With this post, I say farewell to the World of Flashpoint. I’ve really enjoyed reviewing these titles over the past few weeks and I hope I’ve given you some insight into the Flashpoint event. Keep an eye on GeekMom for the full review on DC Comics’ latest animated movie featuring the events of Flashpoint – Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox– coming soon!
And now, to the last installment, featuring, fittingly, the Flash family, good and evil.
The World of Flashpoint – Featuring Reverse Flash gives us the back-story of the villainous Reverse Flash (aka Professor Eobard Thawne/Professor Zoom), as well as some insight into the whereabouts of Kid Flash (the Bart Allen version).
Reverse Flash’s single issue is paced nicely and gives us a well-rounded look at the character. Meanwhile, Kid Flash Lost winds up being an insightful story about what Bart has been up to, unpacking his role in Flashpoint.
As in a couple of previous articles, Corrina, jaded comic veteran, is joining me (Dakster), joyful new comic reader, to muse on the stories.
Dakster: As Reverse Flash tells his story, we get to see Professor Thawne racing through time, trying to find a way to destroy the man he once admired above all others: The Flash (Barry Allen). It is horrifying to watch as Reverse Flash deduces that Barry’s mother is the one keeping him grounded and sane, and tragic to see Reverse Flash realize that if he really wants to destroy The Flash, Barry’s mother will unfortunately have to go. Even knowing that these events will inspire Barry to become a forensic scientist, an act that ultimately leads him to become the Flash, I still cringed, wishing it didn’t have to be this way.
Corrina: It didn’t have to be this way.
Here’s where my cynicism comes into play because I’m tired of heroes always having to have tragedy in their background in order to want to do heroic things. Barry Allen has been a hero since his first appearance in 1956. He was motivated by the simple desire to do good, in his career as a police scientist and as an accidental superhero.
There was no need to change that.
On another note, as I read Dakster’s comments, I realized I had to add in the civilian identities of most of the characters because there have been three Flashs, several Kid Flashs and even two Impulses. Barry is actually the Silver Age Flash, a brand new character created as part of DC’s revival in the late 1950s. The Golden Age Flash is Jay Garrick and he has been appearing in modern comics since the landmark “Flash of Two Worlds,” in 1961. Further complicating matters is that Barry was later succeeded as the Flash by Wally West. He’s the Flash that everyone knows from the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons.
Wally was the first Kid Flash, later it was Bart, who is Barry’s grandson, and Bart later took on the mantle of the Flash himself, briefly.
And you thought all the Robins were complicated! I haven’t even talked about Jesse Quick, Johnny Quick or Max Mercury yet.
Dakster: Skipping ahead: on behalf of Kid Flash, I’d like to welcome you to Crazy-Ville, USA. Population: three!
And the mayor? Brainiac!
That’s right! Kid Flash (Bart Allen) must take on one of Superman’s biggest foes, Brainiac–a compelling twist in the Flash universe to say the least. Kid Flash is only a 15 or 16-year-old boy and yet he’s tasked with taking on a villain that even Superman has a hard time kicking to the curb. Kid Flash isn’t alone in Crazyville, either. Former Barry Allen co-worker Patty Spivot, Hot Pursuit, joins him in his fight against the brilliant, psychotic Brainiac.
Watching Kid Flash out-think someone like Brainiac is impressive. Kid Flash is quick to figure out what is going on, as well as how to use Brainiac’s own tech to end his villainous reign on the future. The one thing I didn’t understand in these issues was how, exactly, Kid Flash knew that something was wrong with his reality. My best guess would be that, because he’s from the future and attached to the speed force, he is immune to the the events of Flashpoint and so his memories have remained intact.
Corrina: Well, Bart’s family connections are complicated.
The short version: He’s a time traveler and the grandson of Barry Allen and Iris West.
The long version: Barry supposedly “died” in Flash #350, the end of the run of the original Flash comic. But he wasn’t really dead, he was transported to the 30th Century. Turns out Iris was also a native of that time period. So they lived happily ever happy, had twins, and then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened and Barry died saving the multiverse.
Fast forward a bit. Wally has taken over as the Flash when a visitor from another time arrives. It’s Bart Allen, Barry’s grandson, along with Iris West. Bart, then known as Impulse, suffered from a hyper-acclerated metabolism, causing him to appear twelve when he was actually two years old. Bart could also learns at super-speed. (He later became Kid Flash, then the Flash, then died, and, now he’s in the Speed Force or something. You really don’t want me to completely explain the Speed Force.)
In any case, Bart’s ability to learn at super-speed is probably what made him a match for Brainiac. And Bart’s connection to the Speed Force likely made him able to sense changes in the time stream. The Speed Force is also how Barry eventually came back from the dead but that’s another tale.
Back to Flashpoint!
Dakster: The biggest complaint I have about this book is the gruesome level of the art–Legion of Doom is especially graphic. I could barely stomach some of the scenes with Plastic Man. I will say that I’m relieved that I only had to see him do his “alien bursting out of someone’s abdomen” trick twice (though once was more than enough). It’s not as bad as The World of Flashpoint: Featuring Wonder Woman (admittedly a low bar), but this still registered on my “ick” meter.
Corrina: Absolutely agreed. The level of gore in Flashpoint was much too high for me. I hope they dial it back with the upcoming animated movie.
Dakster: For a single issue comic, Reverse Flash #1 gave us everything we needed to know, at the right pace. Kid Flash Lost kept me on the edge of my seat, watching as a teenager handled a villain normally considered out of his league. Compared to other World of Flashpoint stories, the art in World of Flashpoint: The Flash was pleasing to the eye and didn’t contain anything more gruesome than necessary.
I loved how the artist for The Reverse Flash # 1, Joel Gomez, coupled the story’s pencil work with an inked “time-travel” look. The writers, Soctt Kolins (Reverse Flash) and Sterling Gates (Kid Flash Lost) did an amazing job capturing their respective characters and gave us a clear view into their world during the events of Flashpoint.
Corrina: And if you’re curious about the Flash and his various incarnations, please check out Flash: Terminal Velocity by Mark Waid with art primarily by Salvador Larroca. “My name is Wally West, and I’m the fastest man alive.” Terrific story, involves all the various Flash family members. It’s not nearly as confusing and far more entertaining than my explanations in this post.