I referred to the first issue of "Flashpoint" as an "empty-calorie merchandising sandwich." That was roughly two months ago, prior to DC's announcement of the September reboot of their comic book line. Since then, fifty-two titles have been announced as part of the September launch and creators have been identified for all of them and over two dozen "Flashpoint" issues have been released. Some of the characters introduced in those "Flashpoint" stories have been revealed to have a role in life in the DC Universe following Flashpoint. A few more pop up in this issue.
This issue also features a joining of forces in the traditional comic book sense, as heroes start to realize their combined might may fare better against a common threat. Of course, those heroes have differing views of the "common threat," the method to defeat said threat, and the vision of the world after said threat is removed. Geoff Johns brings the trio – Flash, Batman, and Cyborg – together cleanly. They're a nice triple threat and, packaged together, bring a strong visual sample of the DC Universe. Johns selectively plays up the strengths of the characters, altering them for this new landscape, and to great effect.
I haven't been enthused about Barry Allen since his return, but in this issue, Johns makes the former patron saint of deceased comic book characters a character that I actually find myself interested in once again. Johns adds in an extremely grumpy Batman, and fortifies the cause Cyborg fights for. In doing so, we learn a bit more about both characters, but Cyborg finally gets a reasonable portion of the spotlight (as well as a headquarters in Detroit, appropriately enough) and this issue is better for it. Johns, through the words of Batman, offers rationale for more Cyborg adventures in the future: "There's not a brick wall or a firewall that can keep Cyborg out." I hope this gets revisited once "Flashpoint" winds down.
It's picking nits, but this issue could have used a better proofreading, as Flash asks a question or makes a statement on the following line, "What is it?." A little later in the story, Cyborg leads Batman and the Flash into a "multizlevel facility." These are sloppy mistakes that any word processing application can (and would) catch. For them to see print diminishes the quality of the book. DC has had a number of editorial snafus of late, and I sincerely hope they're just shaking the bugs out of the system. I'd hate to think their system is flawed.
Andy Kubert and Sandra Hope – with Alex Sinclair on colors – continue to bring a high level of energy to this book. The briskly paced pages are filled with detail and color and pack enough punch to hold the attention of any comic reader. Some of the pages seem to have too much detail – too many panels or too many characters in those panels – but for the most part that simply works as an economy of page count.
I tried to be a non-believer in the "Flashpoint" flash flood, but some of the creators drew me in to a handful of these stories. Much to my surprise, some of those stories have been unpredictably enjoyable. This book isn't unpredictably enjoyable, but it is also not torturous. The main "Flashpoint" tale is finding its legs and is starting to offer something worth coming back to, regardless of the surrounding titles.