21 December 2016

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

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

Writers: Scott Snyder & Lowell Francis, Rex Ogle, Dan Jurgens, Mike Carlin
Artists: Gene Ha, Eduardo Francisco, Paulo Siqueira, Roland Paris, Dan Jurgens, Rick Leonardi, Ig Guara, Norm Rapmund, Ruy José, Don Ho, Rags Morales, Rick Bryant
Colorists: Art Lyon, Stefani Renee, Nei Ruffino
Letterers: Rob Leigh, Travis Lanham, Carlos M. Mangual, Dave Sharpe

The way The World of Flashpoint slots together continues to be pretty neat. "Project Superman" starts many years back, with a soldier volunteering to undergo a process to have alien DNA grafted into his system-- we eventually find out this DNA comes from Doomsday. The process turns him into a monster called Subject Zero, but he sees everyone else as a monster, in a pretty horrifying dissonance. General Lane gives up on him when Kal-El's rocket crashlands in Metropolis, and the military begins working with "Subject One" instead, not knowing that Project Zero is covertly influencing him. Eventually things go nuts, and young Kal has no idea what to do or who to trust. The story then dovetails into where "Lois Lane and the Resistance" from the Wonder Woman volume ended, as Subject One seeks out Lois, who showed him some of the only affection he's even known. Things go downhill pretty quickly when Subject Zero shows up again, however. It's probably the best story in this volume, a nice dark horror tale, thanks especially to Gene Ha: unlike most stories in these volumes, this one has one artist all the way through, and he's a very good one to boot.

Lois Lane is a badass at any age in any timeline. Also the "Subject One" version of Kal-El is a weird mixture of creepy and cute.
from Flashpoint: Project Superman #2 (plot by Scott Snyder, co-plot & script by Lowell Francis, art by Gene Ha)

Next comes "The World of Flashpoint," which despite its broad title, is as focused as any of the other tales in this volume, with a tale of Traci Thirteen, the young Homo magi. In the usual DC reality she's a sometime Superman ally and Blue Beetle romantic interest. Here, half her family is killed thanks to the Atlantean geo-weapon from last volume, and her dad decides to nuke half the world to save the other half. Traci goes on a quest to stop him, which lets her encounter a number of random players from the world of Flashpoint like Red Tornado, Natasha Irons, Beast Boy, Jason Todd, and best of all, a Zen bartender Guy Gardner. The story itself is pretty so-so, but like many of these World of Flashpoint tales, it's pleasing for how it build the universe. I'll be curious if its events actually play into the main Flashpoint narrative or not.

Guy Gardner being a temperant Buddhist is a good, if obvious, joke, but I like that even under such conditions, he's still kind of a sleaze.
from Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint #2 (script by Rex Ogle, art by Eduardo Francisco)

A fragment of the normal universe comes crashing into the Flashpoint one with a four-issue Booster Gold story titled "Turbulence." I haven't read the Booster Gold ongoing (yet), so maybe this would have had more significance if I had. I do like Booster and Skeets, though I think Booster is at his best with more characters to bounce off-- here he gets advice from Skeets, meets a hot chick, and gets in lots and lots of fights. Dan Jurgens is a solid writer and penciller, and this is a decent tale. I seem to remember the post-Flashpoint universe will have both this Booster and its own Booster, and I have read the Booster Gold Convergence tie-in, which comes after this. Booster's story is a complicated one, but I don't yet see how it all fits together; hopefully I do someday. It does slot into The World of Flashpoint well; in "Project Superman" we saw that General Lane was replaced by General Nathaniel Adam (the man who in the DCU would be Captain Atom); here, General Adam uses mind control to make Doomsday into a weapon for the U.S. military. Everything fit together quite nicely.

Booster Gold. What a guy!
from Booster Gold vol. 2 #45 (script by Dan Jurgens, art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund)

The book ends with a one-issue tale (all the other stories have been three or four) called "The Canterbury Cricket," about an asshole transformed into a giant cricket by a relic of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I mean, okay. At one issue, the story only has enough time to give his backstory, not enough to do anything interesting with him. His pompous Britishness should be funny, but Mike Carlin doesn't make the jokes land. Why have a whole story to give backstory about a character who only appears in The World of Flashpoint? Nothing here is interesting enough to merit it. The story is also oddly placed; it leads straight into "Lois Lane and the Resistance," showing how the Resistance ended up where it was when Lois encountered them. It's really weird that it wasn't collected with that in the Wonder Woman volume.

Okay, if you say so.
from Flashpoint: Canterbury Cricket #1 (script by Mike Carlin, art by Rags Morales)

On the whole, this was a stronger volume than the Wonder Woman one; let's hope the next one continues the trend.

Next Week: Okay, but what about Batman? Time to find out what happened to the Dark Knight in The World of Flashpoint!

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