GET TO THE FLASHPOINT, Week 12 – Wonder Woman, The Outsider, Abin Sur, Legion of Doom
Flashpoint is DC Comics' summer event of 2011 that promises to change the DC Universe unrecognizably until the event's climactic finale, when the DC Universe will instead be left changed somewhat recognizably. In support of the event, DC is releasing 60+ issues of comic books across 22 titles in just three months. You'd have to be deranged to expend the time, effort and money to follow it all, but fortunately for you, ComicsAlliance has never been particularly whole in the sanity department. Over the next few months we'll be reading every single Flashpoint tie-in so we can tell you what you need to know. There are bound to be some good ones and we'll recommend them to you. The rest of them may contain some facts you'll need to make sense of what's going on in the overall Flashpoint, and we'll help you piece that together as well.
This week in Get to the Flashpoint, we look at the final issues of
- Wonder Woman and the Furies by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Agustin Padilla and Jose Aviles
- The Outsider by James Robinson and Javi Fernandez
- Abin Sur: The Green Lantern by Adam Schlagman, Robson Rocha and Felipe Massafera
- Legion of Doom by Adam Glass, Rodney Buchemi and Jose Marzán, Jr.
WONDER WOMAN AND THE FURIES #3
The cover of this book shows Aquaman and Wonder Woman fighting with the tag line "The Fight of the Century!" Isn't that what this, the third and final issue of the series, should be about, I can hear you ask? To which I say, ha ha, of course not! Nowhere is the expression "You can't judge a book by its cover" more literally true than in the comics industry. All we see of that fight is a two-page spread at the end of the book. If you wanted to see what happens on the cover of this issue, you should have bought Flashpoint #4-5. That should be obvious.
The final issue of Wonder Woman and the Furies book gives us more background on Penthesilea and Orm's nefarious plot to undermine Arthur and Diana, and it is an evil scheme that gets dumber every time they reveal another detail about it. In last week's Emperor Aquaman, Wonder Woman revealed that she discovered Orm and Penthesilea kissing in her headquarters after Orm was sent into London on a secret Atlantean mission. That is exactly what we see here: Orm and Penthesilea just stopping for some serious makeout time in the middle of a large, well-lit room in the Amazon's headquarters, standing over the corpse of Siren, who Penthesilea just killed. There is absolutely no attempt whatsoever to hide it, yet Penthesilea is surprised when Diana finds her like this. Also, the entire compound is on alert because all the Amazons are looking for the two Atlantean infiltrators, you know, the one Penthesilea just killed and the one she is currently kissing.
Anyway, Penthesilea proceeds directly into her crazy rant about how she wanted the Amazons to be a strong warrior people and some sacrifices had to be made. Wonder Woman then sets an ineffectual group of guards on her and leaves to confront Aquaman in the scene we saw last week. That confrontation takes place on one of the many ships that Orm promptly blows up with the explosive detonator button he's allowed to keep hidden on his gauntlet because the guards are grossly incompetent. As Orm and Penthesilea kill those same guards to escape, we see the backstory of their plot:
When Arthur and Diana announced their intention to unite Atlantis and the Amazons through marriage, Orm and Penthesilea were pissed. They were proud of the long warrior tradition of their two nations, and were unhappy at the peaceful tone the new union was taking. The two conspired to undermine the alliance by framing the Atlanteans for the assassination of an Amazon leader (Diana was the target, but her mother took the spear for her). In the chaos that followed, Orm and Penthesilea positioned themselves as leaders of their respective peoples and brought about the apocalyptic war against which our story now takes place, and which has naturally caused enormous casualties on both sides.
How is that in any way a good idea? Why is Orm blowing up all the ships in his own fleet if he values his warriors so much? Why is Penthesilea murdering her own guards (who seem to be about as good at fighting as at guarding)? Why did these two geniuses decide the best person to frame would be each other? This is a plan so terrible that only Cobra Commander could have made it worse.
THE OUTSIDER #3
In the Flashpoint universe, J'onn J'onzz was brought to Earth by an experiment conducted by Dr. Erdel under the supervision of the Outsider's massive organization. Erdel died in the process, and J'onn was subsequently sold to Russia. He was experimented on in the hopes that Russia could compete with the U.S. government's Project Superman. Instead, J'onn escaped alongside an imprisoned Black Adam back to Adam's home of Kahndaq. J'onn betrayed Adam, and then used the identities of Black Adam and Blackout as red herrings to lure the Outsider into the open. J'onn blames Michael Desai for bringing him to Earth and turning him into a tortured and twisted creature with no goodness left in him. Plus he's getting paid a large sum of money by either the Amazons or the Atlanteans to take Desai out, he won't say who.
