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Flashpoint #5 - Flashpoint: Chapter Five of Five Review

5

The final issue of Flashpoint is here, marking an end of an era and the start of a new one for DC Comics. Grab a box of tissues, sit down, and read one of the most beautiful superhero endings ever written.

If the final issue of Flashpoint #5 doesn't bring a tear to your eye, then you have no heart. Here it is, the last issue marking the end of an era for DC Comics as the publisher prepares for the relaunch of their entire universe. So how did the culmination of this event fare? Caution: some spoilers below.

The Good

The greatest thing about comic books for me is the way they make me feel about the characters. I become attached and I love them a little bit. I think it's that way for a lot of comic book readers -- we all become a little bit invested in the things that happen to the characters and the way that they evolve. I think Geoff Johns knows this, and he used that here, in the final issue of Flashpoint.

Like the Rolling Stones said, "you can't always get what you want," and Barry Allen learns that the hard way. In his attempt at saving his mother's life, Barry alters the entire course of history. He sacrifices the lives of millions so she can live, and he learns the hard way the repercussions of his actions. Barry isn't only faced with the harsh reality that he would have to lose one of the most important people in his life, but he deals with the fact that in this case he is not the hero, but the villain for the first time. At the end of the day, the hero can't always win everything and save everyone. At the end of the day, there is always one life that will get away -- and sometimes it is for the greater good.

Johns draws an interesting parallel between the loss of Barry Allen to that of Bruce Wayne, whose entire career as a superhero has been due to the loss of his parents. In this ending, Barry gets to say goodbye. He gets to see and touch and smell her one last time before he makes the decision to let her go. It's poignant and sad, and it's a luxury Bruce Wayne never had. At least Barry gets to keep his memories.

Bruce Wayne's tough outer shell is not often stirred or broken. He is stoic not only in appearance -- his toughness surpasses his exterior and permeates deep within him. He is cold, hard and unmoving -- which is probably why when he actually shows some emotion, it's so powerful. The latter half of the issue is absolutely brilliant and will surely move even the most stoic of readers.

The Bad

As good as it was, I can't call Flashpoint a perfect issue. I can't say that yes, it was flawless in absolutely every way because it was not -- no matter how deserving it is of it's perfect score. There were scenes in this issue that felt disconnected from the Flashpoint story as a whole. The most jarring moments were those that featured the characters from the different Flashpoint offshoot books (Project Superman, Lois Lane and the Resistance to name a few). The scene where Grifter appears accompanied by The Resistance is erratic and doesn't fit into the final issue. It feels out of place. Yes, I get that these characters appear to reinforce that the heroes have banded together and are fighting, united, against the Atlanteans and the Amazons -- but it feels unnecessary.

Initially, I also thought that Flashpoint #5 would have acted as a bridge between the old universe and the new universe which launches with the release of Justice League #1. However, the reasons for the reboot don't feel explained and remain unclear as far as Flashpoint is concerned.

While these might be considered "flaws," I still don't think that the writer should have tried to incorporate all of these elements into the final issue. Johns didn't expound upon Grifter and the Resistance or the appearance of Superman because it would have been too much. The appearance of these characters in the issue was enough -- anything more would have taken away from the bigger story.

The Verdict

This is, quite frankly, one of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time. Everything from the explanation of what Flashpoint is and how it came about, to the gut wrenching, tear-jerking moments at the very end; if you go out and buy anything this week, make it the final issue of Flashpoint.

43 Comments Refresh
Posted by CombatSpoon86

Definitely right about Flashpoint not being the perfect book but it did bring alot of info to the new DCU towards the end. Overall I gave it 4 stars. Lots of emotional moments. in this book

Posted by Fhiz

This is the only book that has made me tear up. As a Batman fan, those last few pages were so emotional, was not expecting that at all.

