Comic Reviews: Flashpoint, Flashpoint: Batman, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Uncanny X-Force

Another Good Arc Intro
Batman and Robin # 23 – The Streets Run Red, Part 1 of 3: Ins and Outs
And, I should mention, another cover that lies. (Been seeing a lot of those on the 2011 FF book) Anyway, I’m not sure how much of this sticks with the DCU Reboot/Refresh, but it looks like most of the current continuity does. (With changes like Barb being out of a wheelchair) But this arc definitely has time to end before September. It is low on action at first, but I think it sets up the characters’ motivations and actions quite well. As someone who knows the story of The Red Hood, but never read any of those books, it’s a great quick intro in why he is the way he is. I didn’t feel too bored and there were scenes where I was quite glad that there are now comics that are rated Teen so they could get into the rougher stuff. The news about the new DCU is that he’s going to have his own book and if he retains most of the characterization he has in this book, I’ll DEFINITELY have it on my pull list. In a way, he’s like the Batman of the Flashpoint universe – able to kill the bad guys rather than wait for the justice system. And so this sets him up for an interesting dynamic vs the bad guys, Nightwing, Batman, the other Robins, and Batgirl. I can’t wait.

Whaddaya Know? An Intro that Doesn’t Suck!
Uncanny X-Force # 11 – Dark Angel Saga, Chapter 1 Journey to the Age of Apocalypse
As I’ve been getting back into comics I’ve been reading a lot of story arc first issues. Most of them have been boring and annoying. This one, on the other hand, has been fun and exciting. I guess that’s to be expected when Wolverine’s on the team, but who knows. Another book is on my pull list. While I never read the Age of Apocalypse books (I think they were before my time) I am fully aware of that alternate universe. So it’s fun to get into it again, but this time with a really kick-butt set of heroes. At least, according to the book’s description, X-Force is like the X-Men’s CIA and that means less coddling of the bad guys. I’m definitely excited to see where this story goes.

Setup for a new arc
The Amazing Spider-Man # 663 – The Return of Anti-Venom, Part 1: The Ghost of Jean Dewolff; Infested Stage 4: Out of Nowhere; Thanks… But No Thanks
OK, so now Venom is a good guy – neat. Not sure when or why this happened as I’ve been away from comics for a long time, but it does setup an interesting rivalry for the coming books since Brock knows something Parker doesn’t. The story is your standard starting story arc content of “WTF?” and you can’t really tell how things are going to go. But I did add TAS to my pull list so we’ll see how this goes.

What I liked the most in this book was the bonus story at the end. Thanks…But No Thanks is a great story of Spider-Man trying to get back to his roots since he’s been spending so much time with The Avengers and FF. It’s a great story and I won’t ruin any of it with descriptions. If it were a little longer I’d say you should pick up this issue just to read that story

Spidey, the way I love him
The Amazing Spider-Man # 660 – Fantastic Voyage, Part 2; ; Infested, Stage 2: Great Power; Can’t Get the Service, Part 3
I was always a huge fan of the Spider-Man books and I was sad he wasn’t getting the speaking time his character really needs in the FF books. But here we have Spider-Man in all his witty glory. The first story got VERY confusing when everyone started changing powers because it became hard to keep track of who was who. The middle story that’s leading to Spider Island was meh. The last one with Ghost Rider was great. Again, I love when Spidey mouths off. I think I’ll be adding TAS to my pull list at the local shop.

The Batman We Always Wanted?
Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance # 1 – Part One
What makes Batman? To many, it’s the fact that he doesn’t kill his enemies. He rises above that. Even though he is a vigilante, above the law, he still tries to do things correctly. But who hasn’t grown frustrated at the inability of Arkham or Gotham’s prisons to hold Batman’s enemies? Who hasn’t wished that, just once, Batman would wipe that smirk off Joker’s face forever? Well, this Batman does! And it really makes me think about whether I find that cathartic or whether it just goes to prove that Batman is truly not Batman if he kills his enemies. At any rate, it must be fun for Azzarello to write the Batman of fanfiction author’s dreams. It’s an alt-reality where Thomas Wayne is Batman. And it’s a Batman who kills without remorse.

I love the first scene and I wish that went longer, stealing some panels from the Croc fight. Part of me wishes this Batman would get legs as a line of DC’s version of Marvel’s Ultimate. Maybe it will? Who knows. Given what this Batman says both in this book and in the main Flashpoint book, I wonder if the point of Flashpoint is to setup a One Fine Day or w/e Spider-man’s book was called where he lost his marriage to MJ. In exchange for leaving the evil world of Flashpoint, we have to reset history and DC gets their new #1s. Although, because of the way they’ve put out their press releases, maybe we get origin stories at the same time as continuing on with nice, mature super heroes? We’ll know in a few months. For now, enjoy this alternate Batman who gives in to his baser instincts.

Things are Picking Up
Flashpoint # 2 – Flashpoint: Chapter Two of Five
Clearly this Flashpoint series is meant to be a hub for all the many, many other books in the Flashpoint series as it bounces around to different narratives. It’s also the main story for The Flash. It picked up a bit more than the previous one and has a bit more narrative punch. With the next one we’ll be smack in the middle and I expect things to pick up a lot more. It was revealed in the previous issue that this world’s Batman is darker – actually lets people die. I think this issue really made him seem real. The way he comes to decide whether or not to help The Flash seems very much in character. I can’t wait for both the next Flashpoint issue and the Flashpoint Batman issue