They fight, and even though J'onzz has super strength and flight and can read minds, the Outsider wins because his name is in the book's title. He uses a device that strongly resembles but is legally distinct from Doctor Who's sonic screwdriver to trap half of J'onzz in one of the Multiverse's 52 realities and the other half in another. When J'onzz refuses to tell him who's paying to get the Outsider killed, Desai shuts the portal, leaving half a dead Martian corpse in two realities.
The Outsider's awareness of the 52 DC realities seemed kind of jarring. It was a blatant reminder of DC having 51 other realities it views as "less real" than the one which has been affected by Flashpoint, because that same fate is coming for Desai in about two weeks when DC relaunches its entire superhero line. But for now Desai pledges to join Batman and Cyborg's fight against the Amazons and Atlanteans in order to find out who's out to kill him.
As such, Flashpoint has now added yet another story that's "to be concluded" in Flashpoint #5. Is there really going to be enough space to offer a satisfying conclusion to each of these tales while at the same time launching the new DC Universe? Is DC really need to entice people who've read all three parts of Flashpoint's tie-ins like this into buying the last issue of the main event book?
ABIN SUR: THE GREEN LANTERN #3
When last we saw Abin Sur, his right hand had been grotesquely severed during a fight against power-hungry Green Lantern Thaal Sinestro. Sinestro has been told the prophecy of Flashpoint, knows the Flash is on Earth, and knows that he can use The Flash to change the universe as he wishes. Abin Sur is stunned by this sudden betrayal, because if you can't trust a guy with a Satan mustache and Satan ears and a Satan haircut and a name that roughly translates as "evil", really who can you trust?
Fortunately Abin Sur's willpower turns out to be so strong that he can summon his power ring from his severed hand and use it to make a new hand with which to crush Sinestro's ring. With no time to lose, Abin flies off to save the world. But the Guardians just want him to take the white entity and leave the Earth to its fate. One drastic change in art style later, they strip Sur of his position with the Green Lanterns, leaving him with only what power remains in his ring before it will be useless forever.
Sur arrives at the climactic Flashpoint beatdown in London, where Cyborg asks him to destroy the Atlantean geo-force bomb threatening to tear the world apart. Abin is apparently killed in the process, as his green power ring leaves to find a replacement. And even though Flashpoint #4 suggested Hal Jordan was dead, I'm still thinking there's a slim possibility that ring makes it to a still-alive Hal in time for next week's Hal Jordan book, also written by Adam Schlagman. Abin, meanwhile, has a vision of his dead sister and is then brought back to life by the white entity as the White Lantern. Abin is ordered by the entity to save the world, something he'll do in the pages of . . . everybody say it together now . . . Flashpoint #5.
LEGION OF DOOM #3
The Legion of Doom tie-in was in its first two issues about Heatwave and evil Plastic Man killing people in ways as gruesome as possible. Unsurprisingly, this issue opens with Plastic man ripping a guy's heart out through his mouth and stabbing another guy's eyes out with pointy plastic fingers. Those guys, if you care, are Sportsmaster and Lock-Up, respectively. These kills actually happen because Plastic Man has decided Heatwave's plan to crash the flying supervillain prison into the city of Detroit goes too far. Heatwave responds by melting Plastic Man alive.
Cyborg rushes to the defense of Detroit and brings the prison down into the river instead of onto the city. But enough of the prisoners survive -- including Heatwave, who picks up Cyborg's own severed cybernetic arm and proceeds to beat him with it until Cyborg pulls a move from the playbook of Futurama's Bender Bending Rodriguez. Yes, it turns out Cyborg still has control of the unattached limb, and he defeats Heatwave.
Next we see of Heatwave back in jail and given a new cellmate who's smuggled in a familiar flexible man inside his stomach, one who's come after Heatwave looking for revenge. On that thoroughly bloody scene we finally bid farewell to this mess of gore and fire that's rightfully earned its place as the worst of Flashpoint's many tie-ins.
Next week - The Flashpoint tie-ins come to an end with the conclusions of Project Superman, Lois Lane and the Resistance, Hal Jordan and Kid Flash Lost.