Flashpoint is a short “event” in DC comics that they’re using to reboot the entire universe. What annoys me most about the whole thing is the renumbering all the titles to start back at 1. Action and Detective were closing in on 1000. I’d been looking forward to that since I was a kid back in the 1970s. I’m not as upset about rebooting the characters because that happens to some extent as time passes, as new writers and artists get the books and major reboots have happened before.
Many Spoilers Ahead
The Flashpoint “event” has been a 5 issue mini-series with a bunch of related mini-series showing many of the characters in an alternate universe accidentally created by the Flash as he tried to stop his arch-nemesis, the original Reverse Flash, aka Professor Zoom, aka, Eobard Thawne The side-mini-series are all perfectly good throw-away stories that would have made great “Elseworlds” stories. As they stand they’re mostly rushed and you find yourself wondering what the point of them is, are they supposed to have some relevance in the universe that is about to be birthed or are they just a universe that never happened? In the last few years, DC has gone through major event after major event, the biggest of which were 52 and the Blackest Night series.
52 was ok and supposedly ended with 52 alternate universes where there had been only one, a compromise ending that goes back toward the “infinite” universes that DC had before the Crisis on Infinite Earths back in the 80s. After the year-long series of weekly comics and tons of tie-ins ended, we had a the 52 alternate universes and DC did exactly nothing with them. The Blackest Night series was similar, there was a huge series, it supposedly changed a ton about the DC universe and when it ended DC immediately said “throw it all in the dustbin, we’re starting Flashpoint and that’s a hard reboot.” 52 and Blackest Night had been “soft” reboots, same core universe at the end, but some big things had changed. Flashpoint is a “hard” reboot like Crisis was, at the end, all DC’s characters start over, meet again for the first time, discover their own powers, etc…
Flashpoint was really pretty disappointing, the whole thing really takes place in the final issue with everything up to it being mostly pointless preamble. Sure, they made for some fun Elseworld stories as I mentioned above, but little of it mattered to the main storyline, much of it felt like filler. Some of it seemed to be driving home points as if to say “don’t worry, we remember what makes these characters special and we won’t ditch it”, like Superman being who he is because of the Kents, but the core Flashpoint plot points seemed to be how to remove a time traveler from future stories and how to find a plausible way to change history.
They kill off Thawne in a way that implies he’s completely gone, but who knows if they’ll stick to that. The reboot of history is sufficient to explain some changes, but not the heroes appearing in different orders or at different ages. They’d have needed something much bigger for that. The worst part of the end of Flashpoint is the 2 page splash page near the end where Barry is “restoring” the timeline. A character we have never seen before appears and mutters some cryptic prophecy crap about there being three timelines that have to be melded back into one and then we don’t hear about it again, like it was ripped from a completely different comic. This could be something about melding the Wildstorm universe and maybe the Milestone universe into the main DC universe, but it is hard to say. After 52 restored the alternate universes, I eagerly awaited DC doing something with it. The line “the timelines must become one again” on this splash page makes me worry that they never will. It is a sloppy page with 6 groupings of heroes that somehow represent the 3 timelines? Maybe? Or perhaps it is the result of yet another “world changing event” that’s the result of Didio wanting things to be like when he was a kid and rushing things through to get to that point.
Killing off Barry Allen in 1985 and leaving him dead was one of the best things DC ever did. Bringing him back is a failure. I’m hoping it isn’t the first in a long line of failures, I want this relaunch to succeed, but so far I’m not impressed.