Posted by MuadDiab

I was disappointed tbh.  The whole issue felt off and felt nothing like the last 4 which were all great and fun. Also, Barry's connection to al this that gets explained here bugged me. 12 issues of Flash and 4 flashpoints and that 'reason' never came up once. Not once
 
 
And on another note (a joke really) Why does Johns make Batman seem like a panzy a lot :P

Posted by ImperiousRix

Cannot wait to read! 
...that is all.

Posted by daredevil21134

HE PUT ALL THAT BAGGAGE ON BARRY? DAMN YOU GEOFF JOHNS

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Posted by nukethewhalesagain

I can't give Flashpoint #5 a perfect score. I would call it good. It had a lot of great moments but the main plot left me feeling cold. It felt rushed and incomplete. Specifically the revelation about Flash's actions in the beginning of the book came out of nowhere. Flash was our POV character so it seemed nonsensical for him to have known what was going on the whole time while we didn't. And it's not just an unreliable narrator, because his confusion in the first issue was so pronounced that it seemed silly.

Taken as a whole, Flashpoint was a lot of cool ideas wrapped around a bad plot.

Posted by Outside_85

I was mostly looking forwards to how the DCnU would be introduced...and i have to say i was dissapointed as its; Barry bangs his head and wakes up in DCnU...nothing epic just 'lights out (change scenery) lights on'.

Posted by buttersdaman000

When will the trade come out?

Posted by Bat_Mite51

I haven't read this yet, but from the sound of your review I think I'm gonna enjoy this issue.

Posted by Wattup

This would have been a good issue to have one of those video review discussions. What happened to those?
 
Yes, this was a wonderful issue and I think I'll miss Thomas Wayne Batman. His Flashpoint mini-series was pretty kick-ass. 
 
However, the one thing I didn't like about Flashpoint was Barry Allen. Sorry, but I became a comic book reader in the late 80s so my Flash will always be Wally West, no matter how hard Geoff Johns et al, force Barry down our throats. 

Posted by longbowhunter
@Outside_85 said:
I was mostly looking forwards to how the DCnU would be introduced...and i have to say i was dissapointed as its; Barry bangs his head and wakes up in DCnU...nothing epic just 'lights out (change scenery) lights on'.

Yeah I was also let down by the lack of an explanation. We can assume that even though Barry went back and stopped himself on the cosmic treadmill some of the damage was already done. Hence the DCnU? I dont know just grasping at straws. I liked Element Woman's small cameo. The fight between Thomas Wayne and Thawne was awesome!
Posted by fitchy101

Could really have made this 6 issues, and then we could have expanded on the other heroes arriving to help. Oh well, it was very good nonetheless. 

Posted by labarith

To call this 5/5 is assinine. 
 
There was so much "science fantasy" in here that it makes Doctor Who look like an engineer's dissertation thesis. 
 
There is exactly 1 good scene in this, handled by Batman, and then the rest was pointless.  Even the  "let me fix things" part was pointless nonsense. 
 
I'm sorry, but with this complete and utter pointless story telling, I'm not sure how you can look kindly on this.  It doesn't just "all change" here, it all ends here.  No more DC you grew up with.  Why?  "You stepped on a butterfly Barry!"... bullshit.  BULL SHIT.

Posted by labarith
@fitchy101 said:
Could really have made this 6 issues, and then we could have expanded on the other heroes arriving to help. Oh well, it was very good nonetheless. 
Help in the nonsense that didn't matter at all? 
 
Grodd's one panel was absurd!
Posted by Darkchild

This is, quite frankly, one of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time. Everything from the explanation of what Flashpoint is and how it came about, to the gut wrenching, tear-jerking moments at the very end; if you go out and buy anything this week, make it the final issue of Flashpoint.

