After an initial reading, I was ready to dismiss the “Flashpoint: Reverse-Flash” one-shot.
Visually, I found it mostly unappealing. Joel Gomez’s figures are blocky and stiff, two adjectives that shouldn’t be applied to a comic about the Reverse-Flash and the Flash. Despite the fact that so much of the comic has the Reverse-Flash whipping through space and time, zooming around the world, there’s a lack of energy in these pages. While I don’t mind a slightly deconstructed look, it’s a style that clashes heavily with the plot of the comic. It’s a mismatch of talent, and that’s a shame for all parties involved.
The saving grace, visually, is Brian Buccellato’s colors, which are rich and vibrant, often trying to provide a little pep where Gomez’s art did not. When we see Barry Allen’s origin, it’s the hot reds and oranges and whites that make the image leap out at the reader; the glow of the chemicals in the test tubes make it interesting, not the shapes; the patterning of the colors to form a background where there wasn’t one already provided. He goes well above and beyond in this issue to make it come together the best he can, and it’s a testament to his talent.
Scott Kolins’ story seemed rather ordinary at first. We already saw in the recent Reverse-Flash spotlight how he hates the Flash so much that he’s using time travel to try and wipe him out. Here, we get a reminder that there are some things that the Reverse-Flash simply cannot do because it would create a grandfather paradox. (Where your manipulations would wipe yourself out, in short.) It’s a series of scenes reiterating information that readers of “Flash” already know, and while it’s good to bring it up for non-readers, it does make a slightly unexciting story.
Or rather, it’s unexciting until you think about what Kolins has just shown us in this comic. We learn here that if the Reverse-Flash tries not only to kill Barry, but even to try to keep Barry from getting his powers, it won’t go through because it would unmake the Reverse-Flash. Except, of course, in “Flashpoint” we’ve got Barry Allen without any powers. So either this comic has a fundamental flaw at its core – which I sincerely doubt – or Kolins is hinting to the reader that something else is going on with Barry Allen’s real status in the world of “Flashpoint.”
It’s this nugget that is clearly the most interesting part of “Flashpoint: Reverse-Flash.” Maybe it will turn out to be nothing, but it’s certainly a more pleasant conclusion to walk away with, rather than an image of the Reverse-Flash about to kill Barry Allen’s mother. (Of course, “Flashpoint” has that moment now undone, but that’s neither here nor there.) And, if nothing else, it’s nice to have a potential big hint buried in one of the tie-in comics. Makes you wonder what else is waiting to be uncovered in the various mini-series, right? Happy hunting…