Book Review – The World of Flashpoint featuring the Flash

  • Title: World of Flashpoint Featuring the Flash
  • Author: Scott Kolins
  • Artists: Sean Ryan, José Marzán Jr., Sterling Gates, Adam Glass, Ig Guara, Oliver Nome, Rodney Buchemi, Joel Gomez
  • Line: Stand Alone Graphic Novel
  • Characters: The Flash (Barry Allen), Citizen (Cap’t.) Cold, Bart Allen, Gorilla Grood
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 6/19/2016

The World of Flashpoint is a series of graphic novels that flush out Flashpoint giving the reader more details and greater depth to the alternate universe characters that we briefly met in Flashpoint after Barry Allen changes time to save his mother and creates a disastrous and apocalyptic world. This novel contains four stories. I liked two of the four, so it’s hard to even rate the book – the two good stories that of “Citizen Cold” and that of Kid Flash – Bart Allen I’d rate at 4. But the Gorilla Grood story I’d rate at 2 and the prison break story I’d rate at 2 or 3.

The first story in this collection is about Citizen Cold – the hero of Central City. Yet Leonard Snart is the same cold so-and-so we see as a villain. He’s killed villains – and anyone who might discover his secrets alike (including Wally West). He has a thing for Iris, and he’s desperate to save his sister who’s being held captive by the Rogues Gallery. And Cold’s Rogues, though similar or the same as the Flash’s Rogues that we know, are terrified of Cold. Cold’s a fascinating protagonist. He’s not precisely good. And he’s not out and out evil. And the way Snart is written in this story, reminded me very much of the way he’s played by Wentworth Miller in CW’s series Legends of Tomorrow, since this graphic was originally published in single-magazine form in 2011 and as a compilation in 2012, perhaps it did inspire the CW character. Also the art for the story is really excellent.

The second story, “Legion of Doom” is, essentially a prison break story. Remember the evil helmet headquarters of the Legion of Doom, the anti-justice league from Superfriends? In this story, it’s a prison for super-powered villains, and criminals without super powers but who are deemed too dangerous to be held in regular prisons. It’s the Flashpoint universe’s Belle Reve. Heatwave is taken into the prison, where he spends time learning how it works. He then pairs with a totally out of his head Plastic Man to stage his escape. They also fly the dark-helmet Doom prison to Detroit to destroy the place so Heatwave can have his revenge on Cyborg. None of this made any sense to me – but the Legion of Doom is not something in DC comics that I’m super aware of in terms of comics history. Overall, I didn’t enjoy the story. While Captain Cold is someone that isn’t exactly heroic to say the least, one can have some sympathy for his feelings of protectiveness for his sister. Heatwave has no redeeming factors at all, so there’s no one to engage you as a reader in this story.

The third story is “Grood of War” – the telepathic, talking, super gorilla has conquered Africa, with Capetown South Africa the last to fall (of all places). Grood’s lieutenant wonders what they will do next, and Grood plans a personal trip to Capetown to inspect the governmental facilities his troops have conquered. On the way there, the caravan is attacked. Grood and his troops destroy the attacking humans, all but one young boy. Grood however, rather than killing the boy, tells him that “he wants him to live, to spend his whole life hating him [Grood], planning to kill him, and when you’re ready – come find me and do it.” Even stranger, when his lieutenant says, “What next?” after Grood examines what’s left of Capetown, Grood announces they will invade Europe. Yet Grood says he hopes they will be destroyed. Why is the telepathic ape so suicidal? No one knows – it’s not explained. This was a weird story, and I found it difficult to follow.

“Kid Flash Lost” I really enjoyed – it features Bart Allen as “Kid Flash” (but he’s described as an “Impulsive” young man, and Hot Pursuit. Bart wakes from a virtual reality prison of sorts and finds himself on an alien spaceship belonging to Brainiac who’s taken over the Earth in Bart’s time. Bart is shocked – this isn’t his time. But he and Hot Pursuit (Patty Spivot) have to figure out what’s going on. When Patty dies, Bart realizes the best he can do is go back in time to see that none of this happens – and thus everyone will be saved, including the future he knows. Bart travels to the past and meets Windrunner in the Old West, but when Windrunner reaches out to him, he’s destroyed and Bart jumps forward. Bart arrives in Jay’s time – but he’s been murdered. He also arrives at a cemetery only to see Iris mourning the recently dead Wally West. But then Bart realizes the Speed Force is propelling him forward so he can reach Barry – and as the White Flash, pure Speed Force energy, he can urge Barry to put things right and save everyone. In the end, Bart sacrifices even himself to help Barry make it.

Again, the first and last story in this collection were good, and the last one, especially was really good. But I wasn’t as impressed with the other two.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Ripple Effect

  • Title: The Ripple Effect
  • Series: Doctor Who Novelette Collection
  • Author: Malorie Blackman
  • Characters: Seventh Doctor, Ace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/02/2016

Doctor Who – The Ripple Effect is part the of Doctor Who 50th Anniversary 12 Doctors 12 Books series of mini-books. The Ripple Effect features the Seventh Doctor as played on the BBC television series by Sylvester McCoy and his companion Ace (aka Dorothy McShane). The mini-book opens with the Doctor and Ace in the TARDIS and they are stuck. They are in the space/time equivalent of the Sargasso Sea – becalmed and utterly unable to move. Other ships are also stranded. While the Doctor works on the TARDIS console trying to fix it so they can get out of the time/space trap, Ace watches out the viewing screen at the greyish exterior. Then she suddenly sees the TARDIS. But the Doctor dismisses this as an illusion.

The Doctor makes a desperate move, and the TARDIS is kicked free of the trap. They “auto-land” on a planet, which they soon discover to be Skaro. But rather the home of the militaristic, xenophobic, racist, bullies we know as Daleks – Skaro is home to a race of Daleks who are the center of teaching, medicine, and research for the entire galaxy. People of all races and of all ages come to the Academy on Skaro to learn, study, and do research. Even the Time Lords have come to Skaro to say thanks for the Dalek medical team that saved the life of the Lord President of Gallifrey.

The Doctor, of course, knows this to be wrong. Ace also remembers her own fights against vicious Daleks, but over time she comes to accept the new world she’s on, and the new universe.

The Doctor, however, continues to investigate – and although the Daleks are as good as they seem, this alternate universe isn’t stable – and in the end, he and Ace must do something about that.

The Ripple Effect is an excellent story, in that it’s really about prejudice – the Doctor’s previous experiences with evil Daleks make it difficult for him to accept that these Daleks are good. Ace at first agrees with him, but she gradually accepts what she sees with her own eyes, despite her memories, these Daleks are good. Ace even becomes friends with one of the other students – which makes the end even more tragic.

This is an excellent and very short story, as all the other stories in this series are short. Recommended.