How could he be the Judge? Him of all people? His face! the acid! Terrible disfigurement!

If a Judge Dent was possible, then in this crazy upside down world anything was.

But it didn’t stop there.

Every year I give another UBER FAN GEOFF JOHNS comic a go. I do this out of a spirit of genuine enquiry and because people like David Uzumeri enjoy his comics, and every year I wonder why I do this to myself, and then I write about my pain here. Because not only do I find Johns’ work boring – in spades – but I also find it annoying and ultimately very depressing. Johns is now one of the most powerful writers in the industry, which for me is worrying because he represents the point at which my taste diverges from many fan’s. I’m on record as a continuity skeptic and, for me, Johns’ penchant for splashing around in the murky mire of continuity and legacy is self defeating and boring. The rise to power of these twin obsessions within DC is one of the main reasons why Marvel outsell them. It’s not because the DCU is inherently stranger and more esoteric than its sister universe and neither is it because, DC editorial take note (or not), of its lack of grounding in REAL. WORLD. EVENTS. but because no one cares about superheroes/villains standing around a lot being slightly different superheroes/villains from the superheroes/villains Geoff Johns and his fellow uber-fans are used to.

No one cares about that.

But I care about the fatalism it represents. It’s almost as though DC have just thrown in the towel. ‘Screw it’, Flashpoint seems to say, ‘superhero comics are fucked and all we can do now is milk the uber fan.’ I wasn’t joking when I said Flashpoint largely consists of superheroes standing around a lot. Really, nothing happens, nothing at all, but maybe a better way to describe it is… Look, you know when kids line their toys up on the shelf, ostensibly for a roll call but really just so they can *feel* the weight of their collection? That’s what’s going on in the pages of the first issue of DC’s latest game changer. Hoarding – universe Building for the sake of it. But a universe with nowhere to go – more joyless tweaking and revisioning, leading to more joyless tweaking and revisioning. Forget storytelling, who needs that stuff when Aquaman and Wonder Woman can be evil? When Cyborg – fucking Cyborg – can be Superman? I tell you now, Flashpoint isn’t a story, it’s just a movement from one startling continuity/legacy nudging non-event to another, for five issues, leading to a line wide recuperation of all DCU titles into its ghastly spectacle of fan-service and costume/world map/timeline collecting. This issue ended with the startling revelation that the Batman of Flashpoint’s reality is in fact Thomas Wayne. Expect more exciting revelations in the weeks to come. That is a promise. I promise you. All the superheroes that ya gotta love in a world ya gotta love gotta love.

It really is dead from the waist down, like the qliphothic shadow of Batman Inc, a comic which, unlike Flashpoint, wants to play with its toys as much as stare at them.

Obviously none of this is helped by Geoff’s flatter than flat dialogue and dead pan character sketching. I mean, seriously, this comic contains a Harlequin analogue called Yo-Yo (I know, I’m falling asleep already) who arrives equipped with such brain frazzling idea-bombs as

‘The Joker’s in all of us, Batman! It’s in you. Me. The people of Gotham city. We’re all a little bit crazy.’

And then, later, when Harlequin’s words reverberate across the husk of a soul-gutted Shade the Changing Man.

‘My M-vest can sense it within her. Emily Sung, the Element Woman, is a bit mad.’

This isn’t voice, it’s place-holder dialogue. The only way I can hear it is as a monotonous drone. More death. God, Blackest Night really was the truth wasn’t it? The ultimate truth of the DCU.

The only ray of light in the whole awful affair was the way I fanwanked Barry Allen’s strangely autistic lack of emotional response, i.e. not screaming and crying and freaking out like a motherfucker at finding himself trapped in a new reality where his mother was alive and his wife was married to someone else. The beats are there, he enjoys cuddletime with mom and he looks a bit freaked out over Iris, but cuddletime stareytime isn’t anywhere near a human-appropriate reaction to having your whole world turned on its head – and here comes the fanwank – except if you’re a superhero. Why? Because you’ve hopped around in time and other dimensions enough to be used to this shit by now, your psyche growing as superfluid as your speedsuit. You not only have metahuman powers, but a metahuman psychology. You’re a superhero for God’s sake.

And all it would’ve taken was a couple of dialogue boxes pointing in this direction and I would’ve been happy, but as it was I was looking at a dead body. It couldn’t gesture in any direction other than across its own surface. Believe me, it took Green Lantern like levels of willpower and Jesus-like generosity of spirit to even approach the place where Flashpoint was worthy of even a glimmer of my fanwanking, and that’s why it only happened once .

Anyway, I’ve had enough of this now.

