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.

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Justice League Throne of Atlantis

This Review includes SPOILERS.

  • Title:  Justice League:  Throne of Atlantis
  • Director:  Ethan Spaulding
  • Voice Director:  Andrea Romano
  • Date:  2015
  • Studio:  Warner Brothers Animation
  • Genre:  Animation, Action, Fantasy
  • Cast:  Matt Lanter, Sean Astin, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore, Jerry O’Connell, Jason O’Mara, Sumalee Montano, Sam Witwer, Sirena Irwin, Juliet Landau, George Newborn, Khary Payton
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  Blu-Ray

“Not all heroes wear capes.” – Sub Captain

“Death by collateral damage in a surface war does not comfort me. They kill our race, they poison our oceans, they will destroy this planet and take Atlantis with it. We must protect our people and attack!” – Prince Orm (aka Ocean Master)

“You speak to me of betrayal – you who spilled Atlantean blood and blamed it on the surface world! I have eyes everywhere Orm and you will pay for your treachery!” – Queen Atlanna

“This coup is over!  I am Queen and war is not in my plans!” – Queen Atlanna

I really enjoyed this DC Animated Feature — and it’s the first time in several DC Animated films I’ve been able to whole-heartedly say that. Although technically a Justice League movie, Throne of Atlantis really concentrates on the character of Arthur Curry and his journey to becoming Aquaman, and part of the New 52 Justice League.

The teaser for the film has a sub near the Marianas Trench responding to an SOS call. The sub is attacked and all aboard are lost. Cyborg is called in to investigate, and he calls in the rest of the Justice League.

Meanwhile, a middle-aged man is in a seaside bar in Maine, getting drunk and sharing his troubles with a live lobster in a tank. The bartender cuts him off the booze. When the same bartender takes the lobster out of the tank to make it into someone’s dinner – the man, Arthur Curry, gets in a fist-fight. He’s very strong and a good fighter, despite being drunk. He rescues the lobster, keeps in in his vest, then escapes outside. Defeating several guys from the bar who attack him again, as well as one man armed with a knife, Arthur releases the rescued lobster, sans rubber bands on its claws, back into the ocean.

Cyborg holds a meeting of the entire Justice League, with Flash convincing everyone to show up, though it’s Green Lantern who brings in Batman. Once everyone arrives he shows him the information about the attack on the sub. Wonder Woman recognizes the writing on the weapons as Atlantean. Shazam (Captain Marvel, Billy Batson) suggests contacting an expert in Atlantis and it’s lore. Superman and Batman go to investigate.

Meanwhile, Arthur Curry is living in his father’s lighthouse.

Prince Orm, in league with Black Manta, confronts Queen Atlanna, his mother, whom he blames for his father’s death. His father, the king was warlike and was considering a war plan to “cleanse” the surface dwellers. Atlanna, by contrasts, wishes to abandon their isolationist practices and contact the surface to broker a peaceful co-existence. Atlanna sends Meara to find Arthur, her older son.

Black Manta talks to Dr. Shin, the expert on Atlantis, on the phone, then sends his troops after the scientist. Dr. Shin arrives at Arthur’s door to give him some information about his father. Arthur is very hung-over and takes awhile to get to the door, he agrees to let Dr. Shin in, but when he closes the door to take the chain bolt off, Dr. Shin is attacked and killed by Manta’s troops. At the same time, Black Manta’s troops, under orders from Prince Orm, attack and kill Atlantean farmers.

Meara rescues Arthur from Manta’s troops. She takes him to Atlantis and sees the dead villagers who have been attacked.

Superman and Batman investigate Dr. Shin’s lab – but everything’s been destroyed. They find enough to lead them to Arthur Curry.

Prince Orm uses the attack on the Atlantean villagers to stir up hatred and war. Queen Atlanna tries to arrange a meeting between herself and the Justice League. Meara explains to Aquaman that he is the son of Queen Atlanna and a human, his father, Thomas, this sequence uses flashbacks. Meara shows Arthur his armor. He wears the orange and green body suit but not the outer armor.

Meara and Arthur are attacked by Trenchers (sea creatures). The Flash arrives to help Arthur and Meara. A few minutes later, Green Lantern, then the rest of the Justice League arrive to help.

Prince Orm, who shares his dead father’s hatred of the surface world, again confronts his mother, Queen Atlanna. However, she knows he was behind the attack on the farmers, and she insists they will not go to war. He kills her – then blames her death on a surface dweller. Orm and Manta will lead the Atlanteans to war.

Arthur and some Justice League members go to Atlantis. They meet an old woman who says the city is empty because Queen Atlanna is dead, at the hands of a surface dweller, and Atlantis prepares for war.

Arthur, Meara and the League investigate, and run into Orm in his Ocean Master uniform. He brags that he killed his mother, the Queen. He then uses the Trident, the symbol of royal power and a powerful weapon, to attack and imprison the League.

Meanwhile, Batman, the Flash, and Shazam who have stayed behind get an alert that a tidal wave is heading for coastal cities, including Metropolis.

Arthur uses his royal power to break out of the cocoon Orm trapped him in, then uses his telepathic power to call sea creatures to help. He gets the Leaguers free and defeats the sea monster guarding them. Arthur also rescues Meara.

A tidal wave heads for Metropolis, the National Guard arrives, and sirens go off in the city causing panic. An Army General orders the Atlanteans, led by “King” Orm to stand down. Orm orders his troops to attack. The army attacks back. The entire League joins the fray, both those who had gone to Atlantis, and those who had stayed on the surface, including Aquaman and Meara.

The League keep getting defeated in battle. Finally, Batman finds Cyborg and reboots his systems. He finds out from Cyborg that Orm killed Atlanna. Cyborg has computer recordings of this. He plays the recordings a couple of times to the Atlantean troops. When Orm claims it’s a trick, Meara backs up the recording, swearing it’s a true depiction of what happened. The Atlanteans lay down their arms and stop fighting.

Arthur makes a speech that he will guide his people. A little while later, Arthur is “knighted” as king, takes his place as ruler and king of Atlantis. The League meanwhile decide they need to meet on a regular basis, and Arthur is invited to join the League as Aquaman.

I really enjoyed this film. It’s an origin story for Aquaman and explains how he became part of the Justice League. The film also had some great touches – the flashback scene of Arthur and his father when Arthur realises he can swim underwater without difficulty and he also sees his mother, the flashbacks explaining the ill-fated romance between the Atlantean Princess Atlanna and Thomas Curry, and my favorite – the scene at the beginning of the film of Arthur pouring out his heart and troubles to a lobster in a tank, then rescuing the lobster.

The Justice League are not the real stars of this film – it’s Aquaman’s movie. But they are all present, and they do have things to do. I also felt each character was in character and their individual tasks and actions suited their characters.

Overall the film was highly enjoyable and it’s highly recommended.

Recommendation:  See It!
Rating:  4 out of 5 Stars
Next film:  The Third Man