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Review: Flashpoint Reverse-Flash #1

Posted by anthony r on July 4th, 2011
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flashpoint-reverse-flash-1.jpgYou got me, Flashpoint Reverse-Flash #1. The story is pretty simple here, and I’m told that it’s a re-iteration of a bunch of stories already published in the flash comics that I haven’t been reading. We get to watch Reverse-Flash act like a real jerk about not being just normal Flash. Go back in time to try to correct this in some of the weirdest ways. Learn his “Flash facts” which, when grouped together, one a result of the mechanics of their universe and the other just reverse-flash’s ineptitude, are quite depressing — C’mon Reverse-Flash, you can’t say that your inability to kill a human woman before the flash can stop you is up there with a law of reality, that’s just lazy. And I address this to the Reverse-Flash because this comic feels almost as If he wrote it himself. “The general consensus is that by puberty, many personal traits are set-and are often difficult to change later in life” may be the most sinister line in the comic.

But, there’s something absolutely jaw-dropping about the experience of this comic, it’s difficult to try to imagine what was going on in anyone’s mind while working on it. Except maybe the letterer, I can imagine him getting this assignment and thinking, “wait, what the hell is this?” and then lettering it or whatever and turning it in to his boss. The art is inspiring in a way, it’s unclear who Joel Gomez is taking his cues from in contemporary superhero comics. Darwyn Cooke, maybe? And it teeters from almost terrible to absolutely beautiful. “Absolutely beautiful” is one of the phrases that pop into my head while I flip through this thing. It’s absolutely beautiful that something this… raw (?) was published by DC Comics in 2011. The writing seems so skeletal, as if there were a bunch of basic ideas for what the script would eventually say that turned into the actual script.

The art is off the wall, falling in and out of itself and the tropes around it. And the ending is like a bullet in the comic’s head. Maybe it was supposed to be three issues like the cover misprint says, and it was cut down to this one issue, the other two and any closure blinked out of existence without care.

reverse-flash-jerk.jpgThis must be the case, because this self contained story serves almost no purpose (another part of its beauty). It doesn’t really explain anything new about Reverse-Flash (we don’t even get his real name). It doesn’t really explain Flashpoint or what Flashpoint is (is it the red lightning stuff around the panels partway through?), and it doesn’t really tell a complete story (the climax seems to be on the very last page with none of the repercussions pictured). But still it somehow feels like a complete package, it’s a perfect object — from the name itself right down to the misprinted “issue one of three,” to the baby hand in place of reverse flash’s normal hand on the cover.

This thing is itself in a way that no other superhero comic comes close to, it’s as if a couple people with the restraint of 7th graders put together a comic without really stopping to consider most of their decisions, and when the teacher asked them “is this the best you could do?” they grinned back at him/her a resounding “Yes!” Meanwhile, the teacher didn’t even bother to read it, and published it somehow through DC. This issue seems to come together without a second thought from any of the producers. The experience of reading something like this in the middle of an event like Flashpoint — full of ideas half thought out — and then half thought out again by multiple levels of editorial mandates to make Deathstroke a pirate, is irreplicable.

If I gave things letter grades or put them on a scale of one to ten this thing would get a “not applicable.”

Anthony R is a regular contributor for YouBentMyWookie.com. You can find more of his writing, art and music over at his blog anthonyrodriquez.wordpress.com


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