Chris Lemmerman's Reviews > Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Batman

Flashpoint by Brian Azzarello
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Apr 01, 12

bookshelves: 2012-comics-and-manga-read
Read from March 26 to April 01, 2012

Everything you know, will change in a flash. Here is the first of five reviews looking at the companion books to last years Flashpoint event, featuring a number of tie-in mini-series and one-shots. In each review, I will go through each tie-in separately, and then gauge the collection overall at the end to tell you if it's worth checking out or not.

First, Batman: Knight of Vengeance is probably the best of the tie-ins that Flashpoint received. Whilst I'm not a big fan of Brian Azzarello, even I must admit that this was a very cleverly plotted story, which turns all the typical Bat-tropes on their head to give a mini-series that will surprise you all the way to the very end. I'm not quite sure how this fits into the overall timeline of Flashpoint however, since it references events that can't have happened in the order stated, but still, this shouldn't detract from your enjoyment. This is one of the few mini-series that has a consistent art team throughout, and Eduardo Risso's dark style is perfectly suited for this mini-series. A good start to the trade, I hope this can continue.

I was pleasantly surprised by Deadman and the Flying Graysons. Set around Haley's Circus, which is travelling through wartorn Europe, it tells the story of Dick Grayson and family, as well as Boston Brand, still alive and not a Deadman just yet. Whilst some of the story beats are predictable, there are some nice risks taken with the characters involved, particularly Doctor Fate, and this does feel like a mini-series that could have an effect further down the line. I doubt it will, but it's nice to dream. Artistically, Mikel Janin is a fantastic artist on the first issue, and it's a shame that he doesn't stick around for the second two. Fabrizio Fiorentino is a good substitute however, with a similar style that finishes the series in a consistent fashion. Another decent series, and especially considering that I hadn't expected much from it.

Moving on, next comes Deathstroke and Curse of the Ravager. This starts out promising, with two solid issues that set up an eclectic cast of villains that you begin to get invested in, giving the series an almost Secret Six-esque vibe, but with pirates. The art by Joe Bennett and Tony Shasteen is also excellent, being grim and gritty but having Deathstroke's trademark orange and blue pop off the page. It's a shame that it all falls apart in the final issue, both in art and story. Everything comes to a rushed conclusion that kills off the majority of the characters, and doesn't offer anything of substance bar some sex and explosions. The art also falls apart with artist Alex Massacci being a completely terrible fit after Shasteen and Bennett's two issues. His work is undetailed and blotchy, which just makes things worse. It had potential, but Deathstroke's mini-series isn't worth getting invested in the first two issues, given the trainwreck of a final issue. Also, the series title confuses me - what is the Curse of the Ravager?

Finally, the Secret Seven mini-series brings up the rear. This is a very odd mini-series that doesn't really seem to impact anything at all. If you read it, it does give away that the Enchantress will betray Flash and friends in the main series, but I think that may have happened already by the time this issue was released. This series centres around Shade, the Changing Man, as he tries to grapple with his madness and call his team, the Secret Seven, to help him fight for Cyborg's cause. Instead, we get three issues of Shade moping, and then some deaths, and an unsatisfying conclusion. It's really hard to pinpoint exactly what writer Peter Milligan was trying to do with this series, other than have an excuse to write one of his favourite characters again. Artistically, this is very strong, with the one and only George Perez on the first issue, assisted by Fernando Blanco, who manages to give a consistent performance on the latter two that would almost pass for Perez himself. This is the weakest of the four mini-series collected here, without a doubt, though the artwork is almost enough to save it.

Overall, this first companion trade is very much a mixed bag. Whilst the Batman and Deadman mini-series are excellent, Secret Seven and Deathstroke will drag the trades quality down due to their poor plot execution, and in Deathstroke's case, deteriorating art style. I can see this being a common theme as I review these trades; given how much is in them, it's unlikely that everything will be excellent.
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Reading Progress

03/29/2012 page 204
75.0% "Batman and Deadman were great. Deathstroke started well, and ended poorly. Just Secret Seven left."

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