An uneven return to a completed event

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As for the continuation of specific storylines and universes, the Flashpoint universe doesn’t necessarily seem like one that would require a revisit, but that’s what makes it stand out flash point beyond #1 interesting. Somehow, the Flashpoint world is restored with its Batman, Thomas Wayne, stuck in doomed reality and wondering why and, perhaps more importantly, who is behind it all. It’s this search for answers that’s central to the story, and while it’s an interesting way to revisit and revisit some of the original’s threads flash point hasn’t quite cleaned up, this subject gets a little lost in its own head with subpar pacing, a reliance on internal monologues, and an enigmatic twist at the end that hints at how flash pointthis is a story that will have more questions than answers.

The edition, written by Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams and Tim Sheridan, tells readers most of its story from the mind of Thomas Wayne. Through a lengthy inner monologue, we get a very condensed overview of his miserable life flash point, and some additional events, namely that he tried to turn this world’s Barry Allen into The Flash in order to change things and thus restore a “better” world, only for it to fail because Barry Allen was killed and Aquaman is behind it . From there, readers see that Thomas, while as cold and murderous as ever, is somehow also desperate to get to the bottom of things so he can fix them. This self-imposed mission takes him into the conflict between Aquaman and Wonder Woman before somehow taking the whole story on his own to arrive at a more sobering truth: whoever is really at play here (i.e. the Clockwork Killer) shines knowing exactly what Thomas’ plans are and uses the whole scenario to trick him. All of this before we land in the “real” world and realize that our Batman is up to something that could end up being connected to anything.

Taken as a whole, it’s compelling. The authors put together enough little bits and breadcrumbs to make the reader wonder what exactly is going on and where things are going. Thomas Wayne’s characterization is particularly well done, as you not only perceive his coldness, but also his despair. This is a man who is deeply angry, but deeply angry with a purpose, to the point where all he cares about is fixing the reality that serves him best. There’s an honesty in the approach to the character that’s really well done. It’s just very stuck, unfortunately, because it’s too much in the mind of this character. There is much to be said on this subject rather than shown. That’s not to say that the art in the issue – mainly by Xermanico, but also by Mikel Janin – is missing in any way. Quite the contrary, the art here tells a story just as chilling as the words on the page. It’s just that the words aren’t that necessary. The result, then, is a visual narrative and a text narrative that clash when they should work together, particularly when we get to the “real” world twist and the suggestion that something our Batman is doing is affecting the Flashpoint world.

In total, flash point beyond #1 is interesting. While it’s not necessarily a story that needs to be revisited or its mysteries deepened, there’s a solid hook that pulls the reader in, and the questions the issue raises are intriguing in their own right. Story-wise it’s compelling enough, although over-reliance on somewhat bloated inner monologues makes the subject matter feel more like an extended synopsis and a fair bit of unnecessary filler before it gets to the good part. It’s not bad, but it’s also not as great as it could be, especially considering the quality of the art is already top-notch.

Published by DC comics

on May 3, 2022

Written by Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams and Tim Sheridan

art of Xermanico and Mikel Janin

colors after Romulo Fajardo Jr and Jordie Bellaire

letters from Rob Leigh

cover through Mitch Gerads

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