Book Review – The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder Woman

  • Title: World of Flashpoint featuring Wonder Woman
  • Author: Dan Abnett
  • Artists: Tony Bedard, David Beaty, James Robinson, Andy Lanning, Ardian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes, Eddie Nunez, Javi Fernandez, Scott Clark
  • Line: Stand Alone Graphic Novel
  • Characters: Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Lois Lane
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 7/03/2016

**Spoiler Alert** Whereas other volumes in the “World of Flashpoint” series have contained four separate stories, The World of Flashpoint featuring Wonder Woman consists of four much more closely related stories. The first two feature Wonder Woman and Aquaman, respectively, so we see the war that is tearing apart the world from both perspectives. The third story explains how Lois Lane, reporter, ends up in the UK working for the Resistance. The final story features an odd villainous character known as The Outsider.

In the Wonder Woman story, Princess Diana meets King Arthur of Atlantis – and the two plan a royal wedding as a way to merge their kingdoms for the betterment of the world. Diana even offers to let the marriage be one of convenience and appearances only – allowing Arthur to be with Mera his love. But unfortunately for them, and the world at large, Prince Orm, Arthur’s brother has Diana’s mother killed during the wedding. Orm and Penthesilea, Diana’s aunt, even frame Arthur’s ward, Garth for the crime. This starts the war between Atlantis and Thermyscira.

Every time one side or the other proposes peace or even seems to think of ending the war – either Orm or Penthesilea does something to blame the other side, to make the situation worse, and to continue the war – with hapless humanity in the crosshairs between the two titans of Atlantis and the Amazons. Aquaman sinks half of Europe when his wife, Mera, is killed during a peace conference in Vienna – unaware that it was Orm who killed her. In retaliation, at Penthesilea’s suggestion – the Amazons destroy Thermyscira, then invade the UK and raise it to new heights, towering above both the ocean and Europe at the cost of millions of lives.

Finally, Diana discovers that Penthesilea has been torturing and experimenting upon the humans she’s captured and put in concentration camps – in addition she’s also working with Orm to promote war. Diana is angered by what she discovers and goes to explain all to Arthur, exposing the manipulation for what it is. Arthur, to his credit, does actually believe her – until his entire fleet is blown up (by Orm – but he doesn’t know that). Aquaman becomes determined to make Wonder Woman pay for her final betrayal.

The Aquaman story also tells in flashbacks the story of Arthur’s early beginning – how his father met AtLanna, his mother, and how later he was stolen away to Atlantis to be the prince.

By showing the war from both Diana’s point of view and Arthur Curry’s point of view – the reader is able to really understand the conflict and see exactly what has brought Wonder Woman and Aquaman to their positions of destroying the world. That the two had wanted to join together to be a force for peace, for good, for enlightenment, and for making the world a better place – only to have that plan snatched away by “warriors” who only understand destruction and only want war – makes the story that much more tragic. Diana and Arthur could have brought about a “Golden Age” – instead Orm (whom DC comics readers know as “Ocean Master” one of Aquaman’s deadliest foes) and Penthesilea decide that war is “better” than peace, that as “warrior cultures” supporting peace and a better world is “the coward’s way”, etc. They practically accuse Diana and Arthur of “singing Kumbaya and growing flowers”. If this sounds familiar it should. The real villains here aren’t Aquaman and Wonder Woman for all the completely terrible things they do and the deaths they cause. The real villains are Orm and Penthesilea who manipulate two great cultures into a war – and cause the deaths of millions. Orm and Penthesilea call themselves cowards and also call Diana and Arthur weak “peacemongers” – but it is the two traitors who are weak. They are the ones who lack the vision of a better world.

“Lois Lane and the Resistance” starts with Lois on the phone with Perry White from Paris Fashion Week complaining about doing fluff pieces rather than real reporting. Well, be careful what you wish for, because Lois is right there when Paris and half of Europe are flooded. Lois sees Jimmy Olsen get killed and is transported to the former UK by the Amazons, but not before discovering that the “camera” Jimmy gave her before being swept away was actually made by Cyborg and was a link allowing Jimmy to report in as an agent. Lois agrees to work for Cyborg. Lois’s diary as a prisoner of the Amazons shows just how horrifying the conditions are. Yet it’s Lois who exposes Penthesilea to Wonder Woman who didn’t know what her Aunt is doing. Lois makes a desperate broadcast from the prison. She’s then rescued by the Resistance, led by Grifter (who looks a lot like Red Hood in costume, but remember Jason Todd is a priest in Gotham), and including Lady Godiva, Britannia, Canterbury Cricket and Hyde. Despite a betrayal by Hyde’s alter ego, Bobbie Stephenson a woman who’s gone over to the Amazons to be cured of Hyde, the Resistance and Lois are able to get Britannia her Mark 2.0 battle suit. Lois’s story ends with her broadcasting what’s going on, and the Resistance fighting the Furies (Wonder Woman’s most deadly troops).

“The Outsider” is the most unusual story in the collection. “The Outsider” is from India, yet his skin is greyish-white and looks like stone. He’s an unsavory businessman with his hands in every illegal business there is, and a manipulator of currencies, raw materials, jewels, metals, and just about everything else. He has no qualms about killing to get what he wants. He’s pretty much as evil as Lex Luthor, with none of the “charm”, and works on a global scale. The story also mentions Blackout, whom “The Outsider” want to use as a power source for India, Black Atom – now the ruler of Pakistan, and an awesome surprise – J’onn J’onzz – the Martian Manhunter, and The Outsider’s plaything who strikes back. It’s a surprising story, but though it’s told from The Outsider’s perspective he’s an utterly unempathetic character who one cannot identify with, even with his background explained.

The World of Flashpoint featuring Wonder Woman is the one Flashpoint novel you must read if you only read one of the extra novels – it gives the deepest background for Flashpoint and takes place directly before that story. Although the Flash isn’t in the novel at all, it sets the stage and explains what is going on and what this world is that Barry has woken up in. Highly, highly recommended.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s