Review: ‘Flashpoint Beyond’ #0 – A Promising Start To The Latest DC Comics’ Event Series
by Olly MacNamee
‘Flashpoint Beyond’ #0 returns us to the world of 2011’s Flashpoint as if we had never left it. And only Thomas Wayne knows that this alternative timeline should not exist. But it does, and with plenty of mystery to uncover too. It’s a plodding start to the latest DC Comics’ event series, but this over-sized first issue does mean we get a lot more art by Eduardo Risso and Trish Mulville than a regular length issue. And that’s more than enough for this comic book fan.
As a debut issue in the latest multiverse spanning DC Comics’ event writer Geoff Johns was never going to give too much away, if anything. Rather it is an opening issue that plans seeds, clues and to some extend, revisits Flashpoint with more than a sense of déjà vu. But this time round the particular scene I will refer to obliquely (no spoilers here!) has a very different and shocking outcome. Even if it’s an outcome you’ll probably see coming a mile away. After all, why revisit old ground if not to shake it up a bit? And Johns certainly does that, thereby promising us this won’t be a complete revisiting of Flashpoint continuity. But, be warned, it is one of the only truly shocking moments in an otherwise padded out oversized first issue. And while I don’t think the script for Flashpoint Beyond #0 requires as many pages to tell as it does, the extra sized issue has a huge upside; it allows for more amazing Eduardo Risso artwork. An artist who’s very presence on a series like this immediately elevates it to a must-have series for any comic book fan. Risso’s artwork and page layouts are breathtaking while the colour work suggests watercolours that remind me of the colouring, by Trish Mulville, of The Dark Knight Returns. And, in this case, I don’t think that’s necessarily a coincidence. This is, after all, a comic book steeped in DCU history far beyond Flashpoint. And a series for the long-term fans too.
After what seemed like the death of Thomas Wayne in Justice League Incarnate #4, at the hands of Darkseid seems to have, instead, re-established the alternative universe Johns originally set up in the 2011 Flashpoint series. On that Earth, Thomas Wayne is being pressured by Harvey Dent to visit the letters wife at Arkham. A woman crushed from her experiences at the hand of this alternative timeline’s Joker, Thomas’s wife. But he has more pressing matters to attend to and seek out Barry Allen believing he can simply reset the world the same way as last time.
Along the way we get a number if Easter eggs, such as the identities of several murder victims at the hands of a mysterious serial killer simply known as the Clockwork Killer. Even Barry’s address is a nod to his first appearance in Showcase #4 from 1956. His clothes are the same as those worn in that first appearance too. And Risso fuses just enough of the great Carmine Infantino into his artwork that long-time fans will notice. Just like he seems to add a sprinkling of Frank Miller into his depiction of Batman too.
Meanwhile, as we have seen in the previews for this book, we have Earth Prime’s Batman seeking for clues alongside two survivors of another universe, Mime and Marionette and whole chalkboard full of tantalising notes. The snow-globe he picks up, alongside Silk Spectre’s wrist watch, is clearly this series’ “Rosebud” moment, so don’t expect any answers to this particular mystery any time soon. But then, a series like this is designed to keep readers guessing, and this prime directive is most definitely achieved here.
A promising, albeit slow start, with sensational artwork that breaks the rules of regular comic book layouts with a strong crime-noir tone to proceedings. While the art is most assuredly the star, I am intrigued by the story Johns is setting out. So, I guess I’m in on this particular chapter in the ever changing DCU. Are you?
Flashpoint Beyond #0 is out now from DC Comics