Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint #1

Poor, poor Traci Thirteen. She didn't exactly have the best life before all this "Flashpoint" hoo-hah, and she certainly doesn't have a great life in the pages of this book. Tortured by the deaths of millions -- especially the demise of her mother and brothers -- Traci practices magic, catching glimpses of a world she thinks she remembers. Those glimpses are fleeting, and the world she lives in is on the verge of utter destruction as the Amazons and Atlanteans prepare to escalate their war.

Rex Ogle gives us a believably troubled young Traci Thirteen. Vexed by her visions, she seeks out the counsel of Madame Xanadu. To this point, so much of this story is familiar to long-term readers of the DC line, but the underlying threat of destruction comes from a source that once would have been labeled "heroic." This sets Traci upon the path to seek out heroes.

I'm not sure why this title was deemed worthy of the "World of Flashpoint," save for the fact that Traci's father belongs to the H.I.V.E. Council. Among their roster are such noteworthy names as August General in Iron, Red Star, Ra's al Ghul, Kimiyo Hoshi, and Captain Nazi. That roster, coupled with the display of the "Flashpoint" world map, makes a pretty thin argument for the title, but I suppose "World of Flashpoint" is a little more catchy than "Flashpoint: Traci 13."

Regardless, there's a dramatic shift in the art from Eduardo Francisco to Paulo Siqueira roughly two-thirds through this issue. While Siqueira has less to show for the tag team effort, his style is more sleek and polished than Francisco's. Siqueira draws Traci's discovery of the H.I.V.E. Council's secret vote while Francisco gives us the free-fall of the world around Traci that leads to that point. Francisco's style is more gritty, filled with extra lines and shading. It serves the setting of the dismal world quite nicely.

The characters presented in this issue are less compelling than their "true" counterparts. I'm not sure what role Traci Thirteen is going to play in the resolution of this storyline, but given DC's recent announcement of the ambitious relaunch of their entire line of superhero titles, I think it is safe to say that Traci doesn't quite help put things back the way they once were. Where she puts them and how that affects everything else remains to be seen. Unfortunately, it doesn't remain to be seen with any urgency.

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