The first round of Flashpoint miniseries’ arrived last Wednesday. DC has seemingly selected creative teams based on potential and allowed them to play in the sandbox of this alternate reality however they would like. To be sure, both of the issues reviewed here do little more than exist in the universe that has just now been created for Flashpoint, at least in their respective openings. They also succeed on many levels, achievements made possible by the unexplored new world. If DC is using the minis as a way to ease fans into a reboot, they could have done a whole lot worse.
In Batman: Knight of Vengeance, the Gotham City of Flashpoint is put into harsh focus. In Abin Sur: The Green Lantern, events in Green Lantern lore both recent and distant are re-cast, and redesigned with an eye towards the upcoming film.
For further comments and some spoilers, see you after the jump…
The strength of Knight of Vengeance #1 is the strength of Batman and his mythos. Even with key, fundamental changes, from Thomas Wayne as the caped crusader to his relationships with the usual cast of allies and enemies, this is still an instantly recognizable and memorable Batman comic book. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso have already carved out a Batman rep with “Broken City” and Wednesday Comics, but this could be one of the strongest single Bat-installments they have produced.
This story has a Batman who, as Thomas Wayne, seemingly heads a privatized, city-approved police force while running a casino to “bring crime to me. To fund its control.” It is a complex rearranging of the Bat-mosaic, yet still functions as a top-shelf Batman comic. The machete denouement to the Killer Croc battle is proof enough of this. Risso’s artwork is, as before, pitch-perfect for Gotham, and the intertwining of this Batman’s origin with the sewer battle is ballet.
I believe Abin Sur #1 is the first Green Lantern book to take on the look of the film, based on the trailers so far. From Abin himself to the Guardians, to Sinestro, the look of the movie is conveyed via Felipe Massafera (Cary Bates’ The Last Family of Krypton). The depiction of Ungara in Abin’s childhood are rich, making his return there as a Green Lantern all the more effective. I can’t say enough about the artwork here, as Massafera makes some bold choices and executes both emotionally and in the action sequences.
The story is a mashup of elements from Blackest Night/Brightest Day, “Tygers”, Hal Jordan’s origin story and, I’m assuming, the Green Lantern movie. On its own, it is a lavishly illustrated Green Lantern comic that works on both a commercial and artistic level despite being dressed as a tie-in.
It is hard not to think of these mini series as examples of what DC is trying to say about character flexibility and the weight of continuity. At least in these two books, strong decisions and executions have been made both in creative teams and content that one hopes would continue into the upcoming reboot. We probably won’t get Thomas Wayne as Batman, or Abin Sur as the Green Lantern of Sector 2814, but this is a great way to show the power of possibilities.