If I weren’t reviewing “Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket” #1, I wouldn’t have finished reading it. I would have tossed it aside after five or six pages, moaning “Well, that was a waste of three bucks...” And, having read the entire comic, I can assure you that I wouldn’t have been wrong. This is a bad, pointless comic and proves right everyone who looked at the overabundance of “Flashpoint” tie-ins and blasted DC for flooding the shelves with so many that the quality and meaningfulness will suffer in some. There have been some good “Flashpoint” tie-ins, of course, but this isn’t one of them and, if you were thinking about picking it up, you shouldn’t.
Less a stand-alone story than a tie-in to “Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance,” “The Canterbury Cricket” shows how a small quartet of Resistance fighters, including the likes of Etrigan the Demon and Mrs. Hyde, are saved from Amazons by the Canterbury Cricket before he goes on to share his origin. That sounds fine enough, but the presentation is so dull and overburdened with pointless dialogue that whatever good is there is never seen. Mike Carlin’s characterizations are so broad and obvious that these aren’t characters, they’re simple types that blather on and on and on in an effort to make sure you know exactly what broad type they are.
The Cricket’s origin suffers from being brief and not at all interesting. Formerly a supposed con man (though we don’t see any of that), Jeramey got caught up in an Amazon attack, used a girl he liked as a human shield, and was crushed in a church, but, somehow, got connected to some cricket that was inside the church and is now a human-sized cricket. How or why is not even broached. It reminds me of the Underpants Gnomes in “South Park,” except with comic storytelling: step one, he’s a bad person; step two, [BLANK]; step three, giant cricket! No effort to make it a cohesive or complete story, just tossing it out there and hoping that no one notices.
Given his status as the artist on the relaunch of “Action Comics,” you would expect Rags Morales’ art to impress here and it doesn’t. I have never seen such sloppy, sporadically incomplete art from Morales to date and it’s shocking how ugly it is. Pages are cramped, compositions are unclear, and the line work lacks a finished look. Colorist Nei Ruffino uses a brownish orange hue throughout much of the comic that only accentuates the messy incompleteness of the art.
What’s even more frustrating is that, in this issue, there’s a quick allusion to a story that would have been cool to see: the Ambush Bugs. A team made up of insect-themed superheroes that are briefly brought up and killed in a flashback. That’s a good idea that would have saved everyone the horror of Carlin trying to write Etrigan’s rhyming dialogue.
If comic companies want people to stop mocking and dismissing event tie-in books, they need to stop publishing muddled, sloppy, awful comics like “Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket” #1. It’s a complete waste of time, money, and paper.