"We can't ever give up hope. It's not what we do."- Bart Allen
Previously in the DCU
Each of our main characters (or at least most of them) learned many lessons in power, from mentors both sought after and unexpected.
The main point of this week is (no surprises here) the funeral for Bart Allen in Keystone City. Factories are closed, most people are at home or, if desperately in need of companionship, visiting local bars. Meanwhile, a bevy of heroes gather to say goodbye to one of their own. The Teen Titans are there, the JSA, Jimmy Olsen, Nightwing. Batman watches form the cave, while Jason Todd and Donna Troy are in the background, and so are Pied Piper and Trickster, in disguise, of course.
Almost everyone important to Bart has a chance to say something, whether its from the fatherly point of view of Jay Garrick, the mentor view of Cyborg, the vengeance-ridden angst of Wonder Girl or, ultimately, the friendship and honor that comes from Robin. Each person has a moment of breakdown, a moment of fond recollection and, most of all, a chance to say goodbye. Robin, in turn, closes his moment to speak with a video made by Bart himself, who knows that, yes, at some point, he will die, but he hopes he does it with honor, living up to the legacy that is The Flash and Keystone City.
Jason, Donna and the Monitor leave soon after. While Jason wants to be more proactive, the Monitor argues for the need to find ray Palmer, a quest that will take them on a tour of the 52 worlds very, very soon.
Piper and Trickster make their exit, too, fearing the violence that Wonder girl has promised upon Bart's killers. However, they only make it to the parking lot, where they're brought down by Multiplex and Deadshot before they can make good on their escape.
Monarch takes the Forerunner to his base of operations, where he has gathered an army of incredible size to battle the Monitors and conquer all. A reluctant Forerunner doesn't want to be involved, but is convince when she witnesses the death of her entire race at the hands of a mysterious female who remains off-panel… for now.
Finally, Holly Robinson hangs out with Athena, learning the ins and outs of what could become her new home. While there, she also learns a little something about the other residents there, one in particular, who's escaping from some man troubles. This young blonde lady who used to go by the name of Harley Quinn found here way to the women's shelter and the safety it provides, much to the surprise of Holly.
While this week we're taking a break from this segment, you may be interested to read an article by Brian published earlier this week on CBR, DC Flashback: The Flash right here on CBR.
JE: I'll start this week, since I'm all caught up and I don't have to road trip (yay!) I'm going to try and keep it short and sweet due to both of us being overworked.
BE: That'll work.
JE: Bart's Funeral. No real surprises here, I thought. I will say that, with having a weekly comic around, we did get almost instant gratification here. No waiting a month for the fallout to happen. Gives a real sense of time for the whole of the DCU.
BE: I'm actually quite happy at the lead in. Establishing the love that Keystone has for the Flash was always a unique point of view for comics (though not dissimilar to the Starman/Opal City connection) and it's good that it's played up here. And you are absolutely right, these weeklies seem like an almost essential component to DC now. It's almost like having a valve where writers can bleed off global events and give the whole community a real sense of continuity that is critical in a shared world like this.
JE: My point exactly. One other thing: Deadshot and Multiplex? Hired out, or is Multiplex the newest member of the Secret Six? I thought it was supposed to be Harley Quinn.
BE: You know that the sixth member never sticks around. Poor Harley probably went running back to Mr. J. On the other hand, I would hope that the Secret Six had better taste than to pick up Multiplex.
JE: Which leads me to Harley's appearance this issue. That was a nice surprise, for both the reader and for Holly. I actually laughed pretty hard when it all sunk in. Pretty cool.
BE: Yes and that makes me immensely skeptical of the entire event. I now wonder what Athena is up to.
JE: You were right about Athena, by the way. Nice pick up.
BE: Thank you. The benefits of a classical education.
JE: The Monarch Forerunner army: any thoughts?
BE: Surplus stormtroopers? They all look suitably fascist, I can assume since he is assembling them in the bleed that he has recruited his army from a number of worlds and, if Monarch has any control over his quantum jumps in time, many time periods as well. Working in all of that red light has got to make them grumpy.
JE: And who could have killed the Forerunners?
BE: There was one woman who wiped them out and then replaced them as the Monitors' hitter. If it's a know quantity, then it's a short list: Blackfire, Black Alice, Granny Goodness and the Furies, Superwoman from Earth-3. After that my guesses could only get wilder.
Did you happen to see the latest DC trade release? "The Amazing transformations of Jimmy Olsen."
JE: Well damn. Nothing like being subtle about your storyline, is there? This is cool though. It's a chance for people like me to get caught up on the wacky world of Jimmy Olsen. Moving on, there's something else I'd like to talk about, though.
BE: The original teaser or the new one with the villains?
The team roster of Katana, Catwoman, Grace, Martian Manhunter, Captain Boomerang, Metamoropho and Batman is both awesome and unexpected. It's a roster that I wouldn't have expected, yet looks like it's going to click right from the start. I've been trying to work out the roster myself since the lineup change was announced, and it feels right to me - close to what I had, but with a twist (Catwoman's inclusion, mostly).
BE: I'm really surprised by this, because it sort of defeats the purpose of the weekly Outsider "try-out" books if you are going to tell me ahead of time. I'm pleased with the overall lineup. I am surprised to see Grace there without Thunder, but I am glad that Nightwing is leaving as it's been hard to reconcile his own New York based title with the globe hopping Outsiders. I am skeptical of the addition of the Martian Manhunter, though, because I am not happy with the new look and new direction and I don't expect it to last. Also, in the latest teaser poster, which is based on DaVinci's "The Last Supper," the Manhunter is in the "Judas" spot and that makes me wonder who he's going to betray. If we follow the imagery to a logical conclusion, it would be Lex, since he's in the "Jesus" spot. But Catwoman is a good thing.
JE: Always. I'm interested in the reason for blowing "Five of a kind" as well, but hey, Dan DiDio blew the end of "52," so why not step up and take out another, smaller surprise?
Panel of the Week
R.I.P. Bart Allen.