This series brings the very best of what something like the "Flashpoint" concept has to offer: new characters and re-imagined characters existing in an entertaining story. Although it has only been three issues, "The Outsider" has brought together such fan-favorite concepts as Mr. Terrific, Black Adam, and Martian Manhunter as only James Robinson could thread them together. Robinson left those three characters largely recognizable, although their allegiances and attitudes may have been altered to fit this universe.
When I first saw the cover artwork for "The Outsider," I immediately presumed that this was going to be a "Flashpoint" flavored version of Metamorpho. I was wrong and I'm glad to admit it. Of all the characters introduced as part of the "Flashpoint" adventure, Michael Desai is the one I hope to meet again sometime following the September relaunch. This is the kind of character the DC Universe has desperately needed more of. Outsider is not a one-note villain, nor is he a foil to any one hero, but he does have the potential to best them all.
He puts a thumping on the "Flashpoint" version of J'onn J'onzz that J'onzz is going to remember for a long time, regardless of how this whole "Flashpoint" thing shakes out into the new DC Universe.
James Robinson has a great way of crafting stories and weaving timelines throughout single issues. This series has shown that to the extreme and it has also helped flesh out the strange new universe of "Flashpoint," just as Robinson has added depth to the universe surrounding Starman (the legacy moreso than any single character who has brandished cosmic rod or colorful garb) and "Justice League of America."
Through it all, Javi Fernandez draws up a story that transcends singular labeling - with washes, zip-a-tone, and heavy inks - to give this story a raw, exposed appearance not unlike road rash. This is a pretty, ugly book in much the same way that Desai is a character you love to hate. If Desai makes his way to the post-relaunch comic book racks, I'd be happy to see Fernandez come with him.
This series does what all series (regardless of their connectivity to events) should do: it told a good story, with interesting characters, and exciting art. More please, I say.
On the downside of this book, I did find the cliffhanger pointing over to "Flashpoint" #5 to be rather uninspired, but it didn't surprise me in any way, shape, or form. This is, after all, a small slice of the mega-epic, summer-blockbuster, marketing machine DC pumped out under the "Flashpoint" banner.
I just hope they learn something from this series.