That’s a superb cover from Kevin Nowlan, with echoes of Brian Bolland’s style in the figure of Blackout. It doesn’t reflect the interior – Blackout’s not even in the book – but, hey kids, comics!
The final issue of this Flashpoint mini-series sees Michael Desai, the Outsider, take on the one who sent assassins against him – J’onn J’onzz. This isn’t the hero we know, it’s a very different Martian Manhunter, one made vicious by first, Desai, then the Russians. The latter wanted their own Project: Superman so Desai, having gained control of J’onzz after Dr Erdel brought him to Earth, sold him on. Now it’s time for the two super-powers to engage in final battle.
And that’s just what it is, as one dies horribly (well, this is the World of Flashpoint). Once again writer James Robinson produces a dark Elseworlds tale powered by his portrayal of the Outsider, underworld fixer writ large. In three issues he’s created a compelling bad guy, one empathetic enough to use his enemies’ emotions against them. And if they have other weaknesses, so much the better. Showing us his story over several decades makes the fact that he sems able to defeat anybody more believable, while his love of tailoring is an amusing quirk (presumably Desai’s penchant for white suits is due to last issue’s formative Disco years).
There’s effective artwork from Javi Fernandez once again. The forms he has shapeshifter J’onn take are as imaginatively frightening as the story demands, and he gives Desai enough charisma that it’s conceivable people would follow him even without threats. Fernandez is gifted thoughtful colour work by Tanya and Richard Horie, while dependable Dave Sharpe provides the lettering (click to enlarge image).
I expect the Outsider to appear in DC’s New 52 books, as he should. He’s one of the most interesting villains we’ve seen in quite a while – a thinker, like Lex Luthor, but a believable brawler too …. I’m interested to see where he could go post-Flashpoint.