REVIEW: ‘Flashpoint Beyond,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Flashpoint Beyond #2 - But Why Tho

Flashpoint Beyond #2 is published by DC Comics, written by Geoff Johns, Tim Sheridan, and Jeremy Adams, art by Xermanico and Mikel Janín, colours by Romulo Fajardo Jr and Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Rob Leigh. In Flashpoint, Thomas Wayne searches for answers as to why the timeline still exists. That means paying a visit to Arkham Asylum and The Psycho-Pirate.

The plot of this issue is something very new. It is a mystery unlike many others, containing many smaller ones within it. It is rare to see a character within a universe try and investigate why that universe is still existing. Very few answers are given in Flashpoint Beyond #2. Instead, it expands the world itself. The pacing is slow, perhaps too slow at times, but the writers are trying to submerge the book in the glum, hopeless atmosphere that has been created. Some of the scenes go on too long in my opinion but it does feature many intense moments. There are twists in this comic that are shocking in their sudden revelation. Others could have been seen coming, but their execution is fantastic. There is one fight scene, one that is incredibly common within comics. Perhaps it is the most cliched superhero fight scene, especially in Batman, but the reason for it and the commentary alongside it makes it impressive.

Whilst the plot isn’t amazing, the main character’s impact on the entire tone of the comic is both impressive and fascinating. Batman knows that Flashpoint was created by mistake. He knows about Earth-Prime. He knows about Crises and that there is a world where his son lives. So in his mind, nothing that happens in this timeline matters. This is a recurring mantra that is repeated over and over, his personality dulled. That hopelessness and utter nihilism is what drains the energy from the book. And whilst it’s a great example of instilling atmosphere into a comic and how it resonates, it deadens the reaction to the events in the book. However, this is likely to change given the hinting of something different on the final pages.

The art remains incredible. That defeated feeling that embodies the protagonist of the book is captured brilliantly in his body language and facial expressions. He remains in the same position for almost the entire issue. Xermanico has him stand tall, displaying his immense size, but he has a dejected, blank look on his face that depicts his utter lack of reaction to anything he sees. And considering there are some grizzly sights inside Flashpoint Beyond #2, that is surprising. A crime scene is brutal and messy. But one inmate does something so sudden and visceral that I couldn’t help but flinch away from the page. The lack of movement in the issue is released in the final fight. The artists create a claustrophobic feeling through the fight with thin panels, but inside them is a heap of events that no one can escape from. The savage, unrelenting fighting style of Batman is unleashed brilliantly. Janín draws two excellent pages in this comic, and the transition between the artists is almost imperceptible and seamless.

The colours are gorgeous even when displaying horror. The balance between light and darkness is stunning. There is often a point of light that radiates outwards, leaving shadows in the corners. The silhouetting of certain figures at the centre of this beacon of light is used multiple times for an incredible effect. The lettering is easy to read and is used to brilliantly accentuate volume at times.

Flashpoint Beyond #2 is static but atmospheric. As a story, there are many points where it doesn’t succeed. The emotional weight of Batman’s mental surrender is heavy, which is not necessarily a negative. But that is twinned with the slow pace which just bogs the issue down. There is slightly too much standing around and looking at things while discussing what has happened or what is to unfold. Thomas Wayne and the other characters in Flashpoint are interesting to know, and the differences from Earth-Prime are getting bigger. And the art is sensational. But the overall negativity of the book does not make it enjoyable to read.

Flashpoint Beyond #2 is available where comics are sold.


Flashpoint Beyond #2
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TL;DR

Flashpoint Beyond #2 is static but atmospheric. As a story, there are many points where it doesn’t succeed. The emotional weight of Batman’s mental surrender is heavy, which is not necessarily a negative. But that is twinned with the slow pace which just bogs the issue down. There is slightly too much standing around and looking at things while discussing what has happened or what is to unfold. Thomas Wayne and the other characters in Flashpoint are interesting to know, and the differences from Earth-Prime are getting bigger. And the art is sensational. But the overall negativity of the book does not make it enjoyable to read.