(Disclaimer: Please note, I’m coming into this as a semi-novice. I do not profess to know the entire Marvel universe. Reading these titles is my way of familiarizing myself with it, so I may make a mistake here and there. I’m still learning. Also, if you have yet to read this title, and intend to read it, this post will contain plenty of spoilers. You have been warned.)
That’s the question you are being asked when you read Flashpoint.
What if Bruce was the one who died in the alley that night and not Thomas and Martha Wayne?
What if the reason Deadman is still around is to act as a guardian angel for Dick Grayson?
What if the Amazonians were at war with the Atlanteans, and the rest of the human race were stuck in the middle?
These, and more, are the questions that are asked, after Barry Allen wakes up one day to an entirely new reality, attempting to find some reasoning to his dilemma and to find a way back home.
This collection includes the following titles:
- Batman Knight of Vengence #1-3
- Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1-3
- Deathstroke & the Curse of the Ravager #1-3
- Secret Seven #1-3
In truth, when coming into this, I was relatively familiar with the first three main characters (Batman, Deadman, and Deathstroke). Some of the secondary and tertiary characters were familiar to me in the fourth series, but the main character I was oblivious to.
To be honest, I was more engaged with the first two titles: Batman and Deadman’s stories. Although this is an alternate universe title that only ran for 98 issues, it was an interesting look on “what if”? This world did not include JLA, where Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and the societies they came from, are at odds with each other, practically sinking entire continents, all for Dr. Fate’s helmet, with no care who got caught in the crossfire.
The biggest draw for me was Batman’s story. Thomas and Martha Wayne didn’t die in the alley that faithful night, young Bruce did, and it was due to his untimely demise Thomas became the darker and insidious Batman, and his wife, Martha, became the unhinged, annihilistic Joker. The mental twists on what drives the two (Wayne for his wife, Martha to punish the world for the loss of her son), alters the dynamic between who the Batman and Joker are, and in this iteration, it makes perfect sense.
With this new iteration, comes some additional changes: Batman will kill his prey, for the exception of his wife. Commissioner Gordon never marries or has Barbara, and Selina Kyle, being a quadriplegic, is this world’s Oracle. Cobblepot acts as Thomas Wayne’s lacky, and what was original thought of as a pillar of the community, Dr. Thomas Wayne, is a brutish casino owner.
Despite the changes, it’s clear that a sense of love and loyalty that exist in the characters, despite what is said or believed.
The storytelling by Brian Azzarello on this title was well done and I have to say, was fully engaging.
“Deadman and the Flying Grayson” title was also well thought out. Written by JT Krul, whose been attached to more titles than you can shake a stick at, keeps to the origins of the flying Graysons, but instead of shakedown artists involved in the death of his parents, mechanical error due to the big top collapsing causes Dick’s mother to die and soon after, his father dies during an altercation with Amazonians.
Deadman, who is the daredevil of the same circus, is asked to watch out for Dick (a father’s dying wish), and even after death (killed by Amazonians, while trying to escape), Boston Brand keeps to his word and becomes a sort of guardian angel for Dick.
The pacing of the story line made this an easy read. Boston, an egotistical showman, isn’t the main draw of the story, which helped to digest the story, as a secondary focus. The main premise was the Graysons: of their family, and of integrity.
The last two titles, to keep it brief were a little harder to get through.
“Deathstroke & the Curse of the Ravager” and “Secret Seven” had some stops and starts that made me put it down after a while because I just couldn’t keep myself focused. Although the main story line for Deathstroke was promising, the actual story itself didn’t offer many characters to root for. Also, it was never explained why his daughter Rose was taken into custody in the first place, because she never seemed to exhibit any meta abilities during the tale to make her worth keeping in maximum facilities.
As for Secret Seven, that title became way too confusing, with Shade’s vest, and what it could and couldn’t do and how it would react and not react to people. His obsession with Enchantress’ alter ego June was also a bit too off the deep end.
The character Enchantress, specifically at the very end, during her meeting with the Amazonians, didn’t seem consistent. How can someone talented enough to manipulate so many to her whim become so naive when it came to the Amazonians? These and other character flaws in this title made it difficult to root for anyone, and with the “all is lost” end, seemed like the story was given up entirely, irregardless of the intended sabotage.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own copy of World of Flashpoint: featuring Batman, it’s available on Amazon and on Kindle.
What’s your favorite alternate universe story line? Please comment and let us know.