Published on September 1st, 2011 | by Michael Harris0
A Week Late #11: DC Reboot – Week 1
The day of the reboot has come. It was largely a disappointment, but I don’t really know anyone who was expecting it to be anything other than complete garbage.
I suppose I’ll start with the end, rather than the beginning.
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by ANDY KUBERT, SANDRA HOPE, and JESSE DELPERDANG
In a word…or three: I hate it.
This was a mess. Let me just start out by saying SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS because if you don’t know the story and conclusion of Flashpoint, you’re going to in a second. Secondly, TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE because it was everything I really wished it wasn’t.
The buildup that started way back when with Flash #1 in June 2010 was actually very good and pretty interesting. Barry Allen of the future kills the Mirror Master because he was going to kill Iris or some such. It was actually the Top whose motivations are to stop his ancestor’s criminal record from getting him barred from becoming a time cop (which he already was) and some such that I don’t really remember but it was an interesting little mystery story. The end of that 6 issue arc referenced some changes to the timestream and some things going on that made it that led directly in to Flashpoint. Now, problem the first, the changes to the timestream seemed to be limited to Wonder Woman having a different costume, Darkseid sending Bruce back in time with the Omega effect, Lex Luthor meeting Death, Deadman with the White Lantern Ring, and what looked like the Dread Pirate Roberts fighting another pirate…not a lot that spells out “TIME DISASTER!” to me. Even if you take into account the mess that was Time Masters: Vanishing Point to try to explain everything, you only get the idea that Darkseid messed something up. None of the other items belong on that board really. Does a costume change really mean a glitch in the timesteam?
Now, I suppose we’re supposed to believe that there are two, distinct timelines being viewed here, or at least 2 of the 3 mentioned in Flashpoint #5. This, however, is unclear, because in a splashpage in #5, we see what looks to be the rebooted timeline (#1), the pre-reboot timeline (#2), and the Wildstorm timeline (which is not, in fact, a timeline but is apparently another universe of some sort) (#3). I must note that nowhere in this mix is the actual timeline created during Flashpoint (#4). So that leaves us with at least 5 “timelines” (including the broken one from Flash #6 from whence Hot Pursuit came) . This is either a gross oversight by the artist, poor planning, or evidence that they don’t know what the frak they’re doing.
To quell some argument: Yes, I’m being this picky. No, this isn’t being overly analytic of the comic because Flashpoint, JLA, The Flash, and Brightest Day are all written by the same man who has a responsibility to keep his damn story straight or let somebody else take the reigns.
TL;DR: It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Now, the book itself. The issue is mostly a huge argument between Flash and Reverse Flash about how the Flash ruined everything by trying to change time. The entire reason for Flashpoint’s existence is explained pretty swiftly over two panels. Barry Allen was sad because he learned that Rev. Flash killed his mother in the past. In a flashback that we never actually saw in comic books and is referenced for the first time on page three here, we see The Flash go back in time to stop The Reverse Flash. Apparently, Allen did some hooba jooba with the Speed Force and caused a massive timesplosion that created the Flashpoint universe.
Now, to the weakest part of the story, the part where Eobard Thawne reveals that he’s an absolute dick. He wanted Barry to remember, he could do it at any time and make him suffer in the knowledge that he caused all this. He could have done that before Barry had the help of Batman and could have done it without anyone’s knowledge and thus made the entirety of Flashpoint obsolete (because, honestly, the end of the issue does that anyways).
Rev. Flash also pointedly states that he is now immune to time…apparently. Because of the fact that he was traveling through time when Barry changed it, the rules of time no longer apply to him. To make a point, THAT’S NOT HOW TIME TRAVEL WORKS! I get it, comic books have free reign over the laws of physics and the rules of the universe. The second you travel through time, you become immune to time travel. You create infinite alternate universes every instance that you step out of the normal stream of time.By the simple act of going back in time to kill someone, you would create a universe in which you kill them, while leaving the original completely untouched.
