Pros: The story as a whole is a thrilling and exciting adventure. There is also an interesting mystery within it that leads to a surprising conclusion. The range of emotions within this event is fantastic.
Cons: Some portions of the event are somewhat boring. This event also relies a lot on crossovers, which makes parts of it confusing.
Overall: This event is the perfect example of taking the good with the bad. There is an interesting and deep story here that is very enjoyable to read. However, in order to experience that, readers have to get through some parts that are not nearly as good. This makes this a book which people will have a number of different opinions on, some will love it, some will hate it, and some will not care about it either way.
Flashpoint is an interesting mixed bag of quality packed into a story that will undoubtedly affect the greater DC Universe for years to come. Parts of it are thrilling, emotional, and fantastic to experience. Other parts are overly confusing, generic, and simply not that good. Overall it is something which I, personally, enjoyed but recognize that it is not something everyone will.
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Starting with the good, the main story, revolving around the Flash investigating what happened to him, is excellent. It has all the suspense of a good mystery while still maintaining the action of a good superhero comic. It leaves readers constantly speculating about what exactly is happening while never revealing it until the very end. This reveal, then, is mind-blowing by itself as I don’t think anyone expected Barry to be the reason that the world changed.
On top of that, the emotions contained here are incredibly powerful and well executed, especially for an event that is only five issues long. Barry saying goodbye to his mother and Bruce reading the note from his father are moments which specifically pull strong at the heartstrings. They bring in decades of character development into one page of art and then sucker punch you with it. This event is supposed to be a touching story about people simply trying to do what is right for those they love, and in this regard it is a huge success.
Despite these successes, this event is not without its flaws. The biggest of these flaws is that the fight between the Amazonians and the Atlantians is simply not that interesting. The story gives little to no backstory or buildup for this war or why it is happening, meaning that readers are not invested in it at all. Also, readers know that all of these events will be reversed once the timeline is reset. This means that it almost doesn’t matter what happens because, in a while, none of it will have happened anyway. It makes for a fight with very low stakes trying to cover it up with an overly grandiose environment.
In addition, the story behind Flashpoint heavily relies on the related crossover events. This is great for those with the motivation and means to dive into this world, yet very annoying for those who do not. Though the story here is still readable, the lack of backstory and information about the world makes it so that the story feels very shallow and hard to become fully invested in. For example, a sizable portion of the story focuses on Flash breaking Superman out of prison yet nothing really becomes of this plotline; this instead mostly happens within Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Superman. These crossover points distract from the story and overall make it harder to really enjoy the experience.
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Andy Kubert does art throughout this book, which means that it looks excellent. Each page is beautifully drawn and full of detail. It is this detail which helps to convey some of the intense emotion and meaning that was discussed earlier in this review. If the art were not as good as it is, this book could have easily suffered a much worse fate.
Flashpoint is set in an alternate Universe separate from DC’s normal continuity. This means that every character in this story, besides Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne, has a slightly different history than the one fans are used to. Some of this history is explained in this event while some of it is explained through various miniseries and one-shots.
All of the connected miniseries and one-shots are collected in the following trade paperbacks:
- Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder Woman
- Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Superman
- Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Batman
- Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern
In addition, though mostly based in its own new reality, Flashpoint still does make some references to the already established DC Universe.
- The death of Barry’s mother and his investigation into it are detailed in The Flash: Rebirth.
- Barry Allen’s connection to the Speed Force and Thawne’s need for it are also explained in The Flash: Rebirth.