Thomas Wayne, the Batman of the Flashpoint reality, wants to erase the world in which he survived Joe Chill’s murderous attack but his son Bruce died.
Bruce Wayne, the Batman of the Earth 0 reality, wants to protect a snowglobe from Rip Hunter, Time Master.
OK, it’s not just a snowglobe. It’s a multiversal maguffin snowglobe.
I think I’ve reviewed every issue of this six-part mini-series and I’m still not sure I get everything that’s going on. That business about the snowglobe being connected to the watch, for example, is explained for the first time above. Why do we have the subplot with skinny Superman and threatened invasion by Kryptonians? Is Two-Face’s son Dexter ever going to realise that if a Wayne takes you in you have to ask people to call you ‘Robin’?
Darned if I know, and how would writers Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams and Tim Sheridan resolve it all in a regular-sized finale? Well, they don’t, but the way the main storyline wraps leave the way open for more stories set in the World of Flashpoint.
Anyway, that main storyline. Thomas has discovered that the Clockwork Killer murdering time travellers was wife Martha, who also survived the Park Row attack. She’s the Joker of this world and has been working to the same ends, though via a more grisly route.
Surely it’s team-up time? Dr and Mrs Wayne both believe this world they’re in wasn’t meant to be, and that the billions who would cease to exist don’t matter – if they do return, it’ll be in a happier place. Even the kid about to have his brains blown out by Mrs Two-Face over there.
Who also happens to be Dexter’s loving Mom.
Meanwhile or thereabouts, outside the snowglobe, Batman learns he isn’t the only hero with wonderful toys.
And I thought Babs Gordon’s beret was the most useful hat on any hero’s head.
Thomas Wayne has a choice to make – go through with his plan to end this, er, fake reality, or save a little boy and preserve the horrors of the World of Flashpoint. As for Bruce, if he doesn’t hand the snowglobe over to Rip, Thomas’s world is going to explode into the Earth 0 multiverse and destroy ALL TIME. Or something.
As it turns out, there’s an Option Three. Thomas saves Dexter Dent, Martha misses her chance to change her past, and…
What’s going on?
The letter is pretty excruciating, too sentimental and cloying even for me, sitting here in a Hallmark Christmas Movies tee shirt, but it pays off the Button storyline from 2017. OK, that’s so long ago I’d forgotten we never did see the full contents of a letter Batman found in the Batcave written by the alternate history version of his dad, but it’s good to know there was a point to that old Batman/Flash crossover.
So, the World of Flashpoint lives another day, due to the power of Faith, and Dexter, who has lost both his parents within the space of a few days, finds a new family in the shape of Thomas and Martha Wayne.
May as well book him a spot in Arkham’s youth wing right now. Until then, though, he has an exciting time ahead.
Kill Kryptonians. Eh? It seems Johns isn’t done with Flashpoint yet; why am I not surprised?
Mind, it does leave the door open for the return of the undeniably magnificent Canterbury Cricket! And I suppose we’ll get to see how the slaughtered likes of Reverse Flash return so they can be used in future DC books – hmm, could it possibly be time travel?
But is Batman a total hypocrite? Oh yeah, he’s moaning about the imperiousness of the know-it-all Time Masters when he’s just the same as them. Mind, at least he hasn’t kept people plucked from time prisoner.
Well, that’s John’s upcoming Golden Age books set up. But wait, there’s more.
Yep, Johns is going back to the Watchmen well. I wish he’d give it a rest, I don’t mind that creators other than Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons have created material set in the world of Watchmen, and I found the use of Dr Manhattan in Johns’ Doomsday Clock pretty clever, but enough is enough. I mean, a character named after a perfume from the original series? The Watchman?
Happily, the two-page sequence looks great thanks to illustrator Gary Frank and colourist Brad Anderson of said Doomsday Clock. The main part of the issue is split between Xermánico with Romulo Fajardo Jr on the Flashpoint visuals, and Mikel Janín with Jordie Bellaire on the Earth 0 art. And it’s all outstanding. The way Xermanico blends naturalism with the outlandishness of the Flashpoint world is quite something, while the no-nonsense sharpness of the Janín pages are just what’s needed. Favourite moments include the curtain coming down on Mrs Two-Face’s sad life, and that rocketing raccoon.
Rob Leigh’s letters are excellent as ever, the way he portrays the Joker’s laugh is especially great. And Mitch Gerads’ cover is superb, with the green background a superb backdrop for all those Jokers in the pack.
I’ve enjoyed this mini-series loads more than I expected to; it’s managed to go some way towards making Thomas Wayne a bearable character, given us excellent new takes on the Joker and the Penguin, deepened the mystery of the Time Masters and provided a lot of exciting flash along the way. If you’re a fan of event, DC continuity nuttiness or just fun superheroes, I recommend this highly.