Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Flashpoint Beyond #0 Review

Let's Do The Flashpoint... Agaaaain!

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Eduardo Risso 
Colors by: Trish Mulvihill
Letters by: Rob Leigh
Cover art by: Dexter Soy, Alex Sinclair
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: April 12, 2022

Flashpoint Beyond #0 kicks off the prelude to the Flashpoint Beyond event by following the Flashpoint version of Thomas Wayne after he realizes his timeline has been restored, putting the entire world in danger.

Was It Good?
Flashpoint Beyond #0 is a wonder of comics achievement because it somehow managed to intrigue me and bore me all simultaneously. 
The premise is simple (or as straightforward as Flashpoint can get). Thomas Wayne awakes to find the Flashpoint Timeline (his timeline where he's a murderous Batman) is restored. Recognizing the danger and still in possession of his memories of what happened with the Flash, he desperately works to re-restore the original DC timeline. Meanwhile, our Batman is searching for time-altering artifacts, running him afoul of Rip Hunter and the Time Masters.

Flashpoint was a monumental event that created lasting consequences for the main timeline of DC characters and affected DC as a company for all the line-wide impact it had as a result (The New 52, Rebirth, etc.). Yet, it's still an Elseworlds/What If...? type of event for all the ripples it created. Flashpoint Beyond #0 feels like a What If of a What If, asking the readers to consider what would happen if the Flashpoint "fix" didn't work for a different reason and now Thomas Wayne had to find a different way to fix it. Geoff Johns is still considered one of the top superhero writers today, but this is almost too much rehash to take.

The issue picks up once Thomas Wayne locates Barry Allen and tries to restore his Flash powers (by force), but the net result is still the same. Take Flashpoint (great!) layer on all the mess of DC reboots and events since it was released in 2011 (okay?) then go back to Flashpoint (wait, what?!?), and do it again with another split in events (no. stop! What are you doing?!?). It's tired. It's boring. And unless it leads to a line-wide reboot that fixes the mess of the aborted 5G, the Omniverse, Hypertime, and everything in between, it feels cumbersome.

It doesn't help that Risso's art is flat and uninspired. If you're going to go back to rehash overplayed storylines, the story needs to compensate with eye-popping art, and this issue is simply bland in the art department.

This review might sound super negative, but this comic is well put together. Technically, there isn't anything wrong with it. The dialog is solid. The events flow gracefully. And you get a few surprise moments that portend possibly intriguing developments in future issues (Flashpoint Robin? The Snyderverse Batmobile?). In short, this issue may foreshadow inspiration from the forthcoming (and troubled) Flash movie. So, there could be some wow moments on the horizon, but as presented here, the technical execution is excellent, but the thematic concept is long past its expiration date.

Make sure to listen to our Weekly DC Comics Recap and Review Podcast to hear us talk more about this book.  Just look up "Weird Science DC Comics" anywhere you listen to podcasts, and make sure to rate, review, and subscribe!

Bits and Pieces
Flashpoint Beyond #0 takes a game-changing Elseworlds event and goes back to do it again. The writing execution is excellent, but the concept feels played out and boring. Coupled with bland, uninspired art, I'd be tempted to say "skip it" if not for a few hints of wow moments in the future.


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