Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Andy Kubert
Inker: Sandra Hope
Colourist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick Napolitano
Covers: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, and Alex Sinclair; Ivan Reis, George Perez, and Rod Reis (variant)
Publisher: DC Comics
Here we are at the end of the road to Flashpoint. With all the build-up and marketing weight behind the series, did the first issue pay off? Mosey forth!
Barry Allen wakes up one day to have everything he knows turned on its head. Seemingly without his powers, Barry tries to piece together the mystery of his new life and all its changes.
What’s the Story?
Barry wakes up at his precinct to heavy criticism from his boss. After learning they’ve been working on a case to nab Central City’s “greatest hero” Citizen Cold, Barry questions his name; he refers to Len Snart by a more familiar name, Captain Cold. Barry’s boss questions his comment. News quickly breaks that a shooting has occurred, leading Barry to sprint out of the office and into action. Noticing his ring wasn’t on his finger, he trips down a staircase only to fall at the feet of his mother. A shocked but pleasantly surprised Barry embraces his mom and they chat for a while. Barry later goes to Iris’ workplace to talk to her, but is soon dismayed to realize she’s in a relationship with someone else.
High atop Gotham City Batman swings after one of the Joker’s lackeys, catching and interrogating her while she hangs over the edge of a building. Batman drops her to the streets below only to be caught by Cyborg. Cyborg confronts Batman alongside the rest of his potential team and they discuss his membership before Batman leaves.
We next find Barry driving his car into Gotham City with the intent of finding Batman and talking to him. Barry walks in the front door of the Wayne mansion and walks down into the Bat Cave where he finds a work table with a plethora of gadgets, the gun used to murder Batman’s family, and a smashed picture of Thomas, Martha and Bruce Wayne. Batman leaps down from the shadows and attacks Barry, only to be shocked when Barry calls him Bruce.
The Pretty, Pretty Pictures
I feel like the entire art team pulled their efforts together and put out some great work. This issue’s art truly was a team effort as Kubert’s pencil work was nicely drawn and detailed, while Sinclair’s colouring between both present and flashback panels brings out the glumness in a young Barry Allen’s eyes, the same look in the elder Allen’s eyes when he meets his mother, and the stubble of Batman’s facial hair. Gotham additionally offered some great landscape work as Batman swings around the rooftops high above the bustling Gotham streets where people are enjoying the Times Square-esque night life. It’s very well drawn and nicely coloured, while Hope’s inks further define the darkness of night and of Batman’s costume. I also thought the red eyes, symbol, and utility belt colouring were nice touches and add to the character’s harder edge personality. The art additionally featured some nice panel transitions such as Barry falling down the stairs at varying stages, his embrace with his mother, or Batman’s attack on Barry towards the end of the issue where he throws Barry against the cave wall in one horizontal panel, and then in the one directly below it the perspective switches to Batman being in the background of the panel; his shock at being called “Bruce” is clear in his face as he prepares to punch Allen. Altogether I was pleased with the work in this issue.
Having stopped reading the Flash series some time ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this first issue. I had read issue 12 for the necessary direct set-up to this mini-series to get an idea of where Johns had taken the Barry Allen Flash series and how that tied into Flashpoint. Although I feel the series certainly helps contextualize Flashpoint in the grander scheme, I don’t believe it was integral to understand what’s going on in Flashpoint save for the primary circumstances for why this alternate timeline was established at all. Once understanding Zoom’s role and metamorphosis in the Flash series and how it ended, it renders the series mostly irrelevant while allowing Flashpoint to mostly be a success unto itself and doesn’t require an over abundance of foreknowledge before reading.
The issue itself was quite good. Despite jumping off the Flash series after the first few issues, I was able to jump in and understand what was happening because the very nature of alternate time line stories lend themselves to a much more open understanding of what’s going on. This is somewhat of a stand-alone story with a loose continuity to the greater Flash mythos in that it holds itself to the fundamental premises of what has been established concerning the Speed Force and the relationship between Barry Allen and Zoom. I thought finding Barry without his powers was interesting, while introducing his mother into his life while removing Iris was strange but interesting at the same time. The biggest surprise though was saved for the end when Barry visits Batman. This was a great start to the series. Although not a fan of this incarnation of the Flash, I enjoyed the issue, and I feel this is both an easily digestible issue for readers and a great jump on point for curious or new readers interested in the Flash books.