I suppose Batman sums this endless horror up best:

‘I’m not the hero of this story. I’m a man who’s been corrupted by his own unbearable pain. I’m a man who has too much blood on his hands to be called good. I’m a man who has nothing to live for…. until the day I met UBER-FAN GEOFF JOHNS’ FAN FAVOURITE SUPERHERO the Flash.’

And then a riot of colourful nothing forever, then Armageddon.

56 Responses to “Flashpoint #1: the face-immolation”

  1. The Beast Must Die Says:

    ‘And then a riot of colourful nothing forever, then Armageddon.’

    See that’s better than anything that happened in Fishpoint.

  2. Ben Says:

    So… yeah. Between this and Fear Itself it’s getting really, really hard to keep the bile down when someone asks, “So how’re these big events?” All that I can manage is “Well… it’s colorful…”

    So… what can one say about the following criteria, placed in a randomly mixed order, for these tales: Shouting, Costumes, Flexing, Explosions, Guts, and Group Shot?

    Sometimes Boobs gets added, but that depends on the arc. Usually Boobs and Giant Weapon interchange for the 7-part arcs.

    In absolutely no circumstance should Sex ever make it to the list. It’s spoken of in occasional whispers of dialogue, but… nope. No sex, folks! Enjoy the entrails!

    See what making life miserable for Puritans has done?

  3. Thrills Says:

    My main worry about big ‘universe-changing’ events is “will it ruin Morrison’s Batman, the only DC superhero stuff I read?”, though Granto does have a history of doing fairly good things with line-wide bullshit when it gets into his comics.

    I’ve given Geoffers’ comics a go a few times, but I’ve not liked a single one. It all feels like that bloody ‘Identity Crisis’ comic to me.

    I really should stop sampling any old superhero rubbish from the local library.

  4. amypoodle Says:

    Yeah, for him these non-events are just things to jam on. As I said in our emails he’s one of the few writers I expect to do something good with this kind of stuff. Botswana was speculating that the confusing red bit in Batman Inc 5 was Flashpoint happening.

  5. It Burns Says:

    This announcement makes me want to vomit. If they touch Inc., seriously …………. seriously.

  6. Cleaning Glove Soup Says:

    If Botswana is right and Bruce saw Flashpoint coming and built a time tamper proof army of batmen… <3

  7. Lanmao, the Blue Cat Says:

    Holy good God damn. I just learned about this title today with the announcement of (yet another!) universe-wide reboot with (yet another!) slew of #1 issues. Only everybody’s younger now! And has goofy extraneous details tacked onto their costumes!

    I looked at the Wikipedia entry for this, and it… I mean, if it’s in any way representative of the comic, Amy deserves to be either beatified or institutionalized for being willing to suffer through it.

    Is there even, like, an ostensible point to Flashpoint? Other than “It’s summer, and also we’ve given up.” I’m actually asking. I’ve fallen out of the comics habit a bit, so this is news to me.

  8. It Burns Says:

    Geoff Johns is Leviathan. Calling it now.

  9. Wind Hamm Says:

    flashpoint and fear itself: making me stoked that the marketplace is dying.

    embarrassing shit.

  10. Zig Zag Zig Says:

    They ain’t touching INC. All the stuff that works and sells is staying the same. All the other stuff gets turned young and ‘relevant’. Like a history book that is tangentially related to current events. Only written by 35 year old teenagers.

  11. Papers Says:

    Well, at least it gets us a Vertigo-Silver Age mashup by Peter Milligan starring Shade the Changing Man and Amethyst, that’s always something.

  12. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Actually, why the fuck not though? It’s not as if I could care any less about DC Comics (Batminge excepted).

    DC is in some kind of creative tailspin, and in desperate need of some new talent. I think in an ideal world this ‘talent drive’ might yield some good comics. (Remember 88 maaaaaan?)

    I’m sure it won’t though. It’ll be the Jeansverse *shudders*

  13. Rick Vance Says:

    I flipped through Issue #2 at the LCS and it seems like exactly what you just described only replace the kinda interesting characters in the first issue with more boring ones and do the same boring info dump the entire issue.

    Such a bad Alt Universe story.

  14. bobsy Says:

    I hate to state the obvious, but can I just say again that Barry Allen the shittest Flash of all? And actually the second worst superhero ever?

    Really hope he fucking fucks off and dies again soon the cunt.

  15. It Burns Says:

    I don’t know if I dislike Barry Allen because he’s intrinsically shitty or because Jeans loves him,

    It’s probably because Jay Garrick is the MAN.

  16. It Burns Says:

    I don’t know if I dislike Barry Allen because he’s intrinsically shitty or because Jeans loves him.

