Review: FLASHPOINT BEYOND #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr., Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Flashpoint Beyond #3: The DC event of 2022 continues! Thomas Wayne’s investigation into the Clockwork Killer goes sideways when he is confronted by a deadly alien invader the world knows as…Project: Superman? What’s happened to the Kryptonian and Krypton in the World of Flashpoint? Will Thomas Wayne do what he has to in order to stop Superman-or has he changed? What are those strange earthquakes now erupting across reality?
Flashpoint Beyond #3 continues the story of Thomas Wayne’s mysterious return to the Flashpoint timeline and in this issue, much of the focus is on Subject 1, the Flashpoint version of Superman. We get a shocking revelation about him as, in this timeline, Kal-El was not the sole Kryptonian infant sent to Earth to save him from Krypton’s destruction. Instead, he was sent as a sleeper agent to prepare the way for an invasion force.
This raises some interesting questions about the nature of the Flashpoint timeline. Originally, it was formed by Barry Allen to prevent his mother’s death at the hands of Reverse-Flash. Barry’s mother’s living wouldn’t have affected Krypton at all. I had thought Doctor Manhattan only interfered with Barry’s attempt to restore the pre-Flashpoint DCU, bringing about the New 52 timeline. Did he also experiment with changes in the formation of the Flashpoint timeline? Or has some other force altered it to be even further away from the regular DCU timeline?
An important theme is reiterated in this issue. The Flashpoint Batman has stated multiple times, “Nothing matters”. This refers to his belief that none of the events currently happening in his timeline have any importance, as he plans to erase the timeline and again reinstate the main DCU timeline. Subject 1, however, maintains the opposite: “Everything matters”.
I’m beginning to suspect that he may be right and that their world is more than just an alternate timeline of the main DCU Earth. So, what else could it be? A new parallel Earth in the DC Multiverse or the wider Omniverse? Or perhaps it’s a Hypertime reality.
Hypertime does seem to play a factor in this story somehow, as we learn that two members of the Time Hunters are hiding out in Hypertime “until the League returns and the Darkness passes… unless we want to risk our own histories being rewritten again”. This bit of dialogue appears to spoil DC’s other summer event series, Dark Crisis. On the other hand, was there ever any doubt about the Justice League’s return or the defeat of the Great Darkness? However, the mention of rewriting their histories does raise the possibility that Dark Crisis’ resolution may come with some retcons to continuity.
There are also a couple of interesting points about their fellow Time Masters. They mention that Rip Hunter is missing, which deepens the overall mystery. I’m sure he’ll be playing a pivotal role as the story advances. They also mention Corky Baxter, who we last saw giving Bruce Wayne ominous warnings about messing with timelines. Corky’s teammates don’t seem too sure about Corky. Jeffrey Smith states, ‘of course, he’s involved. Let’s just hope he doesn’t make things worse”.
Also, the Clockwork Killer has claimed another victim, Reverse-Flash himself. However, considering the number of times Thawne has returned from the dead, I’m sure we’ve not seen the last of him.
Stories like this that delve into the workings of DC’s cosmology fascinate me. This story and Dark Crisis look to be giving some shape to DC’s loosely defined Omniverse. This is great, as this has been an open question since the resolution of Dark Nights Death Metal. And I don’t think we’ve ever really gotten any clear definition of what Hypertime actually is. Johns, Adams, and Sheridan, as well as Joshua Williamson on Dark Crisis, are a group of writers I can trust to properly flesh out the structure of DC’s cosmology for the Infinite Frontier era.
The flipside of that is that there are other readers who hate these kinds of stories. Wrapping their heads around time travel, parallel Earths, and Hypertime can give some a headache. They generally prefer more straightforward stories that don’t delve into the inner workings of DC’s cosmology. Such fans might find this story a chore to work through. However, there appears to be such a straightforward story going on within the Flashpoint timeline, which they may be able to appreciate.
Flashpoint Beyond is the kind of story I adore and with three of DC’s powerhouse writers, Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams, and Tim Sheridan writing it, it’s shaping up to be an amazing companion to Dark Crisis. Plus, it’s got some absolutely brilliant art from Xermanico and Mikel Janin.
If you haven’t been following this story, you really should be.