28 December 2016

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part LVII: The World of Flashpoint featuring Batman

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2012 (contents: 2011)
Borrowed from the library
Read August 2016
The World of Flashpoint featuring Batman

Writers: Brian Azzarello, J. T. Krul, Jimmy Palmiotti, Peter Milligan
Artists: Eduardo Risso, Fabrizio Fiorentino, Mikel Janin, Alejandro Giraldo, Joe Bennett, Tony Shasteen, Alex Massacci, John Dell, George Pérez, Fernando Blanco, Scott Koblish
Colorists: Patricia Mulvihill, Ulises Arreola, Kyle Ritter, Ander Zarate, the Hories, Tom Smith, Brian Buccellato
Letterers: Clem Robins, Patrick Brosseau, Dave Sharpe, Travis Lanham, Rob Leigh

I don't know if these World of Flashpoint books are getting better or if I'm just acclimating to their style and purpose, but I think this volume was the best of them so far. It doesn't have the best individual story in it (that's probably "Project Superman"), but it has three decently enjoyable tales and only one real dud. The reading sequence I devised/picked/was given continues to work well, too: the Booster Gold story in the previous volume alluded to the fact that there was something not right about this timeline's Batman, and in this volume we get to see what that is.

If you thought Batman was grumpy, wait until you see his alternate universe Batman dad.
from Flashpoint: Batman: Knight of Vengeance #1 (script by Brian Azzarello, art by Eduardo Risso)

"Knight of Vengeance" is a gritty noir tale from Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Azzarello excels as this kind of thing. I'm not sure there was really a story here, but it provides an effective series of snapshots of this universe's Batman and Joker, who manage to be even more broken than those of the primary timeline. We see Batman's crime-fighting empire and criminal(!) empire, his relationship with Jim Gordon (yay!), and the dark twisted night that changed everything for him. Batman alludes to the existence of the primary timeline in a conversation with the Joker; I suppose I'll get to see how he knows about it when I reach the main Flashpoint book. Eduardo Risso on art also impresses. I don't think I've ever seen any of his work before, but his simple style works really well for communicating the darkness of this story. Less a tale and more a demonstration of the need to change this world back, "Knight of Vengeance" leaves me more eager to get to the main event.

Surely any family members this cheerful in a superhero tale know they're doomed?
from Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 (script by J. T. Krul, art by Mikel Janin)

"Deadman and the Flying Graysons" is what you might imagine from the title: Deadman (who is not yet dead) and the Grayson family (also not yet dead) are acrobats at a circus. In a tour of Europe, Amazons attack the circus seeking the Helm of Fate, and this timeline plays out the realities of the old one all over again, as the Graysons die and young Dick must step up and become a hero. This isn't great, but it's a solid tale, mostly because of the strong character voice writer J. T. Krul gives Deadman, as an isolated man forced to make emotional connections by a time of crisis. Probably the best comic by Krul I've ever read (this is damning with faint praise). There are three artists for the three issues here, but Mikel Janin, Fabrizio Fiorentino, and Alejandro Giraldo all have a solid, heroic style that works for this tale.

Poor Warlord. I guess. Warlord's kind of a jerk in this story.
from Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager #2 (script by Jimmy Palmiotti, art by Joe Bennett & Tony Shasteen)

The last two stories seem to have little to do with the world of Batman, but I guess they had to go somewhere. Now, Deathstroke the Terminator is one of my least favorite DC villains, but I admire the thought process of writer Jimmy Palmiotti in "Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager": Deathstroke has an eyepatch. Pirate captains have eyepatches. What if Deathstroke was a pirate captain? It's a pretty dumb story, but this is probably the best and most fun story about Deathstroke murdering his way across the seven seas I could possibly imagine. So violent it becomes ridiculous, which I guess was the idea.

Total nonsense, basically.
from Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1 (script by Peter Milligan, art by George Pérez & Scott Koblish)

This disappointing story here was "Secret Seven," where a good story about Shade the Changing Man is seems frustratingly just out of focus. It's like, who cares about these guys? There are flashes of good ideas (this timeline's depressed young Amy Winston is trapped in the adult body of Princess Amethyst of Gemworld) and there are some good layouts and striking imagery from the art team (which includes fifteen pages from George Pérez; like, you get Pérez to draw fifteen pages of this?), but I found it hard to care most of the time, and most of the women had ridiculous outfits, even for superhero comics. The end sort of ties into the story of the Amazons we saw in The World of Flashpoint featuring Wonder Woman, but I have my doubts that this will actually matter to Flashpoint one jot.

Next Week: Okay, but what about Green Lantern? Time to find out what happened to the Emerald Space Cop in The World of Flashpoint!

No comments:

Post a Comment