Friday, June 3, 2011

Comics of the Week

Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #1 brings together the team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso who gave us the brilliant 100 Bullets. That alone is enough to make this something to look forward to. As I've said all along, the Flashpoint tie ins are going to be the best part of the event. In this case, that couldn't be more true. Here we have Batman, a gritty Batman, who is out for vengeance against criminals (familiar so far) because he lost his son. In the Flashpoint world, you see, Bruce Wayne is dead. Instead, Thomas Wayne, his father, survived that fateful night in Crime Alley after seeing his son shot dead in front of him. And as any parent can attest, that's a whole different type of anger. This Batman is not playing around. Azzarello manages to give us a fully formed character in Thomas Wayne in one issue. This old, grizzled and hardened man is not open to bullshit of any kind, as Batman or as Thomas Wayne. His life mission has lead him to build a casino in order to bring the criminals to him. He's managed to privatize the Gotham police department. He's not messing around. And all the while, he's got what Barry Allen told him about a different reality in which his son is alive knocking around in the back of his mind. This will only be a 3 issue series, but I would love it if they later had a series covering Thomas Wayne's past in this world. Great material here.

Flashpoint #2 continues from the first issue with Barry Allen explaining who he is to Thomas Wayne. We also get glimpses of Deathstroke, Wonder Woman and Aquaman in this alternate reality. I like the idea of the Amazonians and Atlanteans being at war. It just makes sense that it would happen this way. All in all it was pretty good. There's interesting ideas here and the last panel, in which we see the results of Barry Allen trying to recreate the accident that made him the Flash so he could get his powers back was kind of funny to me because what happens is what you'd expect to happen in real life.

Fear Itself #3 is a sharp contrast to Flashpoint. Just like the last issue, not much goes on here. The main book of the Fear Itself event reads like a Readers Digest version of what's going on in the other books. Granted, it all sounds interesting, but then why even have this book out? Why not do away with the actual Fear Itself book and just have the event take place in the rest of the books? I am sticking with my decision to only follow the main book, but once it's over, I may go back and read some of the tie ins. Overall, though, I couldn't really tell you what's going on in the event. This issue doesn't even serve the purpose of bringing it all together except to set up that Steve Rogers will likely be Captain America again by the end of the event. This is a good example of why these big events are so frustrating to fans. One year, they are used to make sweeping changes and the next they are used to set things back to what they were before. All the while, telling us how things will never be the same.

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