Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flashing A Point

Flashing A Point

So the new DC mega event of a sort started last week called Flash Point. In it the long time rival of Barry Allen's Flash character, Professor Zoom has went back in time and has been fucking around with the past of our heroes. Think Back to the future II where Marty screws up the past and it effects the present.

While this concept is interesting, I have to say that I wish they actually did something else with it. I would love to see a one shot of Zoom doing the most petty, inconsequential shit just to fuck Barry over. Going back in time and stealing his car just to move it in front of a hydrant or on the wrong side of the street during street sweeping so he could simply get a ticket. Sneaking into his room and turning off his alarm clock so he's late for work. Thus explaining why Barry Allen is always late. Washing all of his whites with his costume so everything turns pink. Stuff like that. And this is all why they got the wrong writer for Flashpoint.

The best part of all this would be that Zoom could do all of that shit just kind of in the present and all, but would go back in time to do it just to add another layer of being an asshole. Just imagine him just walking up to Barry and being all "Hey, remember last week when you got arrested for having child porn on your computer?" and Barry would of course replay with a "no." Then he would run into the past, plant the files, call the police, and zoom back into the present and be all like "NOW do you remember?"

What I dislike about the Zooms is that Thawne came back with Barry, as Zolomon was just a thousand times more interesting as Zoom. Even if his deal was "I torture you to make you a better heeeeeeerrrrrrooooooo" and "You suck because you're not Barry Allen. You should be more like him, Barry Allen, because Barry's cool." Wally West's issue as a character is that he as been living in the shadow of Barry Allen, so rather than stop bringing it up and let him just be the Flash, Geoff Johns invented a character who's sole purpose is to bring up the Barry Allen comparison.

But that was a lot better than Thawne's character. His problem was that he's just an asshole and he doesn't have a purpose other than hating Barry. Sure, sometimes he wants to kidnap Barry's girlfriend, sometimes he's a creepy stalker that surgically alters himself to look like Barry while he sniffs the underwear he stole from the Flash museum in the future, and other times he makes silly convoluted plans involving a reverse speed-force. He doesn't really have a point to his existence other than to be a dick to Barry.

So see, Zolomon/Zoom is better because he at least has a consistent characterization.

I have a sinking suspicion that Flashpoint's just going to be like every other DC mega event book in that it has no real conclusion. It just leads to yet another event. In this case it will branch out into an alternate universe that hinges on something happening to Barry Allen one way in the universe we know and another in Universe Flashpoint. The implication is that Barry Allen is the most important person in the development of the DC Universe. Because really, Geoff Johns would have it no other way.

That's how it comes across. He ushered in the Silver Age of comics. It'll come out that he's been generating the Speed Force all along. I want to be wrong about this because I think Barry Allen is boring and I find his whole character to be nothing more than someone who pushed Wally West out of the picture of being the Flash.

I want to like Barry the way all the old school fans seem to, but I just can't. It's not that he sucks. It's just that I find Barry to be far more boring than Wally West. Much like growing up with a specific Doctor Who, Wally West was MY FLASH. The one I grew up with, and while I'm not consumed with the fanboy rage that one would feel when their character seemed to be pushed to the side lines for the new/old guy, I have yet to see a single story that says to me why I should want to read about Barry Allen more than I want to read about Wally West.

I'm willing to buy into this notion that Barry Allen is the awesomest Flash that ever was and spreads awesome-sauce all over the land, but DC seems to think that I'm happy just to take that on faith instead of showing me in the form of interesting and compelling stories as to why Barry's shit don't stink.

In saying all that Flashpoint #1 just seemed average. You have Thomas Wayne as Batman crusading around for his murdered wife and son. The dude has got to be pushing the age limit by now and he's still jumping around roof tops like he just don't give a shit.

I will say that Johns did an interesting thing with Captain marvel by turning it essentially into Captain Planet. Though didn't he just get through turning swamp thing into a captain planet character? Oh well, I guess Captain Marvel at least has He-Man's pet cat chilling with him.

The problem I had with the reveal and introduction of these new heroes on the roof top is simple. Why did we not make the big "meet the NEW heroes on the rooftop" scene a part of Free Comic Book Day comic book? You know, just to introduce this entire thing, instead of spending half of the first issue of a FLASH event on essentially other characters who won't be seen or heard from again after this event ends.

It's not that I didn't appreciate seeing new characters out of old ones, but this thing is a whole five issues, We just spent most of one issue of this story on an entirely separate plot thread with a "reveal" divorced from our lead entirely.

Maybe this all leads to the notion that there's two Geoff Johns running around.

One Geoff Johns who writes really good stories that have a real reverence for the stories that he grew up on and mean a lot to him, the type of stories that he embraces the concept of legacy in the DC Universe and uses the foundations of the DCU to construct really solid and entertaining stories. You can find this Geoff Johns writing his first Flash run with Wally West as well as JSA and Green Lantern.

Then you have the other Geoff Johns that seems to go over the top whenever possible. It's not enough to hurt a character, the character has to die. And even that's not enough. They have to die in the most messy and gruesome fashion possible. Just look at the death of Blue Beetle and several other B-listers and on who seem to get punched holes through or arms ripped off for show.

He's in love with spectacle and cheap thrills, and could give two shits about the stories that anyone else has written. This Geoff Johns killed the first Geoff Johns and wears his skin as a suit, which was probably half the inspiration for Blackest Night in itself. Or maybe it's actually Jeph Loeb who is wearing Johns' skin. I can imagine it now, a fight between the two Jeff-with-a-strange-spelling in an epic struggle to see who survives. Because as we all know there can be only one!

There's many who say that you shouldn't take Clark Ken, Bruce Wayne, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen and Diana Prince off the table and put them out of the iconic mantle. But then I say, why not? Barry Allen was gone for over 20 years and people moved on fine without him. Wally West was a great successor and besides the flash facts, brought a lot more to the table than Barry ever did.

Sometimes a character can benefit the world better by being a dead inspiration then a living one. Especially if they are a bland character. Some would argue that Kyle Rayner was a good successor to Hal, but I disagree. Kyle is a great character, but he's like Guy or Jon Stewart. They're their own Green Lantern. Where as you really couldn't tell much of a difference between Wally and Barry behind the mask.

If you want me to like the new Barry Allen, there has to be a reason for it more than "he's the original" Flashpoint and the lead up to it is the chance to really prove that Barry Allen works better as a living character instead of a legend who sacrificed himself to the Crisis wheel. So far they've just put out the idea that he's really just bland and boring.

Let's face it. Barry Allen will win like he always does, so really, this whole event just ends up being just a bad week in the life of The Flash.

I'm just going to take a wild guess in saying that there's no chance at all that Flashpoint isn't going to end with Barry Allen having to tragically sacrifice his mother as the price for returning the world to normal.

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