Review: FLASHPOINT BEYOND #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr., Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Flashpoint Beyond #1: Batman’s hunt for the Clockwork Killer brings him to Europe and face to face with the mad king, Aquaman. On the eve of Aquaman’s sinking of London, Batman infiltrates his stronghold and goes on the warpath for answers. Nothing matters to Batman, whose world is already dead, but if he can track down the Clockwork Killer, Thomas can save his son’s world and put everything back together again.
Flashpoint Beyond #1 continues the story of the Thomas Wayne’s return to the world of Flashpoint. After apparently being killed by Darkseid in Justice League Incarnate, the Flashpoint Batman awoke to find himself back in the timeline created by Barry Allen messing with the timestream.
In the original Flashpoint event, Thomas aided Barry in setting the timestream right again, erasing the Flashpoint timeline. Thomas concluded that someone has interfered with time again, and set out to fix it again by enlisting the Flashpoint version of Barry. However, an Atlantean agent disrupts this plan by killing Barry. So, Thomas sets out to demand answers from Aquaman.
I liked seeing how the writers dovetailed the conflict between Aquaman and Wonder Woman with Thomas’ search for answers. Arthur is holding Diana captive. This allows Thomas to come to an arrangement with the Amazon. He offers to free her in exchange for the loan of her Lasso of Truth to question Aquaman.
I find it interesting that Thomas has taken in Dexter Dent after the death of his father, Harvey. It seems to echo how Bruce did the same for Dick Grayson. Could this boy be destined to be Thomas’ Robin? And the relationship between them seems a twisted mirror of that between Bruce and Dick. Thomas seems mostly disinterested in the boy. And Oswald Cobblepot is surely not going to be the same sort of positive influence on the child that Alfred Pennyworth was for Dick.
I am also intrigued by the story’s epilogue featuring the main DCU versions of Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen. For one thing, it seems to indicate that this storyline featuring Bruce is not happening concurrently with the main storyline with Thomas. Barry is present in the Batcave. This means that this had to have happened before Barry was captured by Darkseid as told in Infinite Crisis. However, Thomas’ storyline takes place after his apparent death in Justice League Incarnate, which came after Infinite Crisis.
Logically, the story thread with Bruce had to have happened some time before the events Thomas is experiencing in this issue. And Bruce’s encounters with Corky Baxter of the Time Masters hint strongly that Batman is engaging in some risky manipulation of the timestream. Could Bruce have been the catalyst for reinstating the Flashpoint timeline, just like Barry was for creating that timeline in the first place?
We saw a hint that Bruce is looking to save the Flashpoint Batman, negating Rip Hunter’s prediction that “Thomas Wayne will die”. My theory is that Thomas did die at the hands of Darkseid. And Bruce deliberately reinstates the Flashpoint timeline to undo Thomas’ death. Presumably, Bruce will then restore the DCU, intending to bring Thomas back to the DCU with him. But it’s likely that this plan will not unfold smoothly.
And I am interested to see how this ties into Dark Crisis. Is Bruce at fault for the events that will unfold in that series? Doctor Manhattan manipulated the timestream so that instead of restoring the pre-Flashpoint DCU, Barry brought about the New 52 DCU. Could some other powerful agent be waiting to do the same when Bruce manipulates the timestream?
Also, the artwork for Flashpoint Beyond #1 is exemplary. Xermanico and Mikel Janin provide some great visuals for their respective parts of the story. And the “History of the DC Timeline” variant cover by Todd Nauck and Matt Herms is absolutely gorgeous. It’s too bad that it’s a 1:50 incentive cover that will likely be expensive and difficult to find.
I love stories like this that deal with alternate times, parallel earths, Hypertime, and other such cosmological concepts. But I do sympathize with those who don’t like that kind of story. Especially after Scott Snyder’s epic saga that spanned from the dawn of the Rebirth era to Dark Nights: Death Metal. Some readers are fatigued from this type of story.
However, I love this type of story, and am enjoying every bit of this story that is being spun in Infinite Crisis, Justice League Incarnate, Death of the Justice League, and here. And I do find the overall story to be much easier to follow than Scott Snyder’s saga.
Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams, and Tim Sheridan are some of DC’s biggest writing talents. And they are weaving a fascinating mystery story that returns to the captivating Flashpoint timeline. I am dying with anticipation to find out what’s going on here and how it ties into the Dark Crisis event.