Up until this point, it looked like the two “Flashpoint” mini-series focusing on Aquaman and Wonder Woman would be their own little self-contained story, bringing their saga to a rise and fall. Since it’s been little more than window dressing within “Flashpoint” itself, I think it’s been a reasonable assumption, doubly so with the utter lack of intersection between those mini-series and “Flashpoint.”
So with this issue? We’re told to tune into “Flashpoint” #4-5 to see how it all ends. Well, if you’re reading this comic, you’ve probably also read “Flashpoint” #4. And as a result, you know that virtually nothing with those two characters actually happens there.
But we’re skipping ahead a bit, although considering how (deliberately) out-of-order “Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman” is written, that’s somewhat apt. The last of the pieces of the Aquaman and Wonder Woman story are filled in with this issue, although by this point they’re pieces that were unnecessary. The death of Mera (telegraphed for the past two and a half months) is somehow less interesting than you can possibly imagine, and the confrontation between Aquaman and Wonder Woman where they finally compare notes is slightly lame.
Vicente Cifuentes switched from inks to pencils last month (so Ardian Syaf could get ready for next month’s relaunch of the DC Universe), and he once again does a good job in his new role. There are some slightly uneven moments-Aquaman looks surprisingly dopey for far too many panels, and that final panel of him is jaw-droppingly ridiculous-but I like that more often than not he’s able to get the regal, imperial nature of the character across on the page.
The book ends on a particularly sour note, though, with a slightly ham-handed “if only this timeline had gone differently” piece of narration. I understand that Tony Bedard is trying to tie this into the whole idea of the timeline gone wrong (and I appreciate that he’s making an effort that few people have tried), but it feels overwrought and intrusive in those final pages. It’s a bad final taste (and image) to close out the mini-series, and it in some ways sums up the vast majority of the “Flashpoint” experience. It was the road paved with good intentions, but ultimately it took us to a less than enjoyable destination.