Thomas Wayne, the Batman of the Flashpoint timeline, is on a mission to reset reality. He wants to be dead, and his son Bruce to be Batman in his place.
The Superman of this version of the DC Universe – Kal-El, Subject 1, the Super-Man – has other plans for Thomas… to lead the superheroes against a Kryptonian invasion of Earth.
Meanwhile, something’s afoot at Arkham Asylum.
Oswald Cobblepot is showing that in another life he could have been a heck of a teacher.
The Clockwork Killer strikes again… actually, I can’t show you that, you may be eating. Suffice to say, Professor Zoom is no more (well, so much as a man who can time travel and live in the Speed Force can be dead).
And in Hypertime…
Phew! I know that Dark Crisis is meant to be the big event of this year, but it’s Flashpoint Beyond that feels like the real deal. It even refers to Black Pariah in a way that make his doings sound distinctly secondary to the events of this book.
After the appearance of tiny Time Master Corky in the first couple of issues of this Geoff Johns-helmed mini-series, I’m delighted to see teammates Bonnie and Jeff here, buffeted by a time paradox resetting. (This would be a great time for DC to reprint the trade collecting the Bob Wayne, Lewis Shiner and Art Thibert Time Masters mini of the Nineties, maybe even the Showcase Silver Age collection.)
Why Reverse-Flash has been murdered we aren’t told, but it’s fun to see him appearing beside Oswald Cobblepot and Harvey & Gilda Dent’s cute wee son, Dexter. Presumably the mirroring of Barry Allen’s pained cameos in early issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths is deliberate.
I don’t think Geoff Johns likes Jor-El. Having set him up to be the lunatic Mr Oz during his run on Superman, here he has Superman’s birth father planning an invasion of Earth. I’m rather tickled that joining Subject-1 in the defence of the Earth are (not so) Poison Ivy and a Jason Woodrue, who has finally achieved his ambition to go full Swamp Thing.
What I don’t like is this modern cliche.
Still, the Flashpoint Universe was created to be a darker DCU, and Subject 1 has had a pretty terrible time since landing on Earth from the doomed planet Krypton. He was locked in a hole, away from sunlight, for decades, explaining his ‘Made a man out of Mac’ physique… it’s only since being freed by Thomas Wayne that he’s started to come into his power.
I enjoyed this comic loads, Johns and co-writers Jeremy Adams and Tim Sheridan drip feed us ever-more intriguing information while making familiar characters new again. Xermanico, the artist on the majority of pages, makes everyone instantly recognisable while providing a dark edge that suits the narrative. The final two pages are the work of Mikel Janín, and they’re pretty intense too.
The cover by Mitch Gerads is a fairplay affair, showing us a scene from the issue, but it’s a little lifeless for a story that’s proving to be pretty dynamic. It’s ‘after Jim Lee’ but I’m on holiday with very spotty internet, so can’t check what it’s homaging right now… maybe an issue of the tragic Superman ‘For Tomorrow’ story? Answers appreciated!
That concluding scene is nicely coloured by Jordie Bellaire, with the rest of the issue the work of Romulo Fajardo Jr; it’s all excellent, but Xermanico’s credits page shot of Subject 1 is outstandingly finished by Fajardo. And as is ever the case, Rob Leigh does a fine job with the lettering.
I’ve read the whole of the original Flashpoint event, but I doubt that’s essential to enjoy this book – concepts are clearly laid out and characters introduced, allowing things to steam ahead. Fingers crossed the ending fulfils the promise of the issues so far.