Review — Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #2

Citizen Cold #2 is fairly different from the previous issue; for one thing, it’s notably more action-oriented, and this sets a disparate tone. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the last issue. See below the cut for spoilers and more details.

The tension is ratcheted up considerably in this issue, arguably making it more exciting. But this same tension has a downside, resulting in several deaths, some possible deaths, and varied serious injuries. Wally West is confirmed dead, Lisa Snart killed, Citizen Cold severely wounded, and the rest of the Rogues may be dead or injured. It’s a grim tally, and having many deaths is something I was hoping would be avoided in this series, as alternate universes are notorious for employing high body counts. We know these deaths won’t stick, as at least some of the dead Flashpoint characters are alive in the September relaunch, but does anyone enjoy reading about mass deaths? This is of course not unique to the Citizen Cold series, as it’s in all the Flashpoint titles I’ve read, but the first issue was so enjoyable that I was hoping we wouldn’t get a lot of it here.

However, my biggest disappointment with the issue is the portrayal of Lisa Snart. In the past I’ve grumbled about the way Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins depicted her in regular DC universe flashbacks — generally more of a victim than the capable supervillain she always was. And it’s true that here in the Flashpoint world she’s a different person and never took up a costumed identity. Regardless, I’m still dismayed to see Kolins portray her as purely a victim in Flashpoint — she puts up with years of abuse, cries and pleads a lot, gets kidnapped by bad guys, and ultimately murdered. The only agency she shows in the entire Citizen Cold series is shooting her abusive father, which is pretty much overshadowed by all the tears and terrible things happening to her. Even if she had to die for the sake of the story, I would have liked to first see her stand up for herself against the Rogues.

That said, I did enjoy the issue. Trixter’s over-the-top yapping was fun again, and Cold flirting openly and awkwardly with Iris is both amusing and cringe-inducing in a good way. He’s always been creepy about pursuing women since the Silver Age, and though we don’t see it in modern comics, it’s a reminder of why he sticks with prostitutes in the regular DC universe. At the same time, there’s the interesting contrast between regular and Flashpoint Cold; one is an unabashed criminal with a set of morals, and the other pretends to be a hero but behaves worse than his villainous counterpart. Apparently the absence of the Flash not only left a vacuum in Central City for Cold to become its ‘hero’, but also meant there was no positive influence to make him a better person.

The artwork situation is very similar to the last issue; it’s Kolins’ familiar style and done well, although again the colouring is murky and dark. This dark colouring makes the action somewhat difficult to follow in places, notably the scene in which Piper encounters the ice-duplicate bomb. And again there’s some of that strange underlining of words in the lettering, which I find slightly distracting.

I look forward to issue #3, but hope it won’t involve many deaths. However, I suspect there will be a final showdown between Cold and Piper (who probably survived the cliffhanger bombing) and possibly another character or two believed dead, and it will likely be bloody. Iris probably won’t fare well either. As with any alternate universe, we could easily start a betting pool on who will live and who will die, a sign that comics in general should probably end this cliché lest the industry implode any further. Why not surprise us and give a (relatively) happy ending for at least some of the characters?

Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #2
Story by Scott Kolins
Art by Scott Kolins

24 thoughts on “Review — Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #2

    1. Kyer

      Words cannot express.
      I had typed out a thumbs up to Scott on his forum just a literal minute before my Google search turned up a review on this issue that revealed Wally’s fate. I’d really been hoping (Scott being a supposed Wally fan and all) that here was a chance to finally see Wally kick ass before he disappears into Limbo (and not as something from the past like the RetroActives.) Well, my disappointment was so bitter that it was all I could do to just erase my praise and not insert a few scathing words instead about lost opportunities and body bags. Civility won out…barely. X(

      Damn it all I was really wanting this book to rock!

