Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope and Alex Sinclair
Letters by Nick J Napolitano
Published by DC Comics
Review by Colin Bell
Remember when Flashpoint was just a universe-altering crossover event and everyone just assumed its conclusion would be a tidy reset back to the status quo for the DC Universe? Happy days.
With the dawning of "the new 52", rightly or wrongly there's now a crushing weight of expectation that's been placed on Flashpoint to not only deliver a Summer event, but also adequately set up a whole new continuity. It's an unenviable situation that writer Geoff Johns finds himself in, and after a fun start followed by a mostly meandering second issue, he's left with three issues to stick a landing that will be going down in DC history whether it's a success or a failure. In fact, probably moreso if it's a failure. For all my doom-mongering, if Johns is feeling the pressure, it certainly doesn't show in Flashpoint #3 because it looks like he's just having the time of his life playing with expectations and people's perceptions of well-known characters, and it's hard not to get carried away with him.
Whereas last issue was mostly an exercise in world-building, here Johns manages to balance further exploration of the strange new world Barry Allen finds himself in with a progressive plot. Allen and Batman (played here by Bruce Wayne's dad) deal wth the consequences of last issue's failed experiment, in a manner so brisk that you wonder what the point of issue 2's end was. From there the band is put back together, or at least a variation of the band, and we continue to see altered takes on established heroes, one of which that came with an emotional impact that I found truly haunting.
Elsewhere, with surprising appearances from characters you wouldn't expect, tidbits of the new status quo of the DC universe are beginning to seep in. It's exciting to see developments like this, and it's genuinely entertaining to watch this freewheeling and surprising plot unfurl, even though there's a slight lack of genuine character motivation in some of the actions of its characters.
Andy Kubert remains in top form here, getting the chance to use his art to showcase the Flash in two particularly fine "hero" moments, one of which had been a long time coming. I suspect that it's the emaciated take on a fan-favourite character that will prove to be the lasting memory of this issue, and it's deserved as Kubert knocks it out the park and gives this character an eerie, otherworldly presence while still conveying the fear that they experience through their posture and expressions.
My only concern just now is that it's slightly worrying that it still feels as if we're barely out of the first act of Flashpoint when we're past the midpoint, with just two issues left. An Amazonian/Atlantean war that's been heavily foreshadowed is a lot to wrap up in conjunction with the Flash's attempts to save the day, and bear in mind there's yet to be an appearance of a de facto villain for the story. On the other hand, if all that means is that the last two issues are going to be dense, action-packed finale as Johns tries to tie this all up, then perhaps everything's going to be just fine. Potential Flash fact.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!