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The Flashpoint Paradox

flashpointparadoxbrdI’ve kept up with all of the DC animated features since this line started back in 2007 or so with the Doomsday one, loosely based on the Death of Superman story from 1992. And while I’ve enjoyed certain ones more than others (New Frontier and Under the Red Hood immediately come to mind)…I have to say that after first viewing, Flashpoint Paradox is in that upper level.

While I own all 6 paperbacks collecting the entirety of the Flashpoint ‘event’ from 2011, I’ve only yet actually read the original mini-series and the Batman tie-in mini-series. So while hardly immersive, I’m not unfamiliar with Flashpoint in general. And perhaps it’s partially that I’m not overly steeped in knowledge of the entire event that helped me to enjoy this, as from what I recall of the comics, this is quite a good adaptation.

My primary “issues” with this film are story-wise, and the same I had with the comics–specifically the way things play out with Barry’s powers, and that against “usual” the ending is–we as viewers/readers are aware–not the actual ending. The comics’ ending kicked off the New 52, and I believe this film leads into New 52-era followups, leaving stuff based on the “old” DC Universe behind (at least for awhile?).

For the most part I had no problems with the visuals…as an animated features this worked very well for me. There wasn’t really much of anything jarring or offputting to me about the animation itself. Some of the character designs were a bit “off” from what I’d’ve expected…but in and of themselves, nothing bad.

flashpointstack

As said, I’ve only (as of this typing) read the “core” Flashpoint comics and the Batman mini…so the allusion to that actually made sense to me. Other stuff–particularly the cameos–were fine with me, because I don’t know the comics’ stories, so for me, there’s nothing of concern missing. And for what I recall of the comics (and granted, it’s been a couple years now), there’s more context to things given in this film than was in the core Flashpoint mini-series, making this a better package in a way.

The voice cast was good…I sorta noticed the familiarity to Lois Lane’s voice, somehow missed it in Superman, and while no Kevin Conroy, Kevin McKidd pulled off a very good Batman. I’m not particularly “set” on any particular Flash voice, to say nothing of being pretty sure the voice I’m familiar with from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited was for Wally, not Barry.

Just as Justice League: The New Frontier led me to buy and read the source material, The Flashpoint Paradox has led me to pull the source material from my shelf and finally make the time to actually read it.

flashpointcollection

I bought this for the “promo”/”first week pricing” special at Target…probably the cheapest blu-ray/dvd/digital combo I’ve found for any of these films; and for the $13.99 this was quite worthwhile for the film alone, and I anticipate multiple re-watchings.

The bonus materials are so-so, and rather ‘standard” at this point. Several episodes of past DC animated series, featurette(s) on the focal character/story of the film, a lengthy promo/preview/featurette on an upcoming film, plus the usual stuff–commentary, digital comic that I can’t even read on the tv screen, etc–that I typically ignore.

So all in all…I definitely recommend seeing this…but unless you really care about extras, or the HD (which I’ve never noticed difference between blu-ray/dvd with) you’re probably just as well getting the DVD. And unless you’re in a hurry to see this…it’s not unfathomable to expect that by the time the next animated feature comes out, this one’ll be around the $9.99 price point at your local Target/Walmart type stores. And if this is available in a nearby Redbox kiosk, it seems quite worth an evening’s rental!

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Flashpoint #5 [Review]

Flashpoint part 5 of 5

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: Andy Kubert
Inkers: Sandra Hope and Jesse Delperdang
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Cover: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, Alex Sinclair
Asst. Editor: Kate Stewart
Assoc. Editor: Rex Ogle
Executive Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics

Flashpoint #5 was a rather quick read for me. For now, not much in the way of emotional investment: I read #1 a few months back, but that was the last I’d read. I picked this issue up solely for the promise of it “explaining” the transition to the New 52. In and of itself in that regard…I probably could have done just as well to not bother buying this.

The story moved pretty fast, and was mostly this epic final battle between Barry and Thawne (Flash and Reverse-Flash). Thawne had screwed with Time–killing Barry’s mother–and Barry had tried to set things right, resulting in a the screwed-up “present” of the Flashpoint universe. When Barry realizes what he has to do to TRULY put things right (at great personal cost), he gives it a shot–and seems to succeed. Of course, what he doesn’t know is that there are minor differences–while some things are as they should be, others are drastically different…as will be discovered throughout the New 52.

That the story feels like primarily one huge fight scene, an ambiguous “emotional moment” with Barry and his mother, followed by an ambiguous epilogue scene doesn’t give it much to go on in and of itself as a single issue. That hurt my enjoyment of it–and my rating of it–but I’m sure it’s got much more resonance with someone who has read the entire series.

The art on this book looks great overall, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, as with the writing, most nuances were lost on me at this point, not having read issues 2-4 nor any of the tie-ins. I do intend to read the full story when the collected volume comes out, and perhaps the tie-ins as well. I just wasn’t going to follow this entire event as single issues with numerous issues to buy at full price every single week for months. (I also hadn’t initially realized the significance of this particular event until things were underway, or I MIGHT have considered otherwise).

My core quibble with the art is “the” 2-page spread that’s supposed to explain things: there’s reference to 3 timelines, though I feel like I saw 4…not sure which was doubled, or if there were 3 timelines PLUS the Flashpoint line (which may be, but not having read the core of Flashpoint, I can’t quite tell visually).

If one were to read this issue “in a vacuum,” that is, without knowing about the New 52 and such, the ending would seem on the one hand to be pretty much a non-issue: Time gets screwed up and put back, Barry remembers, and the main thing beyond that is to impact Batman. on the other hand, it would seem to be rather open: with multiple timelines instead of just changing one line back to another, there seems to be a new timeline formed, ripe for exploration.

Unfortunately, I must leave it to others for now to determine if this was a good ending to Flashpoint as a whole. As an ending to the DC Universe I’ve spent the last 23 years with, it’s not a horrible ending, but it’s almost unneeded. Probably the main thing for me about having this issue is to have it–to be in on the end and the beginning this week, having also grabbed Justice League #1.

If you followed Flashpoint, obviously this’d be an issue to get. If you’re just jumping into things for the relaunch, you’d be just as well-served to find the image of “the” spread online rather than buy this issue out of context.

Story: 5/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 6/10

Flashpoint #1 [Review]

Flashpoint Chapter One of Five

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Andy Kubert
Inker: Sandra Hope
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Cover: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope & Alex Sinclair
Editors: Adam Schlagman & Rex Ogle
Executive Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics

Narration opens the issue–we don’t know who it is, initially–telling us of Barry and having been inspired by him. Then Barry’s woken up in the forensics lab, but finds himself confused by the world around him–something’s not right. Racing out, he finds the ring with his costume is missing…a surprise that sends him tripping down a flight of stairs to meet his mom. The scene shifts to Batman in Gotham has he hunts information on the Joker, and is confronted by Cyborg. Cyborg and the heroic community need Batman’s help. Following plenty of exposition to ideally psyche one up for the 15+ mini-series and specials attached to this event, we find Barry later entering the Batcave from an un-tended-to Wayne Manor, to voice the “big shock” of this issue and set some of the tone for what’s to come. Continue reading

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