Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reader's Diary #1064- Geoff Johns (writer), Andy Kubert (penciler): Flashpoint Vol. 1

I'm a sucker for Marvel Comics movies. Even so, I was surprised when DC blinked first in the showdown between next year's Batman v. Superman movie and Captain America 3. Both were scheduled to open next May 6th but a couple of weeks back DC announced that it would be bumping their release date up to March 25 instead, therefore avoiding a clash with Marvel. Now, as I say, I'm a fan of the Marvel movies. And most fans and critics agree that the Captain America movies have been surprisingly good. But, even I want to see Batman and Superman duke it out. These are iconic characters, both supposed to be on the same side. And then other Justice Leaguers are also making an appearance? Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash? Come on! We all love superhero ensembles. Now if it were going up against Marvel's next Avengers movie, that would be a real show down, but they backed away from Captain America?! That's crazy. I can only theorize that they must realize that they have a turd on their hands. Why else would they be afraid of the Captain?

In any case, I've recently found myself switching allegiance to DC once again and picked up the surprisingly good Flashpoint graphic novel written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Andy Kubert. It involves Barry Allen, aka the Flash, waking up one day to discover his world's reality has been completely altered. He no longer has superpowers, Batman is really Thomas Wayne (Bruce Wayne's father), no one's heard of Superman or the Green Lantern, and perhaps most surprisingly, and importantly, Aqauman and Wonder Woman are waging war against one, a battle so extreme that millions of lives have been lost and the entire planet is in danger.

An Associated Press blurb on the front of my edition says that it "uses superheroes in ways that may surprise both first-time readers and long-time fans." But make no mistake, long time fans will certainly appreciate Flashpoint more and better appreciate the impact. That said, I wasn't a long time fan, knowing virtually nothing about the Flash and only a minor bit of trivia about any DC characters other than Batman and Superman, but I still really enjoyed it. There are loads of peripheral and lesser known characters here. Cyborg, the Enchantress, Element Woman, Captain Thunder, Citizen Cold, the Outsider, and many, many more. DC fans would no doubt have a field day, and they'd also be able to know what impact this alternate reality has had on them. For a relative newcomer to the world of DC, I admit that Flashpoint was overwhelming at times, but for the most part, the story itself was easy to follow and honestly, quite exciting.

For the most part, I enjoyed the artwork. It's gritty, but balanced nicely with bright colours to take the edge off (it's been a complaint of mine and plenty of others that the DC movies have gone overboard with the dark, gritty look). However, occasionally I was annoyed at the full or double page spreads that looked more like promotional posters rather than art that enhanced or furthered the story.

All in all though, an entertaining comic. And for the record, I think it would make a great movie.

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