08th Dec2020

‘Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Flashpoint #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Bryan Hitch | Art by Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Scott Hanna | Published by DC Comics

DC really do know their audience. Every time I think I’ve had enough of these Dark Multiverse books, they stick out one that makes me act like someone propping up the bar at the local. ‘Go on, then, just one more’ When you’ve read as much of DC’s output as me down the years, from the late 70’s onwards remember, then you are a sucker for nostalgia or revisiting stories and times that you connect with. DC have cleverly tapped into that with Dark Multiverse takes on things like Knightfall, Death of Superman, The Judas Contract, Blackest Night, Infinite Crisis among others. I can’t tell you how excited I am for the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths one. Fanboy explosion time. So, this time round we have Flashpoint, another major DC event. Throw in Bryan Hitch writing and drawing and I was handing over my money to DC before I even knew it.

So, is it actually any good? Let’s take a look.

We start , as many of these Dark books do, by killing off a major character early. This is usually the catalyst for tilting the book in a different direction from the original storyline it is based on. Here, Barry Allen dies, leaving Eobard Thawne, The Reverse-Flash, as the fastest man alive. He is also the most dangerous man alive, as without the distraction of The Flash, Thawne can now turn his attention elsewhere. He also can see into Thomas Wayne/ Batman’s memories, and sees the alternate ‘real’ pre-Flashpoint DC universe, where Barry was friends with Bruce Wayne/ Batman. This is a world Thawne can re-make. Time for a do-over. Remember this is a world where Amazons and Atlanteans have invaded much of the surface world, and the U.S is getting worried.

Turns out Thawne has planted the current President in place, going back in time and manipulating elections along the way, ensuring a weak man who takes his orders from him. Thawne is the defacto POTUS. As Thomas Wayne points out to Thawne, what exactly is he winning? Without Barry Allen to give him purpose, he’s a lost man trying to find something to hold on to. Thomas doesn’t mention The Superman Project he and Cyborg are investigating, a top secret project holding an alien captive. Hitch taps into some great psychology with the talk between Thawne and Wayne, the nature of revenge, of hope, of heroes and villains and all the shades inbetween. Thawne thinks he’s manipulating Wayne emotionally, but I’m not sure the manipulation isn’t the other way round. This is still Batman.

Thawne is now the world’s big man on campus. He’s executed Aquaman, made Wonder Woman back down, and ensured a truce across the world. What he doesn’t know is that Batman and Cyborg have released the alien, and are helping him back to health. The fight between the Kryptonian and Thawne is brutal, beautifully drawn by Hitch, and ends in a very surprising way. Let’s just say that, yet again, the selfishness of a Batman ruins it for everyone else. More bad decisions lead to more bad consequences, with nice cameos by Wonder Woman and Big Barda. Finally, Thawne realises that the presence of hope, and of one bullet, can change a world. So he does. Again.

I really enjoyed this. The art, as you would expect, was fantastic. Hitch is among the best in using big, expansive art to really tell a story. a widescreen artists, if you will. Some of the larger panels are stunningly good. The surprise lies in the story, which Hitch handles really well. Thawne, especially, is not a cardboard cutout, but a well-rounded character, full of smarts and emotion, convinced his way is the right way. Calling him a villain would be a disservice. There’s some great dialogue in there too, especially between Thomas Wayne and Thawne. Again, don’t necessarily call Wayne a hero. Lines are very blurred on this world.

This is a very solid entry in the Dark Multiverse story book, and one I recommend. The moral here was that Thawne learnt, with Barry’s death, that moving fast didn’t actually mean you were actually going anywhere. Move fast to escape the past, but slow down to build the future.

I love a little philosophy with my comics.

**** 4/5


Comments are closed.