    It’s probably because Jay Garrick is the MAN.

  17. It Burns Says:

    Duplication fail.

  18. Wally West Says:

    Well I thought I missed the prick too. How wrong can you be?

  19. Zodiac Firebroom Says:

    Why bother selling them separately? This shit should be sold free with toys – DC editorial don’t even bother pretending it’s about anything other than action figures sales these days.

    Reading Flashpoint #1 so soon after Bat Inc #6 is bound to crush the spirit. The shame was halfway through 52 there was the slightest hope Mozzer’s sensibility was going to have a viral effect on the DC universe, but now it’s well and truly quarantined.

    BUT Pete Milligan is writing Shade again. I have to look, I can’t help it.

  20. Botswana Beast Says:

    Your uncle is a fucking dick, Wally, and no mistake.

    I think I hate him even more than Hal Jordan, which is astonishing. (I will never hate a superhero more than Gambit, ever.) But then, I also thought I hated Dick Grayson, and it transpires I only hated Nightwing c. 1989-2009.

  21. Thrills Says:

    Barry Allen, that’s his name? Dude seems like basically just a turd. He’s the fastest man alive and he’s still in forensics? Loads of people would be qualified to do that job, is he so arrogant he thinks “better not give up the forensics job, I’m too important”? YOU’RE A FAST GUY! STOP DOING A SLOW JOB! IT’S NOT AN ‘INTERESTING IRONY’. IT’S BORING AND RIDICULOUS.

    Him and Hal “Barry’s Pal” Jordan should fuck off to a shit pub to complain about ‘PC gone mad’ and things. Bloody Daily Mail (or whatever the US equivalent is) readers, the shites.

    I hate comics.

    (not really, only the awful ones)

  22. RetroWarbird Says:

    Flash-in-the-pan-point.

  23. The Beast Must Die Says:

    The fact is that Kyle Rayner and Wally West (and even Connor Hawke) were basically perfectly fine replacements for the Superdads.

    But apparently we were all clamouring for the return of Hal and Barry.’We’ being ‘Geoff’.

    We are all Geoff.

    The kids were alright dammnit!

  24. bobsy Says:

    Last night I was reading Morrison waxing lyrical about Barry Allen, how great, the Silver 60s, New Look, science age, mercurial Camelot, the right stuff, proto-metrosexual, holy American optimism, all that shite.

    I thought to myself: This is all bollocks. Barry Allen can fuck off forever.

  25. Shameless Says:

    There’s no more story in the second issue than there was in the first, it’s more universe building for the sake of it. Pirate Deathstroke! Steve Trevor lurrrves Lois Lane!

    I did like the way Barry realized that Fishpoint was the “real” reality and not an alternate one simply because… well, he just told us it wasn’t an alternate reality and we have to accept that “he just knows OK”. Ah, Johns and his “tell don’t show” mantra.

    The end of the issue was pretty awesome though. Not in a good way, of course not, more in a “how more completely stupid can this book get?” sort of way.

  26. Tim B. Says:

    I’m secretly wishing Mopee is some how involved in Barry getting his super-speed back.

  27. Douglas Says:

    I can understand Hal Jordan being brought back (though I don’t agree, he’s the least intresting of all the Green Lanterns) but why Barry Allen? I thought everyone agreed his death was a good one, and everyone had accepted that Wally was the Flash now?

  28. Cleaning Glove Soup Says:

    Barry’s a novice compared to Mr. West… I thought John’s wrote a pretty decent, well balanced, Wally for a while back around like Identity Crisis…

  29. Cleaning Glove Soup Says:

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/06/04/the-great-dc-relaunch-conspiracy-that-just-happens-not-to-be-true/

    Inc. is dead.

  30. Zig Zag Zig Says:

    Hmmm… I’ll stick with what I wrote earlier in this thread.

  31. amypoodle Says:

    Yeah, I’ll believe that rumour when it’s more than just hearsay.

  32. Cleaning Glove Soup Says:

    “In the first BATMAN #1 since 1930, New York Times bestselling writer Scott Snyder teams up with superstar artist Greg Capullo in his DC Comics debut! In the series, Bruce Wayne once again becomes the only character taking on the Batman name.”

    Newsarama/DC solits…

  33. Cleaning Glove Soup Says:

    So even if they keep Inc. in some form… the “world haunted by the mythical Batman” Bruce was aiming for in #6 is dead…

    So it’s at least been gutted.

