A Grandiose Scaled Story Just Got Bigger In Scope: ‘Flashpoint Beyond’ #3 Reviewed
by Olly MacNamee
Batman takes a break from hunting the Clockwork Killer in ‘Flashpoint Beyond’ #3 as he takes a trip to this alternative timeline’s Fortress of Solitude, The Oasis. But with the backstory of Superman’s origin being a big focus of this issue, the scale of the story the creators of this series want to tell has grown again. A comic book that doesn’t waste a single paper or page and still keeps readers guessing.
With the clockwork killer still on the loose, we get something of a break from the case as Batman is picked up by Superman and transported to the Flashpoint’s version of Kal-El’s Fortress of Solitude. And, like so much in this alternative timelines, this hideaway is rather oppositional to the construct we have come to know so well. Rather than built in the icy, barren environs of the Arctic this one is green and lustrous thanks to Jason Woodrue, this timeline’s Swamp Thing it would seem. Another dual opposite in a world full of them.
But, long before this we get a very interesting take on this Superman’s origins. It would appear his wasn’t the only ship blasted from Krypton. A Krypton very much alive and well and, as we learn, one bent on subjugation of the Earth.
Add to this the apparent death of the Psycho Pirate, the surprising appearance of the Reverse Flash, dead on arrival, as well as voices in Gilda Dent’s head, and the mystery behind the killings, and much, much more, only deepens.
For any fan of Flashpoint, alternative timelines/multiple Earths, this is a well thought out take from three writers – Geoff Johns, Tim Sheridan and Jeremy Adams – working in simpatico. I’m finding this new adventure, and the various new characters popping up, an interesting concept. Even if Thomas Wayne doesn’t think it should exist, I feel there will be a good few fans like me hoping it will slip into some corner of the DCU, especially given The Superman’s insistent statement that “Everything matters.” That and Hypertime, and I could see the Flashpoint timeline being revisited more often in the future.
But, unlike other alternative timeline stores, this one is framed as a crime noir drama. A whodunnit with sci-fi and superhero elements grafted onto it so that anything is possible that makes it somewhat different to other tales of this type. Of course, the grittier artwork of Xermánico suits this dark story well, and shows he isn’t just an artist who can make the shadows of this superhero thriller come to life, but in his depiction of The Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, here renamed The Oasis, he shows his versatility with a beautifully illustrated establishing shot of the setting, made all the more breathtaking as a piece of art thanks to some outstanding colour art by Romula Fajardo Jr. Here, and in other moments in this issue, it seems almost painted.
After this issue, the story seems to have grown in scale with what this six-issue series is trying to accomplish, And it had pretty big-scale ambitions to begin with. But now as well as the Darker Crisis currently being regaled in another mainstream DC Comics’ book, we have a further series that is beginning to feel important in the forging of the DCU. A lot to take in, but a great and engrossing read from cover to cover.
Flashpoint Beyond #3 is out now from DC Comics