This is a historic week for comics with DC relaunching their universe with the New 52 Reboot. Naturally, even though there are reviews of these books everywhere, it never hurts to have more opinions on them so, in the interest of fairness we will have the ending and beginning of the DCU book ending this week’s very short installment of Bullet Reviews!
FLASHPOINT #5 of 5 (DC)
Flashpoint #5 is a historical issue in that it represents the final piece of the puzzle needed to complete the old DC Universe. This is where we say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. It almost certainly isn’t the send-off a lot of fans were hoping for, but I think it all made sense, especially if you look at the kind of hero Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) is: one who doesn’t want to see anyone die and will do whatever it takes to make things right. For the most part, this mini-series has been a fascinating look at what might have been. Particularly this universe’s Batman (a.k.a. Thomas Wayne). Despite his even grittier and more cynical Dark Knight – if that’s possible – he ultimately becomes the hero we want him to be, thanks to his love for his son, Bruce, who was fatally shot instead of him in this alternate reality. It’s up to Barry to stop Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, and correct the fractured reality he knows should never have been. We finally learn the reason everything is out of whack and, for me, it was very believable. You really feel for Barry, who carries the responsibility of making a life-or-death decision that will make your heart ache the way no single comic book issue has in a long time. Love it or hate it, Flashpoint was an ambitious event that had everyone talking. Speaking of which, there is a character in this issue who helps Barry correct the universe that will surely have most fans abuzz with speculation for quite a while. I won’t say much, but she is most interesting. You’ll know her when you see her and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ll admit, I’ve always had a strong liking of alternate reality stories, such as this one and Star Trek’s Mirror Universe. To me, the best comics stories are the ones that make you feel something and make you think. There’s plenty to consider here. There are also things that may surprise you. Namely, the last few pages. This story might even make you examine the decisions in your life and what you would or wouldn’t do if you were in Barry’s place. As I mentioned, this conclusion is probably not what most fans expected and not everyone will get what they want. Personally, I think it all rang true. Especially if you view it through the eyes of The Fastest Man Alive. Now begins… The 52! –Eric Scroggs
HELLRAISER #4 (BOOM!)
The story so far- Pinhead, the High Lord of the Cenobites, has grown tired of his existence. He wants to move on to something (seemingly anything) else. But in order to leave his station he must find his replacement. He picks the one human to ever defeat him, twice: Kirsty Cotton (as seen in the movies Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II). If he fails to get in his position then he will be forced to return to hell without his station and will be subjected to the tortures of hell.
His mission is set and then he sets things into motion. He uses a human to place the Box in specific places and, we assume, plants information that brings about the reunion of The Harrowers, a group of humans with special abilities that allow them to fight the Cenobites on their level. The final action, taking place last issue, was the killing of Cotton’s fiance!
Kirsty is hell-bent (no pun intended) on getting revenge and destroying Pinhead once and for all. This issue showcases their verbal confrontation where, in his way, Pinhead makes his intentions known and Kirsty is so angry she doesn’t pick up on it.
Overall, 4 issues in, this series is moving smoothly. It’s methodical like the first two movies were. I only consider the first two movies, after that, in my opinion, they weren’t worth being released on BETAMAX. –Skott Jimenez
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #626.1 (Marvel)
This issue takes place, as explained on the first page, ‘between panels 4 & 5 of page 21 of Journey Into Mystery #622‘ and finds young Loki wondering what the other Asgardians really think about him. To find out, he summons a being called The Teller who can tell you anything you wish to know. He learns what he already knew, the Asgardians from the Warriors Three to Odin, mistrust him but tolerate him because of their loyalty to Thor. They even openly question Thor’s intentions with bringing the Trickster back from the dead. Beyond that, Loki almost gets in over his head and, if not for the intervention of the Thunderer, he might not have survived his interaction with the Teller. In the end, he is honest with his intentions and makes a new enemy in the Teller, who it seems is also confused as to Loki’s true goals.
I have to wonder, again, what the point of these ‘point one’ issues are. Originally, they were a way to get new readers into a specific series by having a story that introduces readers to a series. So, what sense does it make to have a story that takes place between specific panels of an issue that came out 4 months ago? This issue was more of an Annual than anything else. A good, fun story that showcases why Journey Into Mystery is one of the best books Marvel is publishing today. Also, it was nice to finally have an issue without that god awful Fear Itself banner across half the cover. -Skott Jimenez
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 (DCnU)
It’s finally here! The issue DC Comics fans have been waiting to read for months with both anticipation and trepidation! Justice League #1– our first official look at the DCnU! To those worried about the new status of your favorite Justice Leaguers, I think this first issue should give you hope for what is to come. All of it feels very familiar, but there is something fresh, something more human about the dialogue. Dare I say, almost Marvel-like? Particularly the younger Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who is depicted even cockier than ever and spouting one-liners left and right. He was easily my favorite thing about this book. My absolute favorite line is his observation of Batman, shortly after their first meeting: “You’re not just some guy in a bat costume, are you? Are you freaking kidding me?!” One can’t help but wonder if this more jocular portrayal of Hal was inspired by the recent movie. If so, regardless of what you think of that film, it just works in this issue. At least it did for me. Similar to the way Geoff Johns had depicted their relationship and interaction in the old DC Universe, Hal and Batman butt heads right from the start. Yet, you can see these guys eventually becoming good friends. Speaking of The Dark Knight: For the most part, Batman is exactly as you remember him, sans the gray/black trunks. His fans should be happiest of all. We also get a look at a young athlete, named Victor Stone, who we all know will become the half-mechanical Cyborg and you get the idea that his relationship with his father is just as strained as in his original origin. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out in the issues to come. As for the rest of the League, they’re nowhere to be seen here, with the exception of the last page, which contains the intro of a certain member who fans are probably the most eager to learn about in the new universe. It’s the best moment of the book and certainly leaves you anticipating the next part of the story. A certain major villain is also hinted at, which promises an epic confrontation in the near future. I know I’m excited! Bottom line: If the rest of the 52 titles are anywhere near this entertaining, this relaunch should be a resounding success! -Eric Scoggs
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This week’s Contributors can be contacted directly at:
Eric Scroggs: EricScroggs@Comicbooked.com
Skott Jimenez: SkottOfFables@Comicbooked.com