Citizen Cold #3 marks the end of the limited series, and while I definitely enjoyed it overall, it ended pretty much as expected. Given the nature of Flashpoint, this was probably inevitable, but it’s still a slight disappointment considering how much promise the series started with. More details and spoilers after the cut.
There were aspects I liked, of course: as in the previous issues, Trixter is a lot of fun — I cracked up at his hilariously bad car — and the art is of the same good quality. The flashback scenes of Wally and Piper are touching, and the history of friendship between them could probably fill an entire issue. Cold’s blunt and awkward flirting with Iris continues to be interesting and consistently handled. So for these reasons, it’s all the more unfortunate that the story follows the old trope of killing off (nearly) everyone in an alternate universe tale. The deaths themselves don’t bother me, and most if not all of the characters will be back after the reboot, but I was expecting everybody to die and most of them promptly did. The only survivors who surprised me were Iris and arguably Cold himself, although his end is left open to interpretation, and perhaps Iris or Piper might kill him off-panel for murdering Wally. It’s a nice touch to leave his fate ambiguous, allowing the reader to wonder or imagine an end for him.
The colouring continues to have the same darkness problem as the previous issues, and that’s too bad. From a technical standpoint, it’s clearly the series’ greatest flaw.
Regarding the series as a whole…
I like that Scott Kolins was able to write and draw his own story, as it gave him an unusual level of control over the details, and the reader knows this is exactly what he wanted to tell. He does incredibly detailed art and clearly puts a lot of thought into it — for example, look at the hideout and all the gear he designed for Piper. In the first issue, Piper’s garage wasn’t put together carelessly; it’s got all the equipment and engineering needed for the upkeep of his vehicles, it’s full of musical instruments as one would expect from him, and of course he’s got the consistent design scheme. There’s even a cameo of the skull-faced harp seen in his hideout in Rogues Revenge! While Kolins’ art occasionally veers into territory that’s too cartoony for my tastes, his planning and sense of detail can’t be beaten. It’s good to see it here, and writing his own story presumably allows him the freedom to do this to an even greater degree.
One way the series surprised me is the portrayal of Cold; based on the details we heard about him being Central City’s hero and (let’s face it) the way Geoff Johns is clearly a huge fan of him and likes to make him awesome and the best at everything, I was fully expecting Flashpoint Cold to be a perfect Gary Stu character. But he wasn’t: he was a corrupt lying jerk, clearly a worse person than in the regular DC universe, and unpleasantly awkward. He was still able to kill all the Rogues single-handedly, but also got kicked around and wasn’t the wish-fulfillment fanfic I cynically expected, and that’s great. It was one of the aspects which totally won me over in the first issue.
If there’s one question left unanswered, it’s why many of Central City’s inhabitants are so similar to their mainstream DC counterparts. Did Professor Zoom leave them mostly untouched for a reason, and if so, why? One might think they’d be fairly different without the Flash/Barry to influence them. I hope this is touched on in Flashpoint #5, although there are already a hell of a lot of things to be wrapped up in just that one issue.
Overall I enjoyed Citizen Cold. It had its flaws, and the second two issues weren’t as good as the first. However the series was solid as a whole, particularly if you’re a fan of the characters. In general I’m fairly lukewarm about Flashpoint, but Citizen Cold is among the better tie-ins that I’ve read, and hopefully other people have enjoyed it too.
Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #3
Story by Scott Kolins
Art by Scott Kolins