Are you unhappy with the New 52 relaunch DC did this past fall? Blame the Flash. Last year’s Flashpoint crossover set up the new continuity and it was all the scarlet speedster’s fault.
As critical as I can be about Geoff Johns, this was an awesome story. A lot of the Flash’s life is tied to the death of his mother and the subsequent framing of his father. This led Barry Allen to pursue a career in criminal investigation to prove his dad’s innocence, and we all remember how he got zapped by lightning in the police lab one night.
Flash has a seemingly fool-proof plan to make everything in his life great; he will go back in time (since, you know, he can run through the timestream) and save his mother. Unfortunately, Flash messes up big time. Flash shows up in a new war-torn reality where there is no Justice League, and there is a looming Atlanteans/Amazons war. Allied with the Batman of this world–Thomas Wayne, since in this it was only Bruce’s father who survived–Flash attempts to fix the continuity. He battles with his arch-enemy Professor Zoom, who is a bit of a red herring as to why everything has happened. The villain reveals that everything was Flash’s doing, which causes our hero to go back in time and stop himself. This causes everything to be reset and now we have the New 52.
What I liked best about this was the whole Thomas Wayne as Batman subplot with him being this super vengeful hero, but I guess it isn’t to be. The ending is really touching, as Flash returns to the New 52 verse which is the new normal. He shares a letter with Batman from his father. Awe…
One of the most powerful super hero comics I’ve read over the last few Booster Gold #5. Our time travelling hero goes back in time to the events of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, and no matter what Booster tries he can’t save Batgirl. So why is this a great story?
It’s because this is the moment where Booster Gold becomes a serious hero. He won’t accept failure and keeps going back in time to the moment where the Joker fires a crippling bullet through Batgirl’s spine. Ultimately Booster finds out that this event has to happen and that it’s an important part of the history of the universe. He must accept that there is nothing that he can do to fix this.
If you’ve read The Killing Joke, you know that the Joker taking pictures of the original event is an important part of the original story. A later issue of Booster Gold makes reference to his attempt to change history, as Batman (who has possession of the photos) reveals that he knows that Booster attempted to save Batgirl. Batman finally respects Booster.
Unfortunately, the events of Flashpoint and the New 52 rendered this all irrelevant, but its one hell of a story.
I’ll admit that I really didn’t follow DC’s Flashpoint event this summer. But I did follow how it effected Booster Gold, who at the time was my favorite of DC’s ongoing series. In the “Turbulence” arc, artist/writer Dan Jurgens concludes the series by having Booster try to survive living in the Flashpoint reality, where its only the Flash, Skeets (his robot sidekick) and himself who know that the timestream is messed up.
Booster is being hunted by the United States military, as they assume he’s just another super-powered being who is part of the Atlantean/Amazon war. They’ve dispatched General Nathaniel Adam after him. In DC proper, Adam is super hero Captain Atom. But in the Flashpoint reality, he’s a soldier who happens to be “piloting” a brainwashed Doomsday–the monster who killed Superman!
So Booster, and a new found ally in Alexandra Gianopoulos, are literally fighting for their lives, and trying to stop Doomsday (who goes from Adam’s control from time to time) from killing and destroying the country. Obviously, because Booster is awesome, they save the day.
Jurgens finishes up the story in a Newhart-esque fashion, with a battered Booster returning to his reality having no idea what had just happened, thinking it was a dream and setting up the new Justice League International series. A fitting end to an awesome comics series!
I stopped by the local comic book store on Wednesday to see if there was a new issue of Namor out this week, which there wasn’t. The store was pretty busy with lots of people excited about Flashpoint and the new Justice League book, both of which I was planning on passing on.
When I went to the counter to make my purchase (an issue of Booster Gold I had skipped), the dude behind the counter seemed to be a little freaked out that I wasn’t interested in the hullabaloo of the new DC.
“Well it’s written by Geoff Johns!”
“I’m not that big of a fan of his.”
He looked at me like I was an alien.
“But everything starts from here!”
“Eh…I think I’ll wait.”
He gave up and finished the transaction. So why don’t I seem to care?
I don’t know. The whole things just turns me off for some reason. I’m a big fan of not changing things for the sakes of changing things. And with a lot of what I read online about it makes me hesitant to jump on board.
Mike Sterling had this to say on Justice League, which didn’t make it sound so hot.:
About the Justice League itself…well, yeah, as our intro to this new DC Universe continuity, it’s a little underwhelming. Superheroes meet, they fight, we get teased with the threat of Darkseid, oh hey there’s Superman, and suddenly “to be continued.” All very by-the-numbers, with nothing to intrigue or inspire the imagination. I mean, it looks okay, with Jim Lee turning in a respectable art job on this issue, even if Superman’s new costume continues to appear unnecessarily rejiggered. And I’m calling “no way” on Batman being able to yank Green Lantern’s ring off his hand without GL noticing. I mean, come on!
Comics Alliance’s Chris Sims is a bit more scathing in his review:
Ha! No, but the short version is that this comic is just flat-out not very good. And the thing is, it should be. A comic book with this much riding on it, this much promotion, the two creators who are meant to be the top guys in the industry working with the genuinely exciting premise of doing a bold new unshackled story of some of the greatest fictional characters ever? There’s no reason it shouldn’t be amazing. And yet, what we have here is, as Curt Franklin put it, a comic that reads like it came with an action figure. It’s not that there aren’t good parts to it, but it’s a C- book at best, and as an introduction to the New DC Universe, that doesn’t cut it.
So will I read this? probably at some point. I do like Jim Lee’s artwork a lot, so that is enough for me to want to look at Justice League. And Flashpoint will have some sort of historic impact, and it might be interesting to look at it and see if it holds up. But these aren’t books that I’m outwardly seeking. These are more of a borrow from the library kind of thing then an add to the collection.
So am I mad at DC? No, not at all. It’s a smart business move. They’re doing an all-in wager on building/rebuilding their audience which is totally respectable. While I might not believe that a whole creative shift was the way to go, I do think them jumping head first into digital distribution is the way to go to advance the medium.
The big test if this brand new vision for DC for me personally comes next week. How convenient is it that the three titles that I’m looking forward to all come out at the same time? Hawk and Dove is mostly for my love of Rob Liefeld books. Justice League International gets a buy the characters in it.
Green Arrow is a more bittersweet purchase for me. I’ve really taken a liking to the character since he came back in the Kevin Smith and Phil Hester series in the early 2000s. His supporting characters are just so dynamic, with Black Canary as his life partner/companion, Arsenal and Connor as the sons he should have spent more time with, and Mia being his redemption. The book is also drawn by Dan Jurgens, who really is one of my favorite–and underrated–artists in comics. Both of these are reasons to get excited. But for now, I’m not sure if this is the Green Arrow for me. It’s kind of like if you’re a big fan of Nightcrawler, but there is so much that is different about the Ultimate version that it does nothing for you.
So who knows how this is all going to pan out. I’ll worry about that later.