Thank god i wasnt the only person crying over this issue, i am a very loud fan of Barry and this entire story plus this issue has been horrible for Barry. im crying again thinking of it all. 
 
best ending EVER!!!
Posted by fitchy101
@labarith said:
@fitchy101 said:
Could really have made this 6 issues, and then we could have expanded on the other heroes arriving to help. Oh well, it was very good nonetheless. 
Help in the nonsense that didn't matter at all?  Grodd's one panel was absurd!
I know! They could have made their arrivals a little less forced, and some more panel time for each one. This issue could then have ended with the big revelation, that could then be expanded upon in an issue 6.
Edited by Scodiac

I loved this action packed issue and really enjoyed Flashpoint as a whole. It honestly made me want to call my Mom to ask how's she's been.

I liked the action between Grifter, Sorceress and Superman in this issue. It happened quite fast but, hey, it's comics. They're always summed up quite quickly because they only have so many pages and there were many characters to deal with here.

They have to try to pack in an awesome final battle and wrap up the story as well and I think Flashpoint 5 pulled it off. Really enjoyed it.

Posted by MrMazz

Loved the twist and what they turned the last issue into, a meditation loss and heroics. It made me tear up a little. Picked this up than read JL#1 ok lets get this new U going.

Posted by Chris2KLee

It was a fun event, but I didn't feel it had the gravity that it needed to lead into such a drastic reboot of a comic book universe. And again, we are left with yet another hint of a big 5th week event on the horizon. How long will it take before all of reality is at stake again? If Marvel is about killing it's heroes in big events, DC is all about wiping universes in the hope that when they duct tape it together again, it's going to work. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I feel another prolonged superhero comic break in my near future. Maybe I should go see what's going on in Manga....

Edited by mesosteros

Oh but they did explay the "reboot": It's not a reboot at all...  
 
SPOILER ALERT  
for those who haven't read it yet duh
 
they created 2 more timelines aside from the main one and now the comics will be in those 2 timelines (or hopefully the 3) until the next's year's event that probably goes back to the main, excuse me, REAL TIMELINE. We even see Barry crossover to the new timeline and be warned of an impending (maybe Darkseid and the Apokolips gods???) threat that will require the three timeline's heroes to unite. 
 
 
Well at least this makes the "reboot" much more berable although we still don't know if the real timeline comics are still gonna keep coming in parallel with the new ones.

Posted by CBattles6

There's no way this issue should get five stars. Three-and-a-half, maybe four. Here's why:
 
1) Barry's Memory - It's ridiculous that Barry just suddenly remembers that he went back in time to save his mom. Faced with an alternate timeline, wouldn't it make sense to think about changes to the past? Especially when his mom's standing there in the first few panels. "Hey, maybe that time I went back to save her life has something to do with this." I will give Johns credit for planting the seeds in The Flash #12. Now those last few pages make sense.
 
2) Barry's Mom - I'd agree that the whole "letting Mom go" angle would be poignant—IF I HADN'T READ IT BEFORE. Let's see...superhero goes back in time to save someone he loves, accidentally causes problems, and then the loved one decides to stay dead for the greater good? That's not Flashpoint #5, that's Ted Kord in Booster Gold #10. Wait, let me see who wrote that issue...Geoff Johns. Way to recycle a plot device and hope that no one notices (BTW, he did it a lot better the first time).
 
3) Barry's Mom - So let me get this straight. Nora Allen being alive leads to Bruce being killed, a war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, Abin Sur surviving the crash, etc.? I'd love to hear that explanation.
 