    Makes sense, if you’re rebranding and relaunching a new DCU, you’d want Bruce front and center… I dunno, Damian is still around, this whole thing is starting to look like a clusterfuck I hate to say… they want their cake and to eat it too… Unless you’re starting from a clean slate, you’ll have to explain these characters backstories or at least acknowledge they exist. What’s the plan now? Every character still has massive amounts of continuity, but it’s continuity you can’t read or access… When the silver age reboot came around they massively tweaked a number of their titles/characters with brand new leads and alterations in their roles. This time it SEEMS kinda: “everything you’ve loved for 50 + years with a fresh bath, new coat of paint and same old baggage!”.

  34. Zig Zag Zig Says:

    Gosh, I guess I stand corrected. But I suppose we’ll see.

    Potentially, This Is The Worst Thing That’s Ever Happened

  35. Indorkest Says:

    Long-time reader, first-time poster! I can’t helping thinking about that exchange between Bruce and Dick in Batman Inc. #6: ‘We have to prepare. Something big, something bad is coming… Not everyone’s going to survive it.’ Has Bruce already anticipated the fiendish machinations of DC editorial? With Morrison’s Multiversity still (hopefully) around the corner, DC must have a larger game-plan. Launching 52 titles has to mean something. Maybe I’m clutching at straws here…

  36. Zom Says:

    I think we’re all hoping that uber-grant has prepared for all eventualities. Hnh

  37. mad_arab Says:

    Zom, you had me fistpumping for a moment.

    Until I saw that new Nightwing cover and realized no one could have been prepared for that.

  38. amypoodle Says:

    This idea that they want to simplify their bloody universe again….

    Yes, that’ll be easy with 52 titles running, won’t it? That’ll last.

    The thing in Inc was the most exciting thing DC have done since forever, and now seeing all those annoying covers with all the bat-characters looking all triumphant and shit when it looks as though their titles are about to take a massive step backwards into concervative land makes me want to smack them all in the face….. RANT! RAVE!

    God I hope this doesn’t turn out the way I’m afraid it will.

  39. amypoodle Says:

    forgive sp errors and shit. I’m upset.

  40. Zig Zag Zig Says:

    http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/06/06/batman-inc-1-2012/

  41. Zig Zag Zig Says:

    Nice and smooth

  42. Indorkest Says:

    There’s also a Batwing title being launched, meaning the Inc. concept should be continuing after the relaunch. The downside being, it’s by Judd Winick.

  43. amypoodle Says:

    Follow the link above. It’s definitely continuing.

    Phew.

  44. Cleaning Glove Soup Says:

    <3

    Is Inc. Continuing though or Batman:Leviathan? Either way I'm still happy we get an unrushed conclusion to the best Bat-Read evah.

    I'm still wondering what the hell's going on though. Lobdell (brrrr) said as of his Teen Titans #1 none of them will have met before. I dunno, Maybe it's just a whole new cast? It all still seems silly… My bad vibes have not been quelled but I'll shut it for now…

  45. It Burns Says:

    I think Morrison’s going to be in a small corner of the new U. The rest of the books will continue without him.

    I am not leaving that corner.

  46. bobsy Says:

    But but that’s six months away. None of the dc cockwits have a flu what they’ll be doing next week, never mind next year!

  47. Zom Says:

    Yarp. That’s what I’m worrying bout.

    Burns, I strongly suspect that Morrison will be writing at least one extremely prominent DC book post the reboot. He’s their biggest selling writer.

  48. amypoodle Says:

    I’m not worried. They’ll sell books. They know that. Now they’ve confirmed it Inc will come out.

    And Bruce did see the Flashpoint.

  49. Zom Says:

    He did.

  50. Figgis Says:

    Morrisons writing a new Superman monthly and Batman Inc. Does the rest of the shit matter?

  51. Zig Zag Zig Says:

    Prexactly.

  52. It Burns Says:

    Yeah. I just mean he won’t be the driving force of continuity. But hey, I’m no seer, only a short-range telepath.

    Wait…he’s on a Superman title?

  53. Zig Zag Zig Says:

    It’s rumoured that he’s taking over Superman. That’s a rumour that I’m willing to believe, given everything that’s going down.

    Jeans did everything he could during his run on the character to shuffle Morrison’s All-Star approach into the DCU.

    But again, I don’t know. We’ll see in a few days or weeks.

  54. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » In Mass Mind: Comics Reviews Says:

    [...] the fact that Swamp Thing, Shade and John Farkin’ Constantine have been dragged into the Jeansverse (wasn’t that whole ‘Nicest Day’ thing basically a way of bringing Sprout Bollocks [...]

  55. Exotic Dragonfruit Says:

    The Flash has a name?

  56. Savage Symposium: FEAR ITSELF & FLASHPOINT (Part 2 of 3) | Savage Critics Says:

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