      Reply
  1. Will McKay

    I couldn’t be any happier about how well this issue was written and drawn. Sorry if people were bummed out about Wally getting wacked, but you got to remember, this is Citizen Cold’s book. Kolins is obviously having a great time writing and drawing a comic book that features a super-villain whom both he and Johns have a strong liking for. This is unfortunately the closest we’ll probably ever get to having a Captain Cold solo series.

    This title is only three issues so the high body count makes sense since they don’t have the leisure of being able to draw out a long multi-issue story. Happy endings are okay if it’s a Super Boy comic book, however, when I’m reading about Captain/Citizen Cold, I want a lot of gritty action and carnage.

    I normally don’t feel much emotion reading comics but something about Cold being on the verge of defeat, and certain death, made my heart pound until he pulled out his cold gun clip for what was a most awesome climax. Again, I’m kind of impartial because I think the Flash (all of them) are okay heroes, but I only read the series because of Johns take on the rogues. He changed a bunch of dorky looking villains into a pack of Reservoir Dogs, Cold being my favorite next to Heat Wave.

    Reply
    1. Kyer

      Then they (and I presume this was Kollin’s choice) should have not used Wally in the book. He had others to choose from. Use the Rogues, let the Rogues shine or whatever, but this was also Wally’s last appearance. His LAST appearance. Think about that, think about Wally’s tenure in the books when he carried the title…heck, when he was just Kid Flash and maybe you’ll understand why I loathe DC right now.

      Reply
      1. Will McKay

        Eh, I wouldn’t get too worked up over it if I was you. DC talks a big game about this being a new starting point and what not. Wait until a year from now when most those titles bomb. Hawkman? Really? That guy hasn’t had a successful series since he teamed with the Atom and even that was a stretch. Resurrection Man’s first stint was a dud. Etrigan’s new series will get axed and you can include that Frankenstein one along with several others. Wally will most likely come back, you might just have to wait a few years.

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        1. Kyer

          Actually, after reading one of today’s posts over at S_D, I’m thinking I’m right to loathe DC for more reasons than just Wally’s fate. If the post is true, DC thought as little of us ‘scumbags’ as I now detest their shenanigans.

          Maybe Mom and Dad were right after all and comics are bad.

          Reply
    2. Dylan

      The Rogues that Johns created (or that were created by others during his run on Flash, Vol 2)that were actually cool were Girder (and his ‘relationship’ with Magenta), Murmur, Plunder, Tarpit, Fallout, Blacksmith, Captain Boomerang II, and of course, Zoom. Too bad they will either all be scrapped or re-written as Barry’s extended Rogues Gallery. Barry faught campy villains that robbed banks, Wally faught dark villains that did a little bit more.

      Reply
      1. Lia Post author

        To be fair, Barry was from a different era, and most villains back then were campy bank robbers (although I’m not sure how Professor Zoom’s wife-murdering habit counts as such). And of course, Wally went on to fight them too at times, so it’s not like his Rogues were inherently different or superior.

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        1. Penny Dreadful

          Yeah, do we really want to go back to Silver Age Rogues spouting goofy puns> As Lenny Snart said, “I outgrew that #$&% years ago.”

          Reply
          1. Lia Post author

            Punning isn’t as dead as some people think — even in the modern era (last ten years or so), the Top puns quite regularly and Weather Wizard does sometimes too. Even Cold does it, although more subtly.

            Reply
  2. Will McKay

    Lia-

    I really like your reviews. While looking through this blog I’ve noticed we have similar tastes in super-villain comics.

    I concur about the upcoming relaunch titles coming out in September. I’ll be picking up Red Lanterns and the Suicide Squad (even though I have the feeling that this new Squad might suck). Regarding Deathstroke, their was a time that I couldn’t have agreed more. Maybe because the character seemed to flip flop so much between being an ant-hero with honor in some titles, including his own, while in others he’s a bloodthirsty killer (which I prefer). That being said, I think you should check out his Flashpoint Mini-series if you haven’t already. It’s a great read and if you like villains, his motley crew of pirates is made up of Clayface, Sonar, The Eel, and the old Flash villain Icicle.

