Flashpoint from the Outside
Now I'm going to start this review off with a disclaimer, and that is that I did not read the other issues of Flashpoint before going into this one. Now yes, I know a lot of folks are going to say right now that I shouldn't be writing a review of this with no feeling of how well it tied into the rest of the storyline, and they're right. However this Wednesday tons of people are going to pick up this issue who did not read any of the other chapters because they want to know how the DC Universe is going to change, and it is for those readers just picking this up that I'm going to review this issue.
I'll start off by saying that I'm a huge fan of Geoff John's writing, have been for a long time, when it comes to these sorts of big stories I honestly feel that nobody has better pacing and structure. Which is what made me read this and feel very... well underwhelmed honestly. The action scenes were full of so much explanation that simply just didn't flow, and I realize that it's hard to do great action and explanations at the same time, but I've seen Johns do it before, and here it just felt like the Flash and Thawne were stopping and turning right to the audience to give the backstory of this Flashpoint world, which wouldn't be that bad if it made me drop my coffee mug and say "oh dang, no way," but honestly it didn't. But hey, if you've been reading it from the start then it might have done just that for you, and in that case great. But for me, as someone just picking it up, maybe it was the layout of the panels or how much explanation there was, but it just didn't work for me.
However, switching over to a positive, I'll admit I never really cared much for Thawne as a villain. I don't know, he just always seemed more like a jerk than something evil (and yes I know he has a long history of doing purely evil things, I just mean nothing ever really struck me as his big shining villainous moment). However, here both Johns and Kubert are able to work together in great unison to make him not only evil, but actually pretty scary.
But enough with that, let's get to what all the new readers are picking this up for, which is the big lead in to the new DC universe. This should have been the biggest most memorable moment of this whole series, but once again, maybe it was just high expectations, but I just felt dulled to it all. It all happens pretty much over one big splash page, which is understandable, that's a great way of getting it across. But throughout this whole series Kubert's art has been amazing, absolutely perfect for this story in my opinion. But on this page, which is the one that it must really be at its peak to sell us on this new universe, it seems a little dulled, almost like the inker forgot to work on these pages.
And as for the explanation of it, about why the Wildstorm and Vertigo and DC universes are all merging just seems really vague, like there is no real reason for them coming together. But that's not my biggest problem with it, that would be (SPOILER ALERTS)
Really it honestly just irritates me that this was the moment where the universe is created, the moment that we had all been waiting for for months, the moment when everything that we knew is gone and a brand new continuity comes into existence, and they use that moment to tease us with their next project. To me reading that is like going "Okay, you ready? You really ready? We're ready! All right, it's on, it's happening! This is it! Hold on tight because it's time to.... oh before we continue, make sure that you go ahead and reserve your copy of the big crossover next year, now where were we? Oh right. Let's do this people!" And I'll admit that it took me a long time to accept the DCNu, but after months I finally got to the point where I was looking forward to it, and this moment just made me dulled to it all over again.
So in the end, as a new reader and someone coming in so that he can find out about the DC relaunch, I have to admit this book sort of serves as a microcosm for a lot of the opinions comic fans have shared about the relaunch itself. Several good elements to it, but in the end more wrong than right was done. As a long term Johns fan this book made me step back and realize he is human and can write some fairly bland things every now and again, and if it weren't for the incredible art of Andy Kubert then I'd probably have given this a much lower score.