This article contains both reviews and breakdowns for Flashpoint #5 and Justice League by DC Comics. Spoilers are forewarned.
All good things come to an end, but for some an end isn’t necessarily final. In fact for the DC Universe, the end is merely a leap to a new beginning. And just before that leap, comes a dash from the fastest legacy hero in comic book history–Barry Allen/ The Flash. I’ll begin with Flashpoint #5 as it leads into the all new Justice League.
With the conclusion of Flashpoint by superstars Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, The Flash faces his toughest decision for the fate of an altered timeline created by his deadliest enemy, The Reverse Flash. This tale is full of time travel paradoxes and surprise comebacks that will keep you shouting out loud as you read. The conflict comes to a head immediately as Reverse Flash reveals that the entire Flashpoint change was not his fault, but actually caused by Barry going back in time and stopping Reverse Flash from killing Barry’s mother. At that moment, “like and amateur”, Barry altered the events of the DC Universe’s history and accidentally crafted a world where Superman is an emaciated test subject, Batman is Thomas Wayne instead of his now deceased son, and a war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman threatens the entire planet.
As Reverse Flash explains, he never killed Barry, because he needed him to become the Flash in order for him to become Reverse Flash in the future. As Barry stops the past version of Reverse Flash from killing his mother, present Reverse Flash was running through the time stream as Barry changed it; thus making him immune to the changes and freeing him from the bonds of Barry’s legacy. In short, he became a paradox and could kill Barry in his mother’s womb or any time after if he wanted and it would never affect him. Too bad he didn’t account for Thomas Wayne–a Batman without fear of murdering his villains.
The planet is at its limit and the war of Atlantis and Themyscira explodes with Thomas Wayne spurring Barry on with his last words and a message to be delivered to Bruce. Barry then does what he does best–he runs. An emotional sprint through time sends him to a final moment with his mother before he has to make the ultimate sacrifice once more and let his mother die again the way it was intended. He catches up to his past self just before he stopped Reverse Flash and instead stops himself– tearful and hoping that he’s doing the right thing. With that act, the DCU is put back together now including their other publishing lines Vertigo and Wildstorm. When the smoke clears, Barry is in the bat cave wearing his new attire. He explains everything to Bruce and delivers the letter from his father–leading to one of the most emotional scenes in comic book history. The scene ends and the new DC Universe begins with a fresh start.
In totality the epic narrative is supported by the prowess of its creators. Geoff Johns plays up Andy Kubert’s strengths of action and stellar pacing in his paneling. This final issue makes use of several close-ups to progress the characters’ reactions while still maintaining the emotional transitions of each scene. Kubert’s action sequences are energetic and well suited to the crimson speedster. There’s a particular scene where an emaciated Superman literally flies in and lands on Enchantress–stomping her into pieces that had me shouting with excitement. The dialogue is character driven in a way that befits the surrounding story believably and seamlessly. The emotion expressed as Bruce reads the letter from his father, stumbles, and then sits down in disbelief was masterful in a way befitting the final moment of the DC proper and the beginning of the New DC Universe.
Together, all five issues of this series make an incredible read full of imagination and creative new looks at the definitions of existing characters–reiterating why each individual behind the mask matters. At the end of this journey, we’ve celebrated the characters, their histories, and paid our respect to a legendary Flash that has done so much since his debut. And like Barry’s swift feet, we can run forward to the next topic of Geoff Johns’ and legendary artist Jim Lee’s groundbreaking new series: Justice League #1.
Justice League Review:
It’s high-flying, fast paced, action driven heroics starring Batman and Green Lantern (plus a Cyborg cameo) right out of the gate. The build-up tosses out a hint toward the greatest JLA villain ever, Darkseid, while still hitting some great dialogue between a know-it-all Batman and a super cocky Hal Jordan. The real kicker? Batman versus Superman starting on the final page and continuing into issue two. RIGHT. AWAY. Johns’ and Lee hold nothing back and aim to draw in the fans immediately for an adventure that is sure to be talked about for years.
Jim Lee’s pencils, you ask? Well, what do you think? It’s like he never left. While his work is not as detailed and tight as his work on Batman: Hush or Superman: Man of Tomorrow due to time constraints, it still retains the edgier energy that made him famous to begin with. Johns gives him plenty of action and cityscapes to pour his gorgeously rendered heroes into. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s adventurous, and when you put it down you will immediately want more. These are the icons you know and love at their best and if this is the way the entire DC Universe is going to be, then I predict a very successful run for the 77 year old Company.
What You Need To Know:
The new DC Universe has set out to reestablish the heroic ideal by bringing back the icons that support it. This is a refreshing turn for the company as they move toward a more unified world and storytelling that is both interesting and uplifting. By splitting their books into categories, DC has generated several genres of stories for various audiences with the hope of providing a little something for everyone.
These are available in print copy form as well as a digital download for any media device at their site: https://read.dccomics.com/comixology/#/dc_universe.
Their “Justice League” line will feature all the prominent members of the team: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Aquaman. Also featured will be classic additions such as: Hawkman, Captain Atom, Mister Terrific, Green Arrow, DC Universe Presents featuring Deadman, Firestorm, and the Justice League International.
Characters like Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern have their own spinoff series including their supporting cast members in several other titles such as:
For a darker side of the universe they provide several titles that are more supernatural and horrific in tone DC gives you “The Dark“: Justice League Dark, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Frankenstein, Resurrection Man, Demon Knights, and a re-incarnated version of legendary writer J.M. DeMatteis’ 1981 series, I, Vampire.
If you like gritty stories full of realistic stories and antiheroes, but maybe not so steeped in supernatural elements, then DC’s “The Edge” has stories for you: Previous Wildstorm stories like Voodoo, Grifter, and Stormwatch lead the way. Others include Sgt. Rock reappearing in Men of War, Blackhawks, The Suicide Squad, All Star Western featuring Jonah Hex, Deathstroke, and Jack Kirby’s legendary creation O.M.A.C., written by DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and renown writer/artist Keith Giffen.
And finally, if you are interested in more energy and a youthful approach to crime-fighting, then look no further than the “Young Justice” line featuring: Teen Titans, Static Shock, Hawk and Dove, Blue Beetle, Legion Lost, and The Legion of Superheroes, which is being fronted by longtime writing legend and former President of DC, Paul Levitz.
With plenty to choose from, DC Comics promises to provide interesting stories with iconic heroes at the most affordable prices. Every comic is guaranteed to be 2.99 with the exception of the first issue at 3.99. DC will also be providing a column in the back of their books titled DC All Access to replace the previous DC Nation, which will now be moving to Cartoon Network as a block name providing shows that feature their beloved characters. Stay tuned, because this is the beginning of something truly amazing in the world of storytelling and you don’t want to miss it!