Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flashpoint #1 (of 5)

For all intents and purposes, The Flash's comic has been stalling (or at least that's how it feels) while waiting for Flashpoint to arrive.

By that I mean that the series has been moving slowly, putting the pieces in place (especially the Reverse-Flash) and introducing the characters who will (presumably) play key roles in the upcoming event.

Now that it's here, the first issue... still feels like it's stalling.

Some of that is unavoidable, since the first issue has to set the stage for the story. It begins with a quick recap of Barry Allen's life, and then takes us to the present, where he discovers that he does not have super-speed (or any other power, for that matter).

The story slowly peels back the curtain, letting us see some of the radical changes that have taken place - changes that only Barry seems to know about.

It's a tricky story and a tough balancing act that writer Geoff Johns has undertaken. It's compelling, because the stakes couldn't be higher - but any kind of alternate reality story like this runs the risk of having no consequence to the "real" world - we assume the hero will hit the reset button at some point and all will go back to the way it was.

But I'd be very surprised if that's how this plays out, and I trust that Johns has some good jolts for us along the way (the last page is good example of one).

The art by Andy Kubert and Sandra Hope is, of course, outstanding. It must be a major, Perez-level challenge to re-imagine virtually the entire DC pantheon - and Kubert does it with great skill. One hopes they hang on to at least some of the designs after this is over.

So a fair start to a truly ambitious comics event. How ambitious? In June, 22 comics will tie into Flashpoint - almost all of them altered versions of the original titles.

You have to give DC points for guts. Here's hoping the gamble (and the story) pays off.

Grade: B+


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