What I thought of The Flash #22

It all ends and begins here! The DC Rebirth/Watchmen clustefuck hits a new level as the four-part ”The Button” storyline comes to a close with a cover featuring Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash promising the return of everything the New 52 cleaned out, but before we get there there’s a bit of matey banter between The Flash and Reverse-Flash, not to mention some prime product placement.

During all this Barry Allen mentions Hypertime, the Grant Morrison/Mark Waid idea that DC dabbled with in the 90’s to try to explain all the inconsistencies of their superhero universe.

Eventually the Reverse-Flash encounters the mysterious figure behind all of this (It’s Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen which we know anyhow), gets horribly killed and the Flash and Batman end up adrift in time and space heading towards an unknown voice.

That’ll be the Golden Age Flash.

However Barry and Bruce have no idea who Jay is because of that evil Dr. Manhattan chap and his big blue willy.

After Jay vanishes back into the ether, Barry and Bruce wrap things up while leaving things dangling, and talking about dangling, here comes Dr. Manhattan.

Which leads to the issue plugging November’s Doomsday Clock in which Superman and Dr. Manhattan will punch each other and ensure, once and for all, that nobody working at DC from Dan Didio to Geoff Johns actually read and understood Watchmen. As a roll of the creative dice this is a massive blank, but in terms of sales (and I speak now as someone diving back into the world of comics retail) this will sell books. They won’t be very good books but such is the power of Watchmen that it’ll propel DC along for a few years and then the novelty will have worn off.

See, Watchmen will continue to sell. It’s a classic book. Every time I read it I find something new in it. You will never, ever say that with Doomsday Clock. But hey, it’ll sell and in 2020 when this has all died down DC will try to work out what to do next and realise they’ve nothing left in their tank and creatively, they’ve worn out the bottom of the barrel but certain people will have kept their jobs which ultimately is what all this has been about…

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DC bring Watchmen into their universe so there can be big fights

DC Comics are releasing a mini-series where Superman (the first superhero as we know it) fights Dr. Manhattan from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen which is an adult orientated story that DC have been trying to exploit in this way for decades and now their dream is nearly complete as this series is being billed as the one that brings Watchmen fully into the DC Universe.

This is all part of the DC Rebirth event that started last year and now looks to close with a full-fledged fight between Superman, who looks like this currently…

And Dr. Manhattan who looks like this…

This is all being masterminded by Geoff Johns, a writer who is more popular, not to mention successful than his talent belies. Of course it’ll annoy people like myself who find the idea of integrating Watchmen into the DC Universe, but it shows the lack of creative thought at DC as make no mistake, this is a last throw of the dice for some people who want to retain their very well paid jobs.

As a piece of creative bankruptcy this is probably one which will pay off. Readers and speculators alike will be drawn to it in some cases in the same way one is drawn to a car crash on the motorway, but it’ll sell, it’ll save people’s jobs and it’ll sully the one piece of Alan Moore’s work for DC that DC’s not managed to shamelessly exploit. Question is though in a year or two when this is all settled what do DC do next if there’s nobody creating new works of the quality of Watchmen? Gimmicks are fine but they’re short term sales tricks and won’t help when people are bored of Superman punching Dr. Manhattan.

What I thought of Batman #22

The saga of DC incorporating Watchmen into the mainstream DC Universe continues with Batman #22 which follows the last issue of The Flash.

The Flash and Batman are stuck in the Flashpoint universe, which shouldn’t exist but it does mean Bruce Wayne can have a conversation with his father, Thomas Wayne who happens to be the Batman of the Flashpoint universe. Confused? Of course you are. I don’t even think DC know exactly what’s going on.

Essentially this issue is about Bruce and his father talking while all of Thomas’s enemies mass to end his life. Of course they have The Flash with them who could fight all of them at once but he’s busy rebuilding the Cosmic Treadmill.

As the army of Amazons descend upon the Batcave, there’s a fight (of course) and eventually The Flash repairs the Cosmic Treadmill but not before Thomas and Bruce share a tender moment.

However the Flashpoint universe is collapsing.

As Barry and Bruce enter into the timestream they end up entering it before the Reverse-Flash was killed so they meet him holding his Watchmen badge.

Thawne is running to his doom though he says he knows who is behind this all. As for the issue it’s a bit of a mess as regular writer Tom King has Joshua Williamson help with the plot, and with Williamson dealing with the script too the entire thing feels like an undercooked stew.

Still, next issue of The Flash sees this story come to a close as DC ramps up the integration of Watchmen so that Comedian versus Batman series some fans have been drooling about is nearly here..

What I thought of The Flash #21

When watching a car crash it’s said to happen in slow motion. Well, it doesn’t and DC’s attempt to integrate Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen into the DC Universe and blame it for all of DC’s fuckups continues from the last issue of Batman to the latest issue of The Flash. To be fair the issue starts well as being a fan of the Justice Society of America it is nice to see Johnny Thunder at the start of this issue.

