint that eventually resulted in the changing of the entire DC comics universe into what was dubbed the “New 52.”

This finale begged the question, were we going to see a version of Flashpoint on the small screen? Looks like it!

The Flash star Grant Gustin revealed the title of the first episode on Twitter after being prompted by series producer Greg Berlanti. And the episode is titled “Flashpoint.”

Gustin promises just like all of the other stories the series has mimicked, this will be done in its own way.

Now, is this a way to bring in Supergirl even more into the DC Television Universe? Will we see changes in Arrow? We’ll find out in a few months.

Review: The Flash #41

theflash041If there can be said to be one common complaint about the Flash and his own series, it would be about the magnitude of the character’s adventures.  By comparison to other heroes who often get thrown into bigger battles and bigger conspiracies, the Flash mostly seems to stay at home in Central City dealing with the usual foes from his Rogue’s Gallery.  The stories are usually fun enough and of an overall good quality, only that there is something missing to move them from being good to being great.

If the big scale story telling is something which is missing from the series, then this new story arc might be the one to do it.  For a lot of heroes and their books, it seems as though Convergence acted as a bit of a brake to forward momentum for the series, but in the case of this title it has taken a little taste of what has come before and expanded on it.  It should be said though that there is probably no better way to push the Flash forward than to give him his arch-enemy to deal with.  While Thawn/Reverse-Flash/Professor Zoom was introduced before Convergence this is the story arc that is going to tell the first major battle between the two since Flashpoint (which threw DC into the new 52).  The setting is a simple enough one, Barry is still trying to crack the case of the death of his mother, and visits his father in prison to tell him that he has new information that might help clear his father’s name and to find the true killer.  Barry knows that Thawn is involved, he just doesn’t know who that is and therefore what that means.  Instead he is poking around at parts of the truth.  At the same time his father is involved in a prison break that sees a few of the Rogue’s Gallery making an attempt for freedom.

While it remains to be seen what will happen with the story arc, the setup could not be better.  The story telling is very clever as it tells the story in a way that the reader gets to experience the mystery just as Barry does.  Of course the reader knows that Thawn is coming, but that is really their only advantage over the character.  There are a few other clever moves as well, such as using members of the Rogue’s gallery that are not as well known, and thus less likely to steal the show from the bigger enemy.  As it stands this is shaping up to be the best Flash story since Flashpoint, and for any fans that have been looking for a place to get on board, this is it!

Story: Robert Venditti and Van Jensen Art: Brett Booth
Story: 9.1 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Justice League #40

jl040At its roots there can be said to be no better team book in comics than the Justice League.  As the hero team which more or less spawned every other hero team, either as a reaction or counter-reaction, the League was the first to define the application of superpowered individuals together, and its approach to the medium is seminal.  Although it was later passed by other team books (X-Men and Avengers) there is something about the group that speaks to a greater story.  As has been said before, DC is the realm of the myths, whereas Marvel is the realm of the everyday.  This means that Marvel stories can be more approachable, but when DC throws everything it has at its heroes, the greater stories result.  Throw in the fact that series writer Geoff Johns often does best when he goes big, and this is the setup for what could be one of the more memorable stories in the team’s history, and definitely one that has been begging to be told since the New 52 relaunch.

Such is the setup for the upcoming Darkseid War, but this issue does not take the expected turn towards a super throwdown.  Instead it focuses on an unlikely conduit for the development of the story, the enigmatic Metron.  He is perhaps never shown to be more enticing than he is here, shown as a ttrue observer, acting only in the case of events which could cause him to lose the ability to observe.  Such has been the case before when he brokered the infamous peace between the Highfather and Darkseid, resulting in the exchange of Orion and Mister Miracle, and such would seem to be the case here as he intervenes on behalf of Earth and the oncoming battle with an unexpected foe.  In the process he revisits some of the notable events of DC Comics history, the best of the best of the crossovers, referencing Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and Flashpoint (and the not so great Convergence.)  In so doing he sets the stage and makes some interesting revelations about the fate of Earth and those that threaten it.

Simply put, those is Johns doing what he does best.  While he might occasionally stumble with presenting approachable characters, there is no one better at putting together a big story like this among comics big two.  He pulled it off numerous times on his run on Green Lantern, and Flashpoint was a decent enough entry in the sequence of the universe changing crossovers.  It is a shame that Covergence is getting all of the focus at the moment and that something like this was not approached instead (as it would have been easy to change to the plot of Convergence to fit this plot.)  As it stands this is a near perfect lead in to the Darkseid War, and one that should get the fans excited for what is to come.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Kevin Maguire, Phil Jimenez, Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Scott Kolins, Jason Fabok, Jim Lee
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Around the Tubes

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It’s Labor Day here in the US, so I don’t expect a lot of news to be hitting today, but that’s not going to stop us with keeping up with posts today.  While you wait for those, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Kotaku – Sunday Comics: Don’t Look a Yoshi in the Mouth – Each week Kotaku brings the best in the past week’s web comics.

