Everything Changes in a Flash

When it was first announced, Flashpoint sounded like a fun diversion: The Flash travels to an alternate reality where Batman runs a casino, Wonder Woman rules Europe with an iron tiara, Aquaman scowls, and Superman is missing or nonexistent. After the status quo-upsetting Blackest Night and Brightest Day events, a What If?-esque event might have been a welcome palate cleanser before things returned to normal again. But then DC announced it was pressing a company-wide reset button and relaunching every series with issue #1, complete with new origins and a wiping away of the messier (and non-new-reader-friendly) continuities. You might say it caused a stir. What, then, did this mean for Flashpoint?

As it turns out, DC snuck Flashpoint's purpose under the radar, a well-planned distraction of an event, bright and flash-y, but full of subterfuge for the superhero stories it contained. Flashpoint actually ushers the old world into what DC has christened The New 52. Of course it’s written by Geoff Johns, a guru when it comes to expanding mythos and breathing new life into exhausted characters. He tries his best here to invigorate B-lister Cyborg, and his success rate depends on the reader’s patience for a hero whose costume has all the design of a refrigerator and the subtlety of a jet turbine. What really works is the main Batman plot, where The Flash enlists a very different Dark Knight to help him solve the grand mystery of this topsy-turvy world. Batman’s Flashpoint identity is a legitimate shock, and it leads to an even more surprising emotional moment for the hero in the conclusion (a spot often reserved for Superman).

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