Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Hey anyone been checking out this Flashpoint business?? It looks pretty intense.

Geoff Johns has done some pretty incredible work making Green Lantern Hal Jordan come alive these last few years and he’s done it all without giving up on all the GL material that's come before. It’s like he dug his hands in there, held on to everything that came before, and breathed new life into it. Flash is the next on Johns' hit list, it seems.

GL and Flash have always had a strange presence in the superhero collective unconscious, I think. It’s sort of like you know who they are and what they can do. Flash is fast. Green lantern has the ring. But, beyond that- unless you’re a hardcore fan- your average school child (until a few years prior) couldn’t tell you the Flash and GL’s secret identities, how exactly they got their powers and who a typical ‘bad guy’ they’d run into was. Ask any child in any public school Spider-man or the Hulk’s secret identity. How they got their powers. They’ll tell you. (wait don’t actually do this. It would be weird and boundary-less)

I don’t know why but it’s like Flash and Hal just don’t stick with you. Maybe, partly, because DC was turning over the identity and recreating the stories of these characters every ten to twenty years or so. This at least couldn’t have helped. The fact that the Golden Age Green Lantern bears only little resemblance to the modern day one makes for some interesting story telling but not exactly an easily memorable figure.

Wonder Woman has the fortune of a pretty solid 1970’s television show that has at least helped get the idea out a little better about who exactly she is. And, actually, I have to say the show kind of holds up after all this time. Sure, there’s a few bits a pieces that are more relevant to a certain era of Wonder Woman comics, but for the most part most people kind of got the idea. She was from this island, it was hidden away from mankind, etc.

Still I think there’s a certain degree of nebulousness about the character that has just made it hard to launch her- no video games, no movies, etc. Joss Wheedon mentioned that working on a Wonder Woman movie was like trying to make something from ‘whole cloth’ but make it seem like it was not. I don’t think I could imagine it being put better…

Surely, up until a few years ago the prospect of making a Green Lantern movie would have been met with the same dilemma. Now? Every DC fan knows who Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Kilowog, Sinestro and John Stewart are (and, I’m guessing, a few school children too). So I’m starting to think DC is going to start giving Flash the same kind of top billing that Green Lantern has gotten these last few years. Brining Barry Allen back was a big move that (I think) the fans have been psyched for since he ‘died’ so long ago.

The thing is? It’s sort of gotten lost in the wash with too many other things DC has had going on. Add to that the fact that Wally West was just starting to kind of make it into the hearts and minds of the DC fanbase as ‘the’ Flash (although, please note, that Bruce Timm’s lovable Wally is something more akin to Bart Allen- Impulse- than Wally was in the comics. Wally is a much more serious and driven figure in the comics, sometimes daunted by the task of living up to Barry’s legacy), and Barry’s story remains just a little bit outside our imagination.

Side note- I usually throw in a little ‘don’t get me started’ comment when I’m writing about stuff like this? Today it’s don’t get me started on Hawkman. My GOD. I mean, I love Hawkman he had the coolest frickin’ action figure when I was a kid. With his big mace and everything? But what the HELL, DC? He’s from another planet? Where they wear wings, Flash Gordon style? Or he’s reincarnated, over and over again? Or what now?? Just PICK one, PLEASE. But I digress.

Anyway Flashpoint looks like a pretty fun, cool way to let Flash take center stage for a few months. If there’s one thing Flash fans will tell you that makes this comic great, it’s this- he has some scary bad guys to contend with, that’s for damn sure. Granted, Batman villains are scary, but Flash villains are tricky. I mean, how else do you beat a guy with super-speed? You can’t out run him, right? All you can do is set him up to fail- try to use his power against him, throw impossible obstacles or chooses in his way, stuff like that.

Of course, that’s when Flash is busy keeping the streets of Central City safe. The other half of the time Flash has a way of coming up against really terrifying stuff. Like mess with the nature of all of time and reality kind of stuff. Zoom is a great example of this. The ‘Reverse’ Flash (and, there’s been several- just to make it complicated), Zoom’s powers…man, I almost can’t wrap my head around it. It’s hard to do it justice, but all the Flash’s alter their speed. Zoom can produce the same effect but in this inverted way. Zoom alters the flow of time around him. So Zoom doesn’t speed up; he slows YOU down (or, speeds you up, if he wanted). This of course gets into some really scary stuff.

Flashpoint is no exception. While Zoom has never been able to time travel, ostensibly, he’s apparently either figured out how or gotten a hold of the original Flash’s interdimensional-treadmill thingy, or something, and gone and changed a lot of the central events of the DC universe. The result leaves Barry Allen trapped in a timeline that seems pretty alien. Superman isn’t even around, Bruce Wayne isn’t ‘Batman’ (although, I’m not quite sure if that means Batman isn’t around, exactly) and owns an empire of casinos, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are married… Barry’s the only guy who even knows that things aren’t supposed to be this way. This is a big event and it’s running through several books. Definitely worth checking some of it out.