4) The Timelines - WTF? The splintering doesn't make sense. The need to "weaken the world" doesn't make sense. And I'm sure we'll never get a better explanation for how the DCnU came to be. Was this really the best Johns could do? Did he actually run this by anyone before making it part of the book? What baffles me the most is that he left an obvious bullet in the chamber. Booster Gold—the only hero other than Barry to remember the past, the only hero with a track record of successfully changing the past—is just sitting at Vanishing Point! Doing nothing! It all just struck me as lazy and a little to "deus ex machina" for an event of such importance.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch
@mesosteros said:
Oh but they did explay the "reboot": It's not a reboot at all...   SPOILER ALERT  for those who haven't read it yet duh they created 2 more timelines aside from the main one and now the comics will be in those 2 timelines (or hopefully the 3) until the next's year's event that probably goes back to the main, excuse me, REAL TIMELINE. We even see Barry crossover to the new timeline and be warned of an impending (maybe Darkseid and the Apokolips gods???) threat that will require the three timeline's heroes to unite.   Well at least this makes the "reboot" much more berable although we still don't know if the real timeline comics are still gonna keep coming in parallel with the new ones.
You're a little off there. The mysterious voice told Barry the timeline WAS ALREADY split into three "LONG AGO." And this is probably going to piss some people off (Silkcuts probably) because judging from the way the characters were shown on the left side of the the splash page vs. the right, it's saying that the DCU Proper, Wildstorm, and Vetigo universes are the 3 and are NOW one universe, since the right side has characters from all 3 together. Although, of course, it didn't explain shit about WHY any of that was happening, nor who that voice was. It sets up some event for further down the line which seems odd considering the entire PURPOSE of 'The New 52.' Why shoehorn in an upcoming event when you want to grab the new readers WHO AREN'T GOING TO HAVE READ THIS? 
 
Also this issue makes the ENTIRE DAMN EVENT POINTLESS. If Barry knew what he did from the start he could've fixed this fine, instead of bullshitting around the FU (Oh my god.... Flashpoint Universe. FU wow. Is Johns actually trolling us or something?) Why did Barry forget? When did this shit happen in the first place? Why did it take so long to take effect? Just... what the hell?
Posted by The Mighty Monarch
@CBattles6: Look closely at the splintering page. It's suggesting the regular DCU, WIldstorm, and Vertigo universes were splintered off from one and are now rejoining.
Edited by mesosteros
@The Mighty Monarch: when i said they split the timeline I was referring to Geoff Johns & company not the characters. From what I understood the timelines have not yet merged (and someone else on the site reached that same conclusion, dunno if in these comments or in the JLA ones): the baloon reads "The timelines MUST become one again" but then again that could mean either way I think (English is not my mother language so :P )
Posted by mikeclark1982

i read it, and i can say that this was my first DC event, hell ANY event, which i bought the entire series and not trade, but man. it was beautiful, especially where Barry got to see his mom and she told him to let go and gave him the pluses of being with her husband again. it kinda stopped me. it was great. especially something at the very end. SPOILER WARNING: Click here to reveal hidden content. knowing barry allen could bring the letter Thomas wrote for Bruce and Bruce knowing it was not a joke and breaking down showed that Batman, for some readers was not this cold hearted bastard of a hero, but human. it was a great ending to the series. my only question is: WHEN during the new 52 is Flash located? since batman did not know green lantern or superman, and no superheroes know each other during Justice League #1! where is it since Bruce openly accepted Barry in the Batcave! 

Posted by nazer858

Really enjoyed it. I agree with most on this thread in that it felt rushed and we didn't receive the crazy reveals that some of us may have hoped for, but that last chunk of the book is really great.

Posted by fenixREVOLUTION

I liked this issue, but even with it being the finale, this definitely wasn't the strongest issue of the series. The big reveal about the villain of the whole series did take me by surprise, though I wasn't a huge fan of how it got explained. Johns can definitely write great, but for some reason, the end of every event he does is always the weakest part. Having not read any of the tie-ins, things may get explained, but I was shocked to see the entire conflict of the Flashpoint world written off in a matter or a page, just to see Barry go see his mother, the conflicts were what made that world exciting and to see them all go poof just like that was a bit disappointing. The story wrapped up nicely enough all things considered, still though, a bigger conclusion would've been nice. At the end we're greeted by 3 different time lines and one looks like the timeline we're leaving behind *tear*, but also a warning that something is coming. Which I'm assuming is the next big event, unless they were subtly referring to Johns, Lee and DiDio completely wrecking the timelines. In the previous 4 issues, I've enjoyed Kubert's art a lot, I always enjoy it, but this issue felt rushed, it had stand out moments, but a few of the pages looked a little less than stellar, but other than that, still spot on. If nothing else, it does lead nicely into the new DCnU.