Con Coverage:

MTV Geek – The 10th Anniversary Dragon-Con Parade in Photos: Part 3

MTV Geek – Trolling The Exhibitor Booths At Dragon-Con

Bleeding Cool – VIDEO: The Dragon*Con Cosplay Parade 2011

MTV Geek – DragonCon 2011: Your Daily Dragon

MTV Geek – Dragon-Con: Not-To-Miss Action Throughout The Last Two Days!

MTV Geek – Dragon-Con Parade Marches On For Its 10th Anniversary

MTV Geek – The 10th Anniversary Dragon-Con Parade In Photos: Part 2

Bleeding Cool – Cosplay And Drew Blank At Dragon*Con – Confessions Of An Anti-Hero

Around the Tubes Reviews:

The Mary Sue – Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1

Bleeding Cool – Justice League #1

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 8/31/11

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It’s a good week to finally catch up on reviews.  The DC universe is totally changed with two comics, but are they worth it?  Will the gamble pay off for DC comics?  We can’t answer that this week, but here’s the reviews for the week.

Fear Itself: The Deep #3 – A lot of talk about Undying Ones and me yawning.  The comic and limited series isn’t bad in any way, but there’s nothing to grab me.  It’s one of the numerous Fear Itself tie-ins that’s so far hasn’t shown me any reason that it was needed and couldn’t be done in the main comic with a tweaked storyline.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7

Flashpoint #5 – One hell of an ending.  The story might have had some faults, but for all of the over the top action, it came back to the heart of the characters.  The ending with it’s tender, quiet moment is perfect in every way.  Flashpoint will easily go down as a classic event in DC and comics in general.  Beyond solid and as an end cap for the DC universe that was it’s great, but more importantly it’s the messenger of what’s to come.

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5

Iron Man 2.0 #8 – The story is cool as part of the mystery is solved, but the coloring for this issue is so off.  Why is Jim Rhodes a white guy for a good chunk of it?  The Palmer Adley story continues and overall it’s a decent story, but it looks like the last quarter of this issue kicks it up a notch.  The low art score is for the messed up coloring which does take away from the issue.

Story: 7.5 Art: 6.75 Overall: 7

Journey Into Mystery #626.1 – The point of Marvel’s point one is to introduce us to the comic and the characters and this one does so well at achieving that.  It would seem that this indicates that this comic’s Fear Itself tie-in is over, which is good, because it can now move forward to telling the tales of the young Loki who stands out a lot from his previously older self.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Justice League #1 – This comic had to come out running and instead of something pumped full of energy, it’s a slow burn.  Taking place five years ago it really chronicles Batman and Green Lantern meeting.  It’s decent enough and there’s some great back and forth but Hal Jordan seems a bit more flippant and a smart ass than the serious and cocky character we’ve known.  There’s also some moments I outright question, especially in the beginning action scenes.  It’s an ok start, but I don’t think it’s quite the knock it out of the park DC comics needed.

Story: 7 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.25

The Mighty Thor #5 – Interesting…. but I’m still confused as to when this takes place in continuity.  Is this before Fear Itself?  Is it after?  I’m at a loss here.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.75

Secret Avengers #16 – And with that Warren Ellis takes over for the series.  It’s an interesting comic and the story is disposable, but it’ll be interesting to see what he does with the series.  The characters are a little off, and I hate the art, but here’s hoping future issues and his run is as solid as ones he’s done for other series.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1 – I haven’t been much of a fan of Marvel’s Ultimate line, but this comic is pretty damn cool.  Full of action and a very cool concept, it’s got me hooked to check out the second issue.  This is an action comic on steroids, and fun to boot.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Uncanny X-Force #14 – Can I just say holy shit.  This story has gotten tense, and I have no idea how they come back from it.  Archangel is now in full control and X-Force has gotten jacked up.  What’s Archangel up to and how will the team stop him?  We still don’t know, but it’s interesting some team members still haven’t been shown off in the teasers for what comes next in the “X” line of comics.

Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Around the Tubes

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Football game + coming home late = late Around the Tubes.  I’m sure your morning wasn’t complete, so here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

CBLDF – Creators Come to the Rescue With New CBLDF Auctions!Give to a good cause!

The Beat – Sales charts: the shape of the market – Always interesting to see trends over time.

Con Coverage:

MTV Geek – FanExpo Canada Interview: Peter Milligan on The All-New ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’

MTV Geek – FanExpo Canada 2011 Interview: Andy Kubert on The End of Flashpoint and The New 52

Bleeding Cool – Video: Lining Up With Len Peralta At Dragon*Con

Bleeding Cool – Inside The Exhibitors Room At Dragon*Con

CBR – C2E2 Announces 2012 Dates

Fantagraphics – Things to See: SPX 2011 program cover by Jim Rugg

Bleeding Cool – Wizard World, WonderCon And C2E2 Co-Operate Over Dates

Fantagraphics – Fantagraphics at SPX 2011!

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Incredible Hulks #635

Blogomatic3000! – Modesty Blaise – Million Dollar Game

CBR – Secret Avengers #16

IGN – Comic Book Reviews for 8/31/11

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