Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flashpoint Wednesdays 7/6/11

If the rumors are true, it seems that the mini series called Flashpoint will have some major repercussions on the DC Universe proper.  What exactly those repercussions are going to be though, it's anyones guess at this point.  What Top 5 Comics aims to do with this series of articles is take a gander at all of the Flashpoint issues and their tie-ins, giving the rundown on them, telling you which ones to check out and which ones aren't exactly up to muster.  It's obviously a big event, but will it be a good one?  Only time will tell.

This week we will cover: Flashpoint #3, Flashpoint: Abin Sur the Green Lantern #2, Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #2, Flashpoint: Secret Seven #2, and Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint #2.

Flashpoint #3
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Andy Kubert
Company: DC Comics
Three issues into this event we haven't hit a weak outing yet.  In fact, it feels as if with every issue of the main series, you get a huge chunk of story that is completely satisfying.  This one is no different.  Barry Allen, being the stubborn type keeps on trying to get his powers back, even after the snafu that happened earlier.  Johns' streak of violence raises its head briefly, but there are so many other things that outweigh it here:  Powers being used differently, characters stepping up, smart story telling...Really, it's the full package.  I especially liked Johns' take on Cyborg.  He really is the Flashpoint Universe's Superman, which is an idea that is intriguing and is handled in a way that isn't bland.  There seems to be more depth and life to the character than we've seen in recent years, which is exciting.  Kubert's artwork is more or less great.  There were a few panels as the trio of Flash, Batman, and Cyborg storm Project Superman that felt a little rushed and uneven, but there's too much good here to be bothered by it.  His action continues to be dynamic and memorable, the flow of his storytelling has punch, and the backgrounds have so much depth to them.  I also love the fact that the covers to Flashpoint are indicative of what is to be found inside.  Too often the cover is merely a pose or a group shot that is meant to grab the reader's attention.  I continue to be surprised by Flashpoint.  The level of creativity and across the board quality is making this an event not to miss.

Flashpoint: Abin Sur the Green Lantern #2
Writer: Adam Schlagman
Artist: Felipe Massafera
Company: DC Comics
The weakest of the Flashpoint tie-ins this week, and when I say weak, I mean pretty damn satisfying.  Schlagman really is making a name for himself with both Abin Sur and Hal Jordan.  There's an easiness to his style of storytelling that is both inviting and has the aspect of keeping the reader turning the page.  With this one, he continues to flesh out Abin Sur as a character while at the same time telling the tale of a world first coming into contact with a very visible alien idea.  It's handled well, as is the inclusion of this world's Sinestro and Atrocitus' Flashpoint Prophecy.  Massafera's artwork continues to improve.  I'm still not a huge fan of the painted style, but there isn't a stiffness in the lines, which helps it a great deal.  His action is also very memorable.  There is a fight scene towards the end of it that evokes everything that a comic book grudge match should.  Like I said, it's the weakest of the tie-ins, but it's still a fine comic.  I can only hope that we see both Schlagman and Massafera on a title in the new DCU, as they know what makes a comic book tick.

Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #2
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Company: DC Comics
One of the darkest stories that I can recall in recent history.  In fact, if this wasn't an alternate reality tale, I might say that this goes beyond the pale.  Still, it is an alternate reality story, one that's tightly written, relentless, and packs an emotional sucker-punch that registers on the Richter Scale.  This may be Azzarello's best superhero work to date.  It may be darker than dark, but the Gotham that he's created and the way that Thomas Waynes Casinos and their employees are so different really exude a very readable quality.  Seeing Wayne descend even further down the rabbit hole as his world and the people around him crumble is makes him an even more interesting character than he was before.  There's not much more that can be said about Eduardo Risso other than that his work here is sensational.  The creepy factor that the story blares is mirrored by Risso's distinctive style.  Patricia Mulvihill's colors just add that extra chocolate creme layer of goodness.  Perhaps the best Flashpoint tie-in, certainly the most memorable.

Secret Seven #2
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artists: Fernando Blanco
Company: DC Comics
I'll be honest with you, the first issue of Secret Seven was a bit of an odd duck.  It's not that it was bad, it just didn't seem to have a ton of ties to the main story, it simply felt like a Rac Shade story.  It also had the secondary problem of having its art duties split up by two artists, one of which was George Perez.  There's no denying that Perez is a great artist, it was just that his traditional style didn't fit.  I am happy to report that with the second issue, most every problem has been rectified.  The story is still about Rac Shade, but we can see where it fits into the Flashpoint story better.  There's also a bit more cohesion to the entire thing.  Milligan's characterization of Shade is fantastic, as are the other members of the Secret Seven.  Seeing the puzzle pieces start to fall into place as Shade deals with the various members while at the same time dealing with unraveling his place in the world is interesting to boot.  Artistically speaking, Fernando Blanco's style is much more in line with Milligan's story.  The layouts are more whimsical and he has a great ability to really show the emotions as they cross the character's faces.  Certainly worth picking up.

Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint #2
Writer: Rex Ogle
Artist: Eduardo Francsico
Company: DC Comics
Rex Ogle's story of Traci 13 dealing with her Father and his impending need to blast the Atlanteans, Amazons, and a few hundred other million people in order to "save" the world continues.  This time out we see Traci literally globe hop and meet up with Flashpoint versions of various DC characters.  It's a neat way to showcase them all, everyone from Natasha Irons to Jason Todd (who I thought was the most interesting of them all).  The story might be light on action, but the story does make up for that and Francisco's artwork helps things too.  It's a little uneven at times, as some of the characters look a little cartoonish, but it works and his landscapes and backgrounds and the design work that is put into it all rack up the check marks in the win column.  With the ending, I can not wait to see how things are going to end.  Traci is supposed to play a pivotal role in Flashpoint, so I can only imagine what will happen.

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