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Review: Flashpoint #5

Finally, it's over, and the DCU is changed forever because Barry Allen missed his mommy.

Flashpoint #5

I miss my mommy?

That’s it? After five issues, a dozen tie-ins and the complete reboot of the entire DC Universe, that’s what they reduce it to? Flashpoint #5 brings to a close one of the most uneven stories wrapped in one of the biggest media events in comic book history. There should be something incredible here, something that reboots all of these characters with flair, style and substance. Instead of that, the Flash reduces the entirety of Flashpoint to essentially a temper tantrum. Not only is it a let down for fans, it’s also a confusing resolution due to so much being crammed into issue #5 in order for the reboot to make sense. I’ve always though of Flashpoint as nothing but a way to get the big change over accomplished and #5 proves I was onto something.

So let’s really delve into all the things that make no sense within the Flashpoint world. When issue #5 opens, the big war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman is at its violent peak. All the heroes have joined together to try and stop it from destroying the world. This war, this big war, which has been the focal point of Flashpoint, adds up to a big fat zero. First of all the entire war was predicated on something that didn’t work. Why would two factions who were, until recently, not on the radar of the normal world, suddenly want to destroy it because they hate each other? The entire political intrigue and all the pieces that went into the Aquaman/Wonder Woman war didn’t add up and, ultimately, didn’t matter. Flashpoint #5 is apex of that battle and Wonder Woman and Aquaman aren’t really in the issue. The epic battle we were set up for is nothing but window dressing.

Then there’s the whole Superman plot. In that tie-in, this gangly teen boy from another planet had been held prisoner while other medically induced supermen ran rampant. In Flashpoint, this teen Superman is set free only to fly off. His big return is supposed to be something that justifies all that the Flash has tried to do in the Flashpoint Universe. In issue #5, Superman lands, punches Wonder Woman and Aquaman and then gets absorbed into the background. His whole story comes down to two panels. Why? Well, because writer Geoff Johns had to leave plenty of space to cram in the long-winded explanation of how the reality got so fucked up. The only story that holds it’s own against the backdrop of exposition is Batman; it actually helps expand the otherwise mediocre ending.

Across the board the worst thing here is Reverse Flash’s big explanation. It turns out that the Flash, at some point, went back in time and saved his mother. It was his actions that set the new course and because he missed his mommy so much all of this other fallout occurred. Flash couldn’t figure that out on his own? When he woke up and dear mother was still alive it never occurred to Flash that this might be the moment where things got wonky? The explanation is not very satisfying and reeks of a rushed finish.

I was also scratching my head at the Reverse Flash. He lays down this jive about want to kill the Flash in order to capture a speed force he can use in his time. In the next breath, he then explains how he isn’t part of anytime stream because now he exists outside of it. By the end of the story I realized I didn’t have enough breadcrumbs to even try and figure it out so I gave up. Everything comes to a head when Flash, realizing his error, runs to see his mommy and talk with her about everything. In this world, Flash doesn’t exist but when he shows up in a red costume with a tale about changing the time stream, mom is way too quick to accept it. She even manages to figure out how to get Flash back to a specific time without the Cosmic Treadmill. Not only are we left with an “I miss my mommy” explanation, but we’re also supposed to buy how fast momma Flash gets down with this? Sorry, Johns, not your best work.

The nudge-nudge-wink-wink towards the reboot happens at the end of Flashpoint #5. When everything has been supposedly righted, Flash runs to visit Batman to make sure it’s Bruce Wayne. If you pay attention, you’ll see that Batman is wearing his new armor. Of course that begs the question, does Flash remember the original timeline and will that affect his existence post reboot. It’s another in a long line of unsatisfactory elements regarding Flashpoint.

The only real star of this attraction is Andy Kubert, whose art is glorious to behold. Every single panel is a vision of what this man can do with a pencil. Few have been able to really capture the movement of the Flash or put across how fast he moves like Kubert. The action scenes rage, the tiny moments are drawn with deep lines to the face, which put across the emotions. In fact, the only scene in this mess that carries any weight is when Bruce Wayne reads a note brought to him by the Flash from his Flashpoint Universe father. It’s a touching scene and one completely devoid of speech; it’s all Kubert’s incredible artwork. Flashpoint has failed as a story to do more than usher in the era of the DC reboot. It’s a shame such wonderful art should be wasted on such drivel.

 

CRAVE ONLINE RATING (Art) 9/10, (Story) 2/10