GET TO THE FLASHPOINT, Week 8: Wonder Woman, Deadman, Outsider, 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 second issues of
- Wonder Woman and the Furies by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Agustin Padilla and Jose Aviles
- Deadman and the Flying Graysons by J.T. Krul and Fabrizio Fiorentino
- The Outsider by James Robinson and Javi Fernandez
- Legion of Doom by Adam Glass, Rodney Buscemi and Jose Marzán, Jr.
With the San Diego Comic-Con now over and most attendees still wishing they lived in an alternate timeline where science had invented a pill that rejuvenates the human body with the equivalent of a full night's sleep, we now return to our regular Flashpoint coverage.
WONDER WOMAN AND THE FURIES #2
Headlining last week's books was Abnett and Lanning's Wonder Woman and the Furies, the latest viewpoint on the Amazon-Atlantis war that's growing more and more centrally important to the summer event. And there's a lot of backstory on that war here.
The book starts with a bit of jumbled timeline. First we see a flashback from 14 years ago, shortly after Wonder Woman first came to Atlantis, shortly before she returned home and announced her political marriage with Aquaman. Then events jump to one year ago, at Queen Hippoltya's funeral following her assassination at Aquaman and Wonder Woman's wedding, meaning they were engaged for 13 years or so. Maybe Diana couldn't make up her mind about whether to wear pants or not as part of her wedding ensemble.
Following the funeral, the Atlanteans come to try to negotiate peace on Themyscira. Penthesilea, Diana's aunt, uses this as an opportunity to blow up parts of the island, making the Atlanteans look responsible. Wonder Woman strikes out at Aquaman, giving him the scar he's been sporting throughout Flashpoint. The Amazons flee the island in their fleet of invisible planes, triggering the volcano to sink Themyscira into the ocean, sacrificing their ancient homeland in order to condemn the Atlanteans stuck there to sink into the water where they all live and breathe comfortably all the time.
The Amazons seek sanctuary in the United Kingdom. When they're refused, they conquer the country. Mera and a small group of Atlanteans attack the Amazons. Wonder Woman kills Mera. Aquaman gets so angry he uses his Geo-Force-in-a-box superweapon and attempts to sink all of Western Europe. It is never really clear why these two sides decide to fight each other by not fighting each other but killing all the regular humans instead. Presumably it's part of Penthesilea and company's secret conspiracy to conquer the rest of the world, but that's a reveal we'll have to wait for in a later issue.
DEADMAN AND THE FLYING GRAYSONS #2
The Amazon-Atlantis war also stretches into the pages of Krul and Fiorentino's Deadman and the Flying Graysons. Last issue left off on a cliffhanger, with a squad of flying Amazons tracking down the helm of Nabu in the possession of Kent Nelson, who was part of a traveling circus including Deadman, the Graysons, Ragdoll and King Shark.
Issue two opens on the the Amazons attacking the circus mid-performance and causing Dick Grayson's mother, Mary, to suffer a fatal fall. Everyone else flees except King Shark, who fights back by biting an Amazon around the hips in such a way as to show off her ass directly toward the viewer. The two then kill each other, the Amazon punching through Shark's jaw while he bites her.
(After last week's "sexy death" of Siren in the second issue of Emperor Aquaman, which also featured a "sexy dead" Mera on the cover, I'm noticing a pattern. Please stop going out of your way to pose women as sexily as possible at the moment of their deaths. It's super creepy. Don't do it anymore. Thanks.)
Following the loss of King Shark, the survivors also lose Kent Nelson, who takes a spear through the chest that also severely wounds Dick's father John Grayson. But then they're rescued by Vertigo. I don't mean the story suddenly morphs into a captivating 60-issue fantasy/supernatural/crime serial, I mean Count Vertigo, the DC Universe villain who's working for the resistance and has been sent to stop the Amazons from getting Nabu's helmet.
With Vertigo, Dick Grayson, Deadman and Ragdoll safely in hiding, the wounded John Grayson asks Deadman to promise to look after Dick. Deadman would rather not honor the dying father's wish because he is a jerk. Later, the Amazons bring in Starfire to burn the village down. The helm, after all, will survive the fire and can be found afterward in pristine condition. Starfire's Flashpoint outfit is one of the most ridiculously revealing I think I've ever seen for this character, who has a long tradition of ridiculously revealing costumes. But the flame motifs built into it are actually a nice touch.
THE OUTSIDER #2
Robinson's The Outsider continues to be an ambitious book with more story than easily fits into a three-issue series. Michael Desai, having recently survived an assassination attempt, tries to figure out which of his many enemies is behind this latest attempt to kill him. The most likely candidate, as we're shown through a flashback, is Black Adam. Desai figured out a way to cancel Black Adam and Isis's powers and used this as part of a ploy to rob Kahndaq of its natural resources, on behalf of his shady international empire. But when he goes to track down Black Adam, Desai discovers this was all a ruse by Blackout to trap Desai by making him think Adam was responsible for the attempt on his life. And Blackout isn't Blackout, he's J'onn J'onzz.
So a character who is still largely a mystery to us thought he was being attacked by a character who was briefly explained to be his enemy, only to have it turn out to actually be a completely different character who hasn't been introduced to the series yet and apparently has a past grudge with Desai which we know absolutely nothing about, who was disguised as a third character entirely who has only a vaguely-hinted-at past with Desai.
There might be an interesting story here but about 90% of it is happening off the page in events we're not shown.
LEGION OF DOOM #2
Legion of Doom is a failed attempt at a gritty superhero prison drama that's like Ultimatum if Ultimatum wasn't written as well. Telling the story of Heatwave's attempt to escape from a maximum security detention facility for supervillains, the book takes its greatest pleasure in trying to find ever more inventively gruesome ways to kill its characters.
Opening with a page where Heatwave has set Mr. Zsasz's head on fire, it's all downhill from there. Heatwave is helped in his escape attempt by Plastic Man, who's a sadistic jerk that was smuggled into prison inside another unfortunate and now deceased prisoner. The prison politics in the facility involve two rival gangs, one of meta-human prisoners and one of normal human supervillains, and Heatwave needs to get by the metas to get out. Their leader, Atomic Skull, orders Animal Man to fight Heatwave because Animal Man has been wrongfully imprisoned for the deaths of his family and he's gone a little crazy. Heatwave bites off Animal Man's nose and then kills him by stomping on his head on a stone floor.
Amazo shows up to quell the prison revolt, but it turns out that Amazo's actually being piloted by the Atom, who's lost a leg to radiation poisoning and seems to be stuck at about the size of an action figure because he never makes an attempt to get any bigger, not even when Heatwave ends his interrogation by crushing the Atom's head in between his thumb and forefinger (an image complete with blood bursting out of the Atom's nostrils and mouth!).
Later this week: Project Superman, Lois Lane and the Resistance, Kid Flash Lost and Hal Jordan.