    IMHO, they should have left Johns writing the new Flash title where he could have maybe concentrated on the newer rogues like Tar Pit, giving them character profiles, and then have a Rogues Gallery series featuring Captain Cold and his crew written and drawn by Kolin.

    Reply
    1. Lia Post author

      Thank you, glad you enjoy them!

      The more I see about the relaunched Suicide Squad the more wary I am about it, but I’ll at least give it a look. And only on the basis of enjoying it previously, so DC’s treading on thin ice here. DC’s September and October solicitations have not impressed me at all.

      I read the first Flashpoint Deathstroke issue, but not the second one yet. The first was all right, but felt like it was missing something. Maybe it needed more background details about who they were and why they were out there, I dunno. Most of his crew were ciphers.

      I’d be delighted if DC thought enough of the Flashverse to give us more than one title, but seems like that’s not going to happen anytime soon :\ It’d be nice if Kolins wrote or drew another miniseries, though.

      Reply
      1. Penny Dreadful

        You and everyone else. I think a lot of fans would LOVE a second flash book, and I think there’s the audience to support it.

        Reply
  3. Kelson

    If the first issue of Citizen Cold was a return to the glory days of the Johns/Kolins run on The Flash, the second issue was like getting hit on the head with a two-by-four and seeing that glory turned upside-down as you fall to the floor.

    And I mean that in a good way.

    It’s not where I would have wanted the story to go, but for this version of the characters, it fits — and for a story that can be taken on its own (and not potentially cut off other future stories), that’s what’s important.

    Reply
    1. Lia Post author

      You’re not wrong. I certainly wouldn’t claim my opinions on the book or comics in general are objective truths — well, except for the Glider stuff, har har :>

      I am more than a bit tired of slaughterfests in alternate universes, however. Marvel and DC are equally guilty of it — actually, Marvel’s probably worse.

      Reply
      1. Kyer

        Exactly. Have we not been dished out enough murder and gruesome mayhem in the regular books as it is that these ‘alternate yet not Elseworld’ stories think we need a higher body count?

        At this point the only books I’m interested in buying are old Wally issues and Tiny Titan trades from the used book stores. Good grief…the World News Report on cable is more cheery than DC!

        Reply
      2. Kelson

        I do agree on the matter of deaths in AU stories – it’s just too easy to say, “Hey, we can kill of the main character without consequences!” The whole point of an AU story is to free yourself of the restrictions of the main universe – come up with something more creative than just killing everyone.

        I don’t think I’ll ever see an alternate-universe treatment worse than Countdown, though, where the AUs were basically set up as cannon fodder. Or would that be canon fodder?

        Reply
  4. kyer

    You know…after just seeing an opening scene from the Nightwing Flashpoint book…I think I just had an epiphany.

    In Flashpoint, EVERYONE dies. (At the very last splash page Didio comes in dressed as a fairy waving his wand and lo…September #1 cover issues burst forth out of The Nothingness.)

    Reply
    1. Lia Post author

      Something like this wouldn’t be unprecedented — after a slaughterfest throughout the Age of Apocalypse, everyone died in the end. …well, they did until years later when Marvel retconned it. I’d stopped reading the X-books by that point, so I don’t know if someone saved the universe somehow or just a bunch of people survived, or what. But many or all of the name AoA characters are now alive.

      It was pretty lame. Slaughterfests in alternate universes are stupid, but then hand-waving those poor dead characters back to life a decade later is worse. But that was the ’90s, and the ’90s are now back in style.

      Reply
  5. Thunderbolt_005

    This book, and the Reverse Flash “One-Shot” does open the door for consideration of Flash Rogues series. There are so many now with the different generations we could see some sinister plot lines and good bad guy action with some FLASH intervention.

    Reply

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