Posted by Zjd106

I think something about the internet makes people too judgmental.  In my mind any issue that and pulls me out of my life and manages to put me into a whole new surrounding with cool characters or major events is a PERFECT issue.  I read issues that pull this off nearly every week (some better than others.)  I feel the same way about the novels I read.  Sure some are better than others.
 
That being said, Flashpoint 5 made me feel for a character more than any book I can think of.  Awesome review, Babs.  Awesome comic, DC.  Awesome decision to buy it, me.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch
@mesosteros said:
@The Mighty Monarch: when i said they split the timeline I was referring to Geoff Johns & company not the characters. From what I understood the timelines have not yet merged (and someone else on the site reached that same conclusion, dunno if in these comments or in the JLA ones): the baloon reads "The timelines MUST become one again" but then again that could mean either way I think (English is not my mother language so :P )
But that's what I'm saying. Look at the new titles. Martian Manhunter is on Stormwatch. Zatanna is in Justice League Dark with John Constantine and more Vertigo characters. These were once 3 (mostly) separate universes and are now one universe in the DCnU.  

DCU + Vertigo U + Stormwatch U = DCnU 
 
What once was 3 has now become 1 AFTER Flashpoint.
Posted by goldenkey

this whole series sucked donkey dick.  the last issue was okay.  it was what it was.  Zoom going down like he did was kinda cool, but other then that it just fell on it's ass.  I pretty much hated every tie-in except for Booster Gold. 
Posted by xScorchedx

I think this was a good but not GREAT way to end Flashpoint. I loved the mention of the timelines and the two-page work done to show the flash seeing the timelines. But I felt the explanation could have been more detailed in what exactly was happening to give birth to the new 52.

Posted by entropy_aegis

Good issue,not 5/5 though.Maybe 4.

Posted by keithmoon316

great review, I enjoyed flashpoint a lot. The last few pages are great, but I hope we see more Reverse Flash in the new 52

Posted by All_Around_Nerd
@mikeclark1982: the justice league series takes place 5 years before all of the other comics.
Posted by limbani

I'll stop coming to the comicvine stuff. their reviews of DC Comics things are just too postiv. I am asking myself if they are still somehow neutral or not. 
 
In the future, I'll go to http://www.comicbookresources.com instead. There, they gave Flashpoint 5 just 2.5 stars. I think thats appropriate.

Posted by kennybaese

The art in this book felt a little rushed in places to me, but I haven't read something with Andy Kubert art in a while, so maybe I'm just not remembering his style correctly...

I loved the end of this book, even if it did feel a little overdone. It was very emotionally powerful. I've always loved the friendship that Bruce and Barry have.

The only major problem I had with this issue: They give themselves a GIANT OUT to put the universe back to the way it was if they feel like it with the way Barry puts everything back, which annoys the hell out of me. I was seriously hoping that DC would have the balls to make this stuff actually stick, but then I'm the only one I know who's actually excited for a lot of the changes in the relaunch, so what do I know?

Posted by neillius
@mesosteros
 
Yea I, and I'm sure many others, picked up on that too. I'm really surprised that we haven't heard more about it. maybe its DC's way of keeping the possibility there if the DCnU flops.
Posted by Booster_Bronze

I'm fairly sure the reason DC didn't fully explain how the merging of the 3 time lines into the new DCnU occurred or offer more details on the new looming crisis is because they want people to buy future comics they put out. They'll probably explain in these issues (or at least offer hints in them along the way) to keep us buying them, as they've invested alot in this revamp and I'm sure they want it to succeed long-term.
 
As for the new big looming crisis, It's my guess that it's not Darkseid because he was defeated in the DCU when it WASN'T merged, so I doubt they'd need all 3 time lines to beat him. Also, the Darkseid intro in JL #1 is 5 years before the other comics, so unless it leads to the future crisis, then it's gotta be some new big baddie out there.

