Friday, August 5, 2011

Flashpoint Wednesdays 8/3/11

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 #4, Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #3, Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager #3, Flashpoint: Secret Seven #3, and Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint #3.

Flashpoint #4
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Andy Kubert
Company: DC Comics
It's all coming to a head now.  And quite cooly, if I might say so.  Johns' story, while not the end all be all, is hitting a lot of great moments and making me care for many of these characters that I normally wouldn't, namely Barry Allen.  He's our hero, and I like the way he's been shown over the course of this series.  Johns is also a great idea man.  His take on Billy Batson and the Marvel Family in this issue is so grin inducingly awesome that I can only hope that we'll see this same sort of thing be explored in the new DCU.  Kubert's art takes a little bit of a slump towards the end of this one with the overly stuffed to the gills battle scenes.  Maybe he was rushed or maybe he's simply better at more controlled, character centric panels, but they felt uneventful and stiff at times.  Not the end of the world or anything, just a few panels that didn't have the traditional panache that he's known for.  All in all though, this is one of the few summer events that has really gone right.  It's been on time, had tons of action, neat ideas have been put into play, and really, there's fun in the air.  Violent, bloody, and end of the world fun.

Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #3
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Company: DC Comics
Again, let me express that this three issue mini is probably the darkest, most depraved of the Flashpoint tie-ins.  That being said, it's also one of, if not the, best.  Azzarello, in the span of a very short time, really makes you care about Thomas Wayne, his friends and villains, and the odd marriage that all of them share.  The other good thing is that the conclusion here is very satisfying.  It's bittersweet, but it makes sense for the story and it didn't have one of those, "Well, that was a waste of time," feel to it.  It has an impact on Thomas Wayne that's felt in the main book, a crucial item that gives the series a bit more weight.  Eduardo Risso...Well, what's to be said that hasn't already been said?  His work is gorgeous with a captial G.  He brings the moody, the maliciousness, the in your face lines that are evocative and enthralling.  Superb stuff, on every single level.

Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager #3
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artists: Tony Shasteen & Alex Massacci
Company: DC Comics
Not essential reading for the main Flashpoint book, but essential if you want a book that provides a hell of a good time.  I will continue to reiterate the fact that Deathstroke as a Captain of a Pirate vessel is one of those simple yet extremely on the nose ideas.  With this issue, which sees Slade's search for his daughter come to a conclusion, Palmiotti does another fine job of presenting a story that hits all of the right notes. Mutiny, violence, and Slade being the ultimate badass are all points that are covered, plus Palmiotti provides a fitting conclusion that fits the vibe of the story that he's been telling.  The artwork is the chink in this issue's armor.  Joe Bennett had been hitting things pretty hard and doing it quite well.  Shasteen and Massacci aren't quite up to snuff.  The front half of the book works and has a Jesus Saiz type feel to it, but the latter half feels rushed and not as together as it really should have been.  That said, Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager delivers an enjoyable, action packed affair that is easily worth your time.

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #3
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Frenando Blanco & Scott Koblish
Company: DC Comics
Let me predicate this review with a word of warning.  You may want to read this one before diving into Flashpoint #4, as there is a point in that book that doesn't quite make sense without the information that is given here.  Okay, with that bit of info done, let's get to the issue itself.  The Secret Seven mini has certainly been one of the stranger tie-in books, there's no denying that.  The psychedelic feel that Milligan has given it is interesting and puts the reader into the same mindset as the main character, one of confusion and incomprehension at the things that are going on around him. Still, the focus on Rac Shade and the many other magic users of the Flashpoint Universe has brought about a series of great moments.  Strung together, the story is a weaker outing, but it has an ending that feels right for the series while at the same time, setting up things for Justice League Dark.  At least that's my guess.  The art is fine.  Not super exciting, but demons, magic and violent, violent deaths are drawn with flash and skill.  A decent mini.  Good but not great.

Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint #3
Writer: Rex Ogle
Artist: Eduardo Francisco
Company: DC Comics
World of Flashpoint's first two issues were decent enough.  Not blow you out of the water great, but issues who's story was thought provoking enough and contained a great deal about the world that these characters were inhabiting.  This third issue however, quickly spirals from fun and cool into that happy/sappy territory as Traci 13 battles her magically infused Father for the fate of the world.  It hits many of the notes that you'd think it would and really, there's just nothing here that feels important or note worthy.  The ending feels lackluster as well, merely tacked on and containing a vibe to it that makes you cock your head to the side quizzically and makes you say, "What?"  Francisco's art works well enough.  It has that 90's vibe to it, but he has clear storytelling and is able to clearly express the emotions on his character's faces.  At the end of day, World of Flashpoint ends on a less than desirable note, which is too bad.

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