With planet Earth on the brink of total destruction, Professor Zoom finally reveals himself and tells Barry the shocking secret of the Flashpoint world. As old heroes and new friends unite to save a dying world, does Barry Allen have what it takes to sacrifice the one thing he truly wants for the greater good? Only Time will tell…
“It all changes here!”
So says the cover of Flashpoint #5, and boy they weren’t kidding. Obviously, as we knew months ago, the whole DC universe is changing as a result of this story, ushering in the era of DCnU, high collars and armor on everybody!
But the real ‘change’ that shocked the hell out of me was the one that makes me look at this story and its main hero in a whole new light. Because, you see, the secret of Flashpoint is that…
It wasn’t Zoom who went back in time and changed history. It was Barry Allen!
That’s right, Barry is the real villain of the story. It seems that after all the psychological mind-freaks Zoom has hit Barry with since bringing him back finally took their toll, leading an emotionally vulnerable Barry to say “screw it” and try to rewrite history and bring his mother back. Now the “Road To Flashpoint” issues of Flash make a little more sense as well, as Geoff Johns was laying the foundation for Barry’s actions here.
This issue had a lot of stuff to do, and surprisingly, it did it all pretty well. The War between Atlantis and the Amazons reached its climax, with heroes like Superman and the Resistance finally arriving to help. It was all pretty quick, but again, why spend time on a world that is about to blow itself up in 5 minutes and won’t ever have existed in 6?
After spending all five issues hanging out with Barry, the Thomas Wayne Batman finally does something and puts an end to Zoom just when he achieves ‘godhood.’ His note to Bruce at the end is a little sappy, especially since under Grant Morrison, Bruce has already moved past his parents deaths and become less obsessive about it. But I guess you could just say it was more about giving Thomas closure than Bruce.
The revelation that Barry was responsible for both Flashpoint and the changes of DCnU make a certain amount of sense. It was Barry Allen who “created” the Silver Age of comics, ushering in a new era of superheroes. So it’s only fitting that he does so again here. And unlike Hal Jordan’s shenanigans in Zero Hero, or Alex Luthor and Superboy Prime in Infinite Crisis, Barry’s goal here was not to FIX the whole world, but just to make one little change for himself.
The most intriguing thing to me about the issue is the identity of the mysterious woman in the time stream who is explaining to Barry what’s happening as he tries to undo his mess. She reminds me of a good version of the Time Trapper from Legion mythology, and her speech about reuniting the three timelines (DC, Wildstorm and, I’m guessing here, Vertigo?) so that they can all stand against some mysterious new threat was awesome, and made it seem like Barry’s actions have all worked out for the best.
For years now, DC has been telling stories about continuity. It seems like every major event is an excuse to FIX the world’s history, which usually creates more problems, needing more fixes, etc. Flashpoint seems to be a story about what happens when you keep trying to fix continuity. Hopefully this last time-screw will be the LAST one for a long time, with the DCU finally streamlined and the current Powers That Be given a chance to create their own world from scratch.
Flashpoint is over and the world starts again. Brave New World and all that. Now let’s go see what it has to offer, shall we?