Review – Flashpoint #1
Synopsis: Unknown to him initially, Barry Allen, shaken from a slumber, wakes to a world not his own. Still a member of the Central City Police Department, he reacts instinctively when hearing of a battle between “Citizen” Cold and the Pied Piper. Attempting to race to the scene, it’s quickly apparent that everything is wrong. In Gotham City, a much more vicious Batman is confronted by a league of heroes (and villains?) to vote on taking action against those responsible for the devastation of Great Britain and Western Europe. Arriving at a dilapidated Wayne Manor (by car — and frustated by traffic!), Barry Allen discovers a jarring truth about his friend, Bruce Wayne.
Review: I’m fan of this type of storytelling in comics since the writer/artist really CAN do whatever they want in terms of changing things from the status quo. Character-wise, it’s easy to do grittier which is definitely the case with this version of Batman by taking that which he feels is an acceptable degree of force and multiplying it. Considering the twist ending of issue #1, I can buy it.
I was curious about the holographic “rally the troops” rooftop scene but it seems like it’s just a way to set up the “atrocities in Europe” scenario (and a few of the Flashpoint minis, too). It appears “Batman” is a known but mysterious entity and would gather he’s only operating out of Gotham City so I don’t know why he was the lynchpin for all the others to join forces. I thought the Captain Thunder/Shazam alter ego was a decent touch on the character, though.
Intentional or not, two of the Barry Allen scenes come across as comedic; a slapstick pratfall and “The Fastest Man Alive” stuck in traffic behind a car that “Brakes for No Reason” (he DROVE to Gotham City?? Really??! No planes in this DCU?).
Regarding the mini-series’, whether through dialogue or artwork, most of the 16 tie-in comics were touched on in one way or another so it made me curious to want to check out those stories. I wasn’t blown away but I did enjoy it and am looking forward to the rest of the series.