Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Reads You Review: FLASHPOINT #5


WRITER: Geoff Johns
PENCILS: Andy Kubert
INKS: Sandra Hope and Jesse Delperdang
COLORS: Alex Sinclair
LETTERS: Rick J. Napolitano
COVER: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, and Alex Sinclair
VARIANT COVER: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Rod Reis
40pp, Color, $3.99

In the beginning, I enjoyed DC Comics’ crossover events and would read the entire core limited series and as many of the tie-in titles as I could. I read Crisis on Infinite Earth (1985-86) and most of the tie-in comic books. I read Legends (1986-87) and many of the tie-in issues. I read some of Millennium (1988) and a few of the tie-ins. By the time of Invasion (1988-89), I only felt like spending a little money on the whole event, so I only passively sampled it. Armageddon 2001 (1991) interested me for a few weeks. Since reading a few issues of DC One Million, I have entirely avoided DC’s comic book crossover story arcs, including just about anything that smacked of being an event.

Well, this is a big year for DC Comics, and I find myself coming in on the end of Flashpoint, the biggest comic book crossover event of 2011. For the past few decades, many crossover events have promised to change either Marvel or DC’s fictional universes forever, but Flashpoint seems to be the real deal. When Flashpoint ends, the DC Universe will reboot (DC’s bosses call it a re-launch), and from August 31 to September 28 2011, DC Comics will publish 52 number one issues – the first issues of 52 new comic book series. It’s known as “The New 52.”

Flashpoint, the core miniseries in a massive publishing event, is a five-issue series written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Andy Kubert. As I understand it: Barry Allen/Flash is among a handful of characters who realize that they have awakened in an altered timeline, vastly different from the regular one in which they live. This timeline is called Flashpoint.

As Flashpoint #5 begins, Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne is triumphant, as everything Flash/Barry Allen tries seems to come up short. Batman/Thomas Wayne comes to the rescue, with Grifter and the Resistance close behind. But only Flash can fix the mess he made – with millions of lives hanging in the balance.

As crossover events go, Flashpoint offers the usual superhero/super-villain spectacle – skirmishes and big cast-of-thousands battles. There’s plenty of exposition in the form of recaps, explanations, back story, exclamations of triumph, premature ejaculation, etc. I think this is the first Geoff Johns scripted comic book that I have ever read… I think.

After reading this, I can understand why Johns’ comics might not be on my must-recall list. Still, the second half of this comic book has a few poignant scenes. Perhaps, these moments of character tenderness and bonding are what make Johns’ reputation with comic book fans.

The art is a mixed bag. I don’t think this kind of event comic, in which action scenes and characters are packed like sardines into small panels are Andy Kubert’s strength. Covers, double-page spreads, splash pages, and pages with big panels are where he thrives, and that is no more evident than here in Flashpoint #5. Kubert’s gorgeous pencil art for the cover shows that almost 20 years later, Jim Lee is still influencing Kubert.

Do you need to read Flashpoint before you start reading “The New 52?” No, you do not.


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