However the issue picks up from Batman #21 with Barry Allen finding not just Batman having had the living shite beaten out of him by the Reverse Flash, but the corpse of the Reverse Flash.

This isn’t actually bad superhero comics. Barry Allen is a bit too draped in misery to be the Barry Allen I grew up with but this is all decent, even passable stuff. It just feels a tad forced but there is a nice scene between Barry and Bruce Wayne which allows both characters to breathe a bit.

During this chat Bruce reveals to Barry he saw his father in a vision.

It seems also that the Comedian’s badge from Watchmen didn’t return with the Reverse Flash,not to mention Barry’s been having visions of Jay Garrick’s helmet.

In this reality Jay Garrick (the original Golden Age Flash) never existed, but yet Barry can’t stop thinking about his helmet and how it makes him feel. There’s a suggestion a lot of things from the pre New 52 era of DC is about to make their return, and indeed, when Barry goes to the JLA’s Watchtower there’s clearly been some tweaking going on.

After some faffing around The Flash and Batman go off in search of the Comedian’s badge, or to be exact, where it came from. To do that Barry digs out the Cosmic Treadmill which takes him and Batman though time and space.

What they see are all the missing out of continuity stories DC decided to dump for one reason or another.

Barry and Bruce end up back in the Flashpoint universe with Bruce’s father who is the Batman of this universe. Confused? Of course you are if you’ve not got any idea of the history of DC Comics. and frankly, it’d have been easier to just reboot DC’s superhero titles from the start but being attached to continuity means this complex bollocks.

Still, it seems that DC are heading towards at least making things more accessible unlike Marvel who are stuck in a mess of their own making. Still, two more parts of this story arc to go and we might just be nearer that Batman-Rorschach team-up people have been wanking themselves into a frenzy for.

What I thought of Batman #1

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DC’s Rebirth event kicks on with another Batman #1,  this time written by Tom King and David Finch, a pretty good superhero comic artist. The mysterious two characters behind Batman and Commissioner Gordon are rumoured to be Nite Owl and Silk Spectre from Watchmen. Yes, that was a little bit of sick that came in your mouth as you read that but at least now DC are giving Bill Finger a co-credit for creating Batman.

As for the plot, Batman and Gordon are talking about stuff that’s happened in previous comics so those coming to this expecting a fresh start should look elsewhere or just wait til a plane gets hit by a missile.

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This launches into another example of Batman being able to do anything, something that started as a bit of an in-joke in Grant Morrison’s JLA book 20 years ago  but is now the case it seems that Batman rather than being a detective fighting injustice can do anything, and frankly, that makes Batman bloody pointless because the point of Batman is that he’s an ordinary person. The more extraordinary he becomes you make him Another Superhero.

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This isn’t dismal stuff. King shapes a well done action tale and Finch’s art is good solid superhero art with some excellent storytelling, an art missing from many of DC’s crop of artists. However we’re introduced at the end to the mysterious pair from the cover as Gotham and Gotham Girl. They’ve got Superman level super powers and there’s your cliffhanger for next issue…

Batman #1 isn’t the worst of the Rebirth titles I’ve read. It’s just average, sometimes thrilling, sometimes cliched, superheroics. That isn’t always a bad thing but this seems trapped in a limbo between the New 52 DC and whatever this ‘new’ DC is, but I do wish they’d drop the idea of Batman as a genius that can solve everything. It’s dull if we know that all the time Batman is going to win so make him vulnerable again and let him lose.

That however, is probably not going to happen in the shiny new revamped, even more corporate DC Comics…

 

What I thought of Titans: Rebirth #1

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The Teen Titans, or Titans are BACK!!! Sit down, control that excitement for a second as DC’s Rebirth even trundles on as it absorbs Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen into the regular DC Universe in an event that won’t be matched until the next big DC event. This issue by writer Dan Abnett and artist Brett Booth picks up the story of Kid Flash readjusting to the world after returning in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. 

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Wally West is being slowly remembered by those he meets and fight scenes erupt in this superhero-by-numbers tale from Dan Abnett, who at one time, was a decent writer, but anyhow, after some fairly dull pages of people fighting, Wally gets the rest of the Titans to remember him because of the Speed Force, something now used by writers to get themselves out of any hole they need.titansrebirth2

Wally explains to his mates that someone stole a decade of their lives, and the others suggest a Mister Twister as the culprit even though he sounds like a sexual deviant as opposed to a cosmic villain.

So Wally explains the person that stole ten years of his life is coming back to do it again and after talking for ages in some exceptionally average pages of art they decide to take the fight to them, but we know it’s Dr Manhattan from Watchmen, The one thing that becomes clear here is that DC are building up to a Big Revelation not to mention the horror of a Big Fight against Dr Manhattan is looming and that’d be horrendous.

Titans: Rebirth is a thin read. It’s an introduction to a new series that may or may not be fun, but the entire thing is just dull. It really is corporate superhero comics by numbers with no joy. Yes, there’s love for the characters there but its all so boring. This ultimately is just another cog in the wheel and it shows.