14 December 2016

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part LV: The World of Flashpoint featuring Wonder Woman

My three days of Doctor Who reviews comes to an end with the best Fourth Doctor Adventure so far this series, Gallery of Ghouls.

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

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Tony Bedard, James Robinson
Pencillers: Agustin Padilla, Scott Clark, Vicente Cifuentes, Ardian Syaf, Eddie Nunez, Gianluca Gugliotta, Christian Duce, Javi Fernandez
Inkers: Jose Aviles, Dave Beaty, Vicente Cifuentes, Diana Egea, Don Ho, Gianluca Gugliotta, Walden Wong, Javi Fernandez
Colorists: Nei Ruffino, Val Staples, Andrew Dalhouse, Kyle Ritter, The Hories
Letterers: Travis Lanham, Jared K. Fletcher, Dave Sharpe, John J. Hill

I'm not sure where I got my reading order for the Flashpoint collections from, but so far, it seems to make sense to read the Wonder Woman World of Flashpoint collection first. The first two stories in here, "Wonder Woman and the Furies" and "Emperor Aquaman," lay out the status quo of this new timeline we're suddenly in, from different perspectives. The Wonder Woman tale spans the history of the Flashpoint universe, showing us Princess Diana first encounter with Man's World, which results in an engagement to Aquaman. Reactionary elements in both the Amazon and Atlantean societies think merging the cultures is a Very Bad Idea, and manipulate events to kick off a war that wrecks much of the Earth, with Great Britain becoming an Amazon fortress and much of Europe devastated by an Atlantean geo-weapon.

That's Angela Merkel, right? It always amuses me when actual heads of state turn up in superhero comics. Though, in one of the stories in The World of Flashpoint featuring Superman, Germany is represented by an actual Nazi, so how does that track with this?
from Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1 (script by Tony Bedard, art by Ardian Syaf & Vicente Cifuentes)

As a story, to be honest, the Wonder Woman one doesn't have a whole lot to recommend it, from either a writing or artistic perspective; the writing moves too quickly for us to get attached to this version of Diana, and the art is weird, either plasticky under one illustrator, or kind of flat under another. But the story's real purpose seems to be exposition: read this, and you'll know the background for every subsequent World of Flashpoint tale. As a result, "Emperor Aquaman" seems to have more room to breathe, giving more personal focus to Arthur Curry in this mad world, showing his youth (he spent much less time on the surface world than his Prime equivalent, to his morality's detriment) and how the attacks detailed in the Wonder Woman tale affected him on a personal level. It's not particularly amazing, but it works.

I'm not sure what I like less, plastic-face on the left, or giant-eye on the right.
from Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1 (script by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, art by Scott Clark & Dave Beaty) and #2 (script by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, art by Agustin Padilla & Jose Aviles)

If there's anything to like about these tales so far, it's how they all interlock to create a larger tapestry. "Lois Lane and the Resistance" shows us the backstory of some key events of "Wonder Woman and the Furies": like, we learn how come Lois is broadcasting a distress signal to the world from Great Britain, and how Diana figures out that her aunt has set her up. Other than that and some once again goofy art (the outfits Eddie Nunez puts Lois into are ridiculous, though I thought the issue illustrated by Christian Duce showed some real design sense) and a team up between Etrigan the Demon and Grifter, there's not much going on here.

At first I was gonna scan some of the art I didn't like, but then I was like, 'c'mon, self, accentuate the positive.' Looking at it again, I think it's the inking that really makes it work: Walden Wong is pretty reliable.
from Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #3 (script by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, art by Christian Duce & Walden Wong)

The book closes out with "The Outsider," about an asshole criminal from India. This story isn't very strongly linked to the other three and probably could have gone in a different volume. James Robinson has written some good magnificent bastards before, but the Outsider isn't one of them: there's little to care about here, and fewer familiar characters and concepts from the DC universe appear, either. I found this one sort of joyless and grim in an uninvolving way.

Next Week: Okay, but what about Superman? Time to find out what happened to the Man of Steel in The World of Flashpoint!

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