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.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 Review (spoilers)

  • Series Title:  Legends of Tomorrow
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 16
  • Discs: 4
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Arthur Darvill, Brandon Routh, Victor Garber, Franz Drameh, Caity Lotz, Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Ciara Renée

Legends of Tomorrow is a team-up show that was spun-off mid-season from The Flash and Arrow. It features Brandon Routh as Dr. Ray Palmer (The Atom) and Sara Lance (White Canary) from Arrow, Dr. Martin Stein and Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Firestorm) from The Flash, and also from The Flash Leonard Snart (Captain Cold) and Mick Rory (Heatwave). New to this series are time traveller, Rip Hunter, and Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl). Hunter brings his time-ship, the Waverider and it’s A.I. computer, Gideon.

What makes Legends of Tomorrow different and interesting isn’t simply the characters – it’s that these characters are the “screw-ups”. They not only make mistakes – they frequently make things worse. Rip Hunter’s mission is to track down and kill Vandal Savage an immortal dictator from the future that killed his wife and child (and billions more people). Yet Rip is also on the run – because his mission isn’t sanctioned by the Time Masters he once served – they are actually after him for breaking the rules. Halfway through the season we discover the soldier, Chronos, who was chasing our characters through time is actually Mick Rory – who was captured by the Time Masters and brainwashed into being their killing machine. This means that when, during the first time you watch this series and you assume Chronos is tracking the Waverider using future technology – he’s actually able to track Rip and company because he remembers where they will be. This means the second time you watch this show, there’s an extra layer of meaning to what’s going on.

The first six or so episodes of this series are very episodic – Rip and his crew travel to different eras of time, trying to track down and eliminate Savage. Yet again – their plans seem doomed. Savage also has an intimate connection to Kendra (Hawkgirl) and Carter Hall (Hawkman). However, gradually the story becomes more connected and each episode ends with a “cliffhanger” that leads into the next episode – and this is where the show really picked up steam. The last four episodes are essentially one grand story – with revelations about the Time Masters – who, after all, are still using Rip Hunter.

The weakest part of season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow is Vandal Savage, and not simply because a immortal villain is a boring villain (after all how do you kill an immortal villain?) but because I just didn’t like how he was played. However, I liked the finale very much.

The best part of Legends of Tomorrow is the characters and the cast. Watching Arthur Darvill playing a time traveler again is a pure joy. The rest of the cast does an excellent job – and the writing takes the time to explore each of the characters – their backgrounds, their fears, and how they can become heroes despite their faults and doubts. So this is a show about very human “superheroes”. Watching Leonard Snart develop is especially a joy. The show is also well-written, and isn’t afraid to get into the occasional moral quandary about what they are doing. I recommend it highly.