Review: Flashpoint #1

DC's summer event kicks off with Geoff Johns throwing Barry Allen into an alternate reality where the Flash doesn't exist, creating a perfect recipe for a cliché-rich cake.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Flashpoint 1

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of "How to Bake a Comic Book Cliché."

Today we’ll be whipping up a large Flashpoint #1 cake, which is an easy recipe if you’ve been rehashing these ideas long enough to know them by heart. To start, lets pre-heat our oven with two to four months of unnecessary hype. Don’t turn the oven on all the way – let it go up a few degrees at a time by releasing cryptic one sheets via the Internet. Remember to spray your pan with a healthy amount of wasted issues of another title that build up to the cake, in this case say the last four or five of The Flash.

Okay, we’re ready to start making our cliché-rich comic book desert. First, take a tiny pinch of re-cap and sprinkle it over the pan. This will allow folks who have never read a Flash comic to understand the essence of the dish. Why anybody would read a huge story arc coming from a comic they don’t already know about is a chef’s secret tucked away safely in the vaults of DC Comics. Now, begin to stir in the essential “clichéd different reality," but do it slowly. Start with our hero Barry Allen waking up at his new job, but things are slightly different. Introduce a little more of this by having people around him talk about one of Flash’s old enemies as though he were the town hero. For instance, Captain Cold is now referred to as Citizen Cold.

You’ll need to stir in the rest of the “clichéd different reality” by having the hero try and use his powers only to discover  – *GASP* – he doesn’t have them. Time to add our first round of “Universe Changing Over-Hyped Spice”. In this particular cake, the Flashpoint cake, we can do it by introducing the long dead mother of our hero, the one whose death has always motivated him, as alive. Don’t forget another pinch of hero-wants-it-to-be-true-but-knows-something-is-up. Now we get into the first layer of delicious boring and re-tread ground frosting by bringing in a beloved character that acts completely different from how we know him.

This can be accomplished by layering a new Batman, with a whole new attitude. To make the Flashpoint cake rich with cliché, have Batman attack like a thug and try and kill a bad guy. The second layer of the cake comes when old heroes appear but are completely different. In order to not overload the cake with too much, make sure some of these heroes are recognizable and some almost completely new. It’s time to add the next layer of cliché cake, which is easy to do by putting an obvious emotional weight on the hero. Let’s say, um; let me see what I have in the pantry. Ah, ah, yes, we’ll have Barry Allen’s beloved wife Iris not know him and be in love with somebody else in this new reality.

Now we need to add a top layer of frosting, which will be designed to make readers gasp with shock, but in reality will get a lot of groans. We do this by injecting in two major heroes who are villains in this new world. The exciting flavorless twist is Wonder Woman and Aquaman are both bad guys fighting over who will rule the world. Wonder Woman has taken the UK and Aquaman has sunk Western Europe. The new re-imagined heroes will try to join with the re-imagined Batman to stop Aquaman and Wonder Woman, but to no avail. This false set of dramatic circumstances will give your Flashpoint cake a nice and hollow taste to it.

Finally, we need all the trimmings. The first will be the crunchy topping, which arrives in the form of the big “dun dun dunnnnnn” ending in which we discover this reality’s Batman is actually Thomas Wayne who watched his wife and son (Bruce) murdered. To really get the full clichéd and wasteful sense of this cake, you’ll need the 24 garnishes in the form of all the unnecessary side issues DC wants you to buy. Now you have the perfect Flashpoint event series unnecessary and clichéd plus boring cake. Bon appetit!!

At least the art from Andy Kubert kicked ass, I guess that’s something.