Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #1

"My name is Heatwave. I've got a hunger burning in my gut. The only way to stop it... is to satisfy my appetite!"

No, really. Those are the opening lines to "Flashpoint: Legion of Doom" #1. And sadly, it isn't happening right as Heatwave sits down to eat a particularly delicious sandwich. Instead, it leads up to Heatwave setting Jason Rusch on fire while shouting, "Burn baby, burn!" And if you're cringing now, we haven't even started on Heatwave's speech about how he'd marry fire if he could, and loves the way it looks and smells.

In other words, Adam Glass's script for "Flashpoint: Legion of Doom" #1 is less than ideal. The sad thing is that in terms of an overall plot, it's not bad. It's a very standard story (Heatwave gets sent to prison and is put on death row, then slowly enacts his plan to try and escape) with a few minor flaws, but it's reasonable. (Aside from the idea that Heatwave would have flammable pouches on his outfit-how stupid is this guy supposed to be?-or that prisons just leave containers of flammable cleaning fluid sitting around in bathrooms.)

The dialogue, though, is a mess. It's clunky and old-fashioned, and it distracts from the overall reading experience. It's too bad because a strong script polish could have fixed that problem, without needing to redraw any part of the comic. With all of the cheesy dialogue, it hinders the chances of you getting interested in Heatwave as a character. He's not just a villain; he's a slightly annoying one.

Rodney Buchemi and Jose Marzan Jr. do their best here, and it's all right but not quite up to the standards of some of the other "Flashpoint" mini-series. Buchemi's best with faces here; it's when we pull back to the rest of the bodies that things get a little iffy. Jason on fire, in particular, makes no sense; with the amount of time for dialogue as we see him reaching out, for instance, it's hard to ignore that Ronnie could have just grabbed his hand and turned themselves back into Firestorm and saved him. With some tweaks in the panel progression, this could have been easily fixed. And while I understand that they need to keep the art from looking too gruesome, the burns on Heatwave look more like he's been attacked by a parasitic sponge than any sort of scar tissue. Still, he handles the disturbing final scene well, and I think there's potential here, just one that needs a little lift here and there.

"Flashpoint: Legion of Doom" #1 is ultimately a not-impressive start to the mini-series. We've had much better ones already, and if anything this makes me less enthused for Glass's upcoming "Suicide Squad" in September. Maybe the remaining two parts will pick up the quality, but overall it's a rocky first issue. With some minor fixes this could have been much better.

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