Posted by xScorchedx
@mikeclark1982: That's very true, I guess that reality is a bit of the way into the future in comparison to the other issues starting at the very beginning of the respective heroes careers.  
Edited by ShirEPanjshir

Am I one of the only people who didn't see this issue as great or perfect? I'd say this is a good issue, but no way it's great and certainly not perfect. First off I kind of disliked how suddenly Barry Allen becomes the villain, without there ever being hinted at this beforehand. Secondly, I kind of agree that the sudden appearance of Grifter's Resistance and Superman is a bit too much, especially since it doesn't really serve a purpose because the battle is interrupted so suddenly. Thirdly I really didn't like the whole: 3 separate universes must be banded together to face a greater threat thing. It felt really, really forced. In general, I felt that the whole Flashpoint "event" was a bit all over the place.
 
However there were an equal amount of good things in the issue. I loved some of the Flash-Thawne-Batman (Thomas Wayne) interaction and the end scene with Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Barry Allen was simply amazing. Kubert 's art is some superb eye-candy as well. Plus even though some things felt a bit ... forced. The story did make sense, and wasn't as half-assed as I feared it would have been.
 
I myself would 've given it a 3/5, perhaps even a 3.5 /5. But definably not a 5/5.

Posted by ChefGreenLantern75

Until the last issue I really enjoyed the series. Number 5, along with whole DCnU, feels rushed and lacking. The scene with Barry and Bruce was amazing but nothing else was pay off. I expect a pay off. If I am giving up a history with Charecters I love then I expect a payoff. I did not get it. DC is doing the right thing however. They know the die hard fans will moan and groan creating conversation via social media. We will still buy their books out of curiosity and dedication. People whoever weren't buying their books will start as well so sales will increase. I am getting a portion of the New 52. I am sure there will be several I keep, I am sure there will be some that fail, more will come out and 20 years from now we will see "Flashpoint Zero" where they try to refit everything they left out he properly back in.

Edited by danater

if this was supposed to make me feel sad, then it didn't do a good job. the "emotional" part were so stupid.
 
but at least the story's conclusion was a great way to kill the old dcu.
 
can't wait for 9/7/11 !

Posted by rosenkrantz

I can only give this about 3 of 5 stars frankly. Here's why: 
 
1. Lot's of people mess with timelines and the whole universe doesn't go all "flashpointy". Look at Thawne constantly changing his own timeline, killing his parents, the fiance of the girl he loves, etc.. and no universal war breaks out, etc. Choosing to enact the "butterfly" this time, when Barry saves his mom is just "weak" IMHO. 
 
2. Why one earth would Barry saving his mom cause Kal El's rocket to smack down inside Metropolis instead of an empty field in Smallville? Its unexplained events like this that just don't gel for me. The Flash universe was so "changed" that it made us think Thawne must have really done something "huge" in the past to change so many small events. Ditto with why saving Barry's mom would cause Bruce Wayne to die or Amazons and Atlanteans to war upon each other. I just don't buy Barry saving his mom as big enough to fracture all of time. 
 
3. Thawne's gloating over Barry that he caused all this by saving his mom could have at least been played up bigger. It was tossed off in a few basic panels and should have been allowed to make a greater impact. 
 
4. Lastly, after investing in all the problems and criss in the FP universe, we have no resolution, it just "ends" as Barry fixed it all - which he could have done in FP1 if he "thought" hard enough right? It would have been nice to see more resolution (or destruction!) in the FP universe. Maybe a page or 2 showing what would have happened ultimately. 
 
5. I was confused also on the merging of the 3 timelines. I don't follow wildstorm or vertigo so I assume that's what was being merged. As to "why" they had to be merged, I guess maybe we'l find out later. 
 
In the end, the issue felt very rushed, not John's best work. As if he were in a hurry to wrap it all up and get on with the new 52.