So, I attempted to get started on this review almost a week ago. But to be honest, I was at a loss for words, unsure what to say about the issue. I didn’t like it and didn’t dislike it either, somehow managing to fall into both camps at the same time. To find out more, see below the cut for spoilers.
From my perspective — and your mileage may vary — there are two strikes against it. Though the lead character is Heat Wave (written as ‘Heatwave’ in the issue), he bears very little resemblance to the character we’re familiar with in the mainstream universe, either physically or in personality. This story takes place in the often-different Flashpoint universe, of course, but I bought the issue to see Mick Rory and this is a complete stranger. He has a full head of hair, is a lot meaner and crazier, and interacts with an entirely different set of associates. He’s nothing like the Mick we know apart from an interest in fire, and even that obsession is handled differently so there really isn’t anything in common between the two besides the Heat Wave costume. That’s strike one.
My other complaint about the issue is that it’s depressingly gruesome. It could certainly be worse, I’ll grant that; we could have been subjected to more graphic depictions of burned bodies. However, the scene of Plastic Man bloodily emerging from Cluemaster’s innards was needlessly awful. It was a great plot twist and I liked the concept of him being smuggled in by a drug mule, but could have been done with less horrifying imagery.
There were aspects I did like, such as the realistic depiction of prison life and interactions between some very bad men. I tend to grumble about the odd aspects of incarceration in the modern DCU, in which prisoners often wear costumes rather than uniforms, and once out of their cells seem to have powers at their disposal. Here the prisoners wear standard uniforms, and those with metahuman powers have them negated by technology like mutants in the Marvel universe, which simply makes sense. In the real world prisoners often divide themselves into gangs along certain ethnic lines, and in the Flashpoint universe they divide between metahumans and non-metas, which again makes sense for the world they live in. This attention to detail and realism is the story’s greatest strength and most enjoyable aspect, and I think would have made it great if the creative team had toned down the gore and made Heat Wave more recognizable.
The art didn’t particularly enthuse me, unfortunately. Many of the characters had very similar-looking faces and there was a sketchy quality to the artwork that I didn’t really care for. However, the artist did capture Heat Wave’s costume very well and had some effective facial expressions in some panels. The delighted surprise and then disbelief on Mick’s face when he expects a big subway explosion but then gets thwarted was good, for example, as was his despair when locked in solitary.
Overall I was fairly disappointed with this issue, and that’s particularly a bummer after how much I loved Citizen Cold. There’s still room for improvement though, and maybe the upcoming two issues will pick up. I certainly hope so.
Flashpoint: Legion of Doom
Story by Adam Glass
Art by Rodney Buchemi
I ran across that gruesome scene by accident at Scans_Daily. The poster gave no warning whatsoever as to why they were “annoyed” by the scene. I’d give my eyeteeth to unsee it because not was this the type of gore that is the sole reason I shy away from Johns Green Lantern books, but never again will I be able to look at my favorite non-Flash character without recalling that.
My biggest worry is that any new Wally book is going to have this level of gruesome in it and I will have to give up reading about Wally…because, yeah, I can’t stand horror.
That kind of book is exactly what I would like to see Wally in.
I actually enjoyed this take on Heat Wave. I am pretty disappointed that Captain Cold remained almost exactly the same in the Flashpoint universe. The whole point of Flashpoint is to see how different our characters would be. I wanted radical changes. Mick’s over obsession with fire was somewhat frustrating, the whole merge to make Firestorm thing was weird. But aside from that, I enjoyed this temporary take on him. And I thought Plastic Man’s entrance was awesome.
I should add that I would not be happy at all if this was his new revised character with the whole DCU reset coming up. I just like seeing the temporary changes to character.
I can certainly appreciate your POV, and knew at least a few people probably wouldn’t agree with either of my complaints. They’re admittedly pretty subjective. But in the end I think they’re what bugged me most about the issue — honestly, I’ve spent a week struggling to figure out what I didn’t like about the issue, and those were eventually what came to mind. Whatever left me unsettled and dissatisfied didn’t really stand out as obvious.
My reaction was similar to yours: It was well-done, but I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted to read.
Actually, after reading Grodd of War and then that Plastic Man entrance, I was really glad I’d picked up the Flash issue of Tiny Titans for some contrast.
Sorry, but this issue I thought was awesome! Some reviews on the internet rated Heat Wave as a third string villain. Those so-called experts obviously never read John’s excellent handling of the character. It’s good to see a wimpy loser hero like Plastic Man changed into something far more entertaining. Hopefully Cyborg will get roasted in the third issue.
I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I too hope Plastic Man and Mick do kickass stuff in the next two issues, although hoooopefully it won’t be gruesome.