Thawne uses this new knowledge to beat the Flash to a bloody pulp (because The Flash, trained fighter with the Justice League, suddenly cannot fight worth a damn). He claims that he now has eternal double jeopardy for Barry Allen and there will never ever be any repercussions for killing him. However, Batman, once again proving to be the only effective hero in the DCU, Bat-impales him on his Bat-sword.
Some other stuff that doesn’t really matter happens. Superman/boy shows up and punches people, Flash runs really fast to stop himself from running really fast, and a creepy phantom lady head tells the Flash that he done messed up. Time hits the restart button, Barry wakes up and makes Bruce Wayne cry with a Bat-letter from his future/not-future daddy.
Rating: 5/10 (If only because Reverse Flash gets Bat-sword-ed)
Justice League #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by JIM LEE
Similarly messy to Flashpoint #5, was its progeny, Justice League #1.
Now, this story takes place 5 years prior to any of the events of the rest of the reboot. This doesn’t immediately condemn the story to being awful because you can do a few “how they met” episodes and I’ll be just fine. It didn’t bother me in Lost and it don’t bother me now if they want to show me how they first met. DC wants new fans and I won’t begrudge them the effort, but as a long-time fan, don’t expect me to fawn over another gorram origin story.
An origin story that feels terrifyingly similar to All-Star Batman & Robin. However, this is a story without the goddamn Batman and lemonade, this story has a dickish (but still kinda awesome) Batman and a jerkass Hal Jordan. It also reveals pre-Cyborg Vic Stone for 4 pages of awkward father issues, and a Superman that might need a high-five for hurtin’ the face of Johns’ baby GL. Still no sign of Wonder Woman or Aquaman, though I really quite liked the rejected sketch in the back of the issue with Aquaman’s crustacean armor.
In relation to the rest of the reboot, this book doesn’t tell us much. The world seems to be a bit more hostile to superheroes in general, which I’m ok about, I guess it explains why there are so many “covert-ops” teams in the 52. Hal seems to have a much better grasp on being a Green Lantern, which might make some interesting reading for the main GL series. Bruce is a bit of an ass (Jordan DID deserve it) but at the end of Flashpoint he seemed like an alright dude when talking to Barry. Does he soften up a bit in the 5 years between Justice League #1 and now? Does Damien warm his heart to the cold, cruel world? Do rhetorical questions ever solve anything? The answer to all is a big ol’ MAYBE.
1) GCPD has some damn nice equipment. Gatling guns, at least three helicopters, state-of-the-art body armor and uniform decals, irrational prejudice, Stormtrooper-like aim, real karate chop action, etc.
2) WHY IS BATMAN PUNCHING THE BUILDING WITH HIS CAPE!?!?INTERROBANG?!?!
3) Alien’s fire-breath-thingy also seems to be fire-butt-thingy.
4) By removing Hal’s ring, did Batman realize that the fires all over Gotham aren’t being put out anymore.
5) Bonus: Hal Jordan’s ring constructs show a bit of imagination.
6) I get the feeling that the little boxy thingy that they pulled out of the wall is going to be a portal for Darkseid/Reverse Flash/anyone they want because its a plot loophole/Nekron to return and for Hal Jordan to get heroically whisked away into not-being-around-land.
7) I’m going to stencil “Hustle, Hit, Never Quit” on my wall.
8) Superman’s punch is strange to me. Its blue and red, so it must mean that he flew into Jordan. However, he is seen walking out of the building a second later, so it seems that he is being intentionally deceptive about his speed to hide how fast he is.
9) In the confrontation with Supes, Bruce is clearly in the middle of an open area, but in the last panels, behind him is seen building, and he’s looking at Superman who is framed by building. This new DC universe has Chia-like buildings “Just add superheroes, and watch them grow!”
10) Every individual character sketch but Superman’s has a better costume/look than the final that they went with.
Rating: 6/10 (There is potential here. Somewhere beneath the madness, there is potential)
Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll post another bit about the books this week that I liked. Warning: there will be fawning over the ground that Warren Ellis treads.