Commentary From the Ruins of the Slacker Generation
Warning: there are SPOILERS ahead.
If you are a comic book fan, then you have heard about how DC Comics is rebooting their entire line and launching 52 new #1 issues in September (I provided my thoughts on this in a previous post). The mini-series Flashpoint is the catalyst for this change, and today the final issue was released (simultaneously with the first issue of the new 52, Justice League #1). Having skipped the entire series until now, I figured I’d give this final issue a shot and show up just in time for all of the revelations.
And there are plenty. In fact, the issue works great not knowing anything that has happened thus far, which shows you how inconsequential most of it is. This is where the Flash’s nemesis, the Reverse-Flash, breaks it down and explains to our hero just what did cause the changes in the timeline to bring about this screwed up version of reality. And – surprise- the Flash caused it. He just forgot about it.
And this is where the issue proceeds to just fall apart. The book looks great, and it’s not as if Johns writes turgid dialogue the rest of the way. The problem is the logic behind events is so absurd that you can’t help but feel underwhelmed.
One of the main reasons I didn’t care to follow Flashpoint was because of the flawed premise. The Flash winds up in an altered version of history, and he has to figure out just what happened. In this version of the DC Universe, Cyborg is a major superhero (yawn), Batman is Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father; it was Bruce who was killed in this reality), Wonder Woman and Aquaman’s races are at war in Europe, and Superman was held at a government facility under cruel conditions since crashing on Earth as an infant.
So, if you’re several months away from rebooting the DC Universe, why do it by introducing yet another altered timeline leading up to it, once that will have zero influence down the road? It just seemed so disconnected from the rest of the (old) DC Universe that it left me scratching my head.
Even aside from that, the way history changed makes little sense. History changed… because the Flash saved his mother from behind murdered?
The explanation that the Flash took in the Speed Force (the source of his powers) and shattered history like a bullet going through a windshield is a real stretch. Then the way he “restores” history (i.e create the new DC timeline) is to run- run! - back into the timestream, stumble over 3 timelines (the DC, Vertigo, and Wildstorm universes), and somehow (Timey-Whimey applies here) merge them all into a shiny new timeline just in time for the DC relaunch.
Did I mention all he had to do was run? Is that what Forrest was trying to do all those years ago?
Then the Flash wakes up in the new reality, thinking he’s in the right one, and life goes on from there.
In short, it’s a weak way to see out the classic DC universe. Something like this would have been much better served by the conclusion of Final Crisis, where a new DC universe would have made perfect sense given the state of the universe at that point. Instead, they waited too long, and we have the Flash Time Run (TM) now up there with Superboy-Prime’s reality punch and Mr. Mind’s eating history as ways DC likes to change timelines. Uh, sure.
But at least it does serve its purpose, and the new DC 52 is here. I just hope that they are able to capitalize on all its possibilities.