FLASHPOINT: BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #2
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
Reviewer: The Writing Rambler
Brian Azzarello does an excellent job continuing the story of Thomas Wayne’s Batman and the darker more violent version of the caped crusader that he represents. In only two issues (five if you count the main FLASHPOINT books which feature Batman as well) you really get to see the kind of Batman that Thomas is and sub sequentially why Bruce is so unique of a character in the “normal”, non FLASHPOINT world. You get into the psyche of how this isn’t someone who grew up training to bring evil to justice but instead how this world’s Batman, at his core, is simply a parent angrily out to avenge the murder of his child.
The story itself shines in that it doesn’t try to be overly complex (AGAIN, Some big spoilers lie ahead so be forewarned). This world’s Joker has kidnapped Harvey Dent’s children while Batman and Jim Gordon are franticly trying to find them before it’s too late. Its classic Batman vs. Joker and it’s done very well. The story is dark and we get one of the more menacing versions of Joker we’ve seen in a while. The scenes that play out between Joker speaking with Dent’s children are especially creepy and it makes you realize early on that this can’t end good. With that said, it doesn’t. In a span of the last few pages you have Joker tricking Chief Gordon into shooting Dent’s daughter while his son is forced to watch and then Joker slicing Gordon’s throat while Dent’s young son yet again watches horrified. I honestly was floored at this point seeing how much had just happen, which is exactly when the book hits you with its strongest sucker punch. While you’re still trying to digest what just happen to Chief Gordon and Dent’s daughter, you flip to the last page where it’s revealed that Batman indeed already knows Joker’s true identity and it is none other than his wife, Martha Wayne. In a way, as twisted as she is, this Joker has the most grounded origin as the murder of one’s child could clearly drive someone mad. All in all, a great story with a great twist.
Though it’s hard to transition from that story twist to anything else, there has to be some words commending Eduardo Risso for his artwork. The art in the book is a perfect complement to Azzarello’s story. It’s dark and helps covey the brooding nature of the story being told. I especially love the use of shadows as they are almost a character on their own.
With one issue left of BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGENCE to go, I honestly have no idea where this story is headed after the events told here. There was a reveal earlier in the story that this world’s Oracle is Selina Kyle instead of Barbara Gordon so maybe well get a little more explanation on that but I think it was more of a cameo to show how the FLASHPOINT world is different, than anything else. I know many people are writing off the entire FLASHPOINT “event” as just another ELSEWORLDS story but I think that’s an unfair assessment. The events taking place in this story and other FLASHPOINT titles are leading to the entire re-launch of the DCU, so while more than likely these stories will no longer “exist” come September, they are still the events that will bring about that change (i.e. the horrors of this issue causing Batman to help Flash fix and reset the DCU in the main FLASHPOINT storyline). I for one am enjoying this series and think it’s great to watch a writer and artist tell a fantastic story when they have the freedom of creating their own continuity as they go. To put it simply, this is definitely worth your $2.99.
So, I’ll just start out with some honesty here. I can’t fully review FLASHPOINT: ABIN SUR THE GREEN LANTERN # 2 without admitting that I am a little biased. See, the thing is, I love all things Sinestro. I love that despite all of his evil deeds I still want to root for him and still consider him the greatest of the Green Lanterns. So when I saw him on the cover of this issue looking like he’s preparing to put Abin Sur out of his misery (Old Yeller style), it was a no brainer that I was buying this. That said, I’ll do the best I can reviewing (WITH SPOILERS) the issue.
FLASHPOINT: ABIN SUR THE GREEN LANTERN # 2
Writer: Adam Schlagman
Art: Felipe Massafera, Robson Rocha and Joe Prado
Reviewer: The Writing Rambler
The book starts off much like the first issue did with a flashback scene, except instead of Abin as a child we now see him training Sinestro on Ungara “Many years ago”. From there were rocketed forward to the well-known scene of Abin’s crashed ship being found by Hal Jordan, except in the FLASHPOINT universe Abin doesn’t die and pass the ring to Hal, but instead Cyborg, working on behalf of the U.S. Government shows up, “shoos” Hal away and takes Abin in for questioning/experimentation. As Abin heals, after some coaxing from Cyborg (who seems to be the FLASHPOINT world’s own mixture of Iron Man and Captain America), he joins what is apparently President Obama’s own superhero squad and fly’s off to check Europe for survivors of the Atlantean/Amazonian war that is taking place. While doing all this he is warned again by the guardians that he is not following orders (given to him in the first issue) to retrieve the white entity from earth, before it is destroyed. They also warn him he’s dangerously close to having his ring stripped from him for disobedience, though he ignores them completely upon hearing this. This all leads up to Sinestro arriving to inform Abin that he knows what’s happening in this world (due to an imprisoned Atrocitus informing him…though how he knows is never explained) and is aware of the prior non FLASHPOINT timeline. Abin doesn’t want to hear what Sinestro’s selling and a huge fight breaks out between the two ending in Sinestro amputating Abin’s ring slinging hand with one of his blade constructs.
Two things that I don’t quite get about this book is why we’re being given so much backstory about Abin when it seems like he’s about to be murdered by Sinestro at the end of this issue. It feels like Adam Schlagman is trying to explain everything about Abin’s personality to new readers (I assume they were hoping maybe the GREEN LANTERN movie would have some new people picking up comics…though I highly doubt that is the case after seeing the GREEN LANTERN film) as quickly as possible while also trying to balance Sinestro’s role in what’s actually happening to the universe in the main FLASHPOINT storyline. With that in mind, the second thing I don’t get is why this book is even about Abin Sur. I mean, I like Abin and I’m pretty much fine with any GREEN LANTERN story personally, but it seems to me like the most important parts of these first two issues (here goes my bias in full swing) revolve around Sinestro gaining knowledge of the FLASHPOINT prophecy. I just think this book would serve a better purpose if it were more about Sinestro and the FLASHPOINT event as a whole (Though, in the writer’s defense I also think breakfast, lunch and dinner should involve more Sinestro as well, so what do I know).
As far as the artwork in the issue goes, it is drawn very well, though I think it does suffer a little from having three different artists handling the job. There are a few times that I turned the page and the artwork style completely changed, so much so that it took me out of the story. The other thing I have to mention is the Lantern’s costume designs as well as the design of the guardians both clearly seem to be taken straight from the movie. I don’t have a problem with it I just thought it was interesting that in the FLASHPOINT universe some designs follow the DC movie style exactly (side note: the FLASHPOINT Joker also suspiciously looks like heath ledgers take from THE DARK KNIGHT).
Overall I still enjoyed the issue, but like I already said, it’s very hard for me to not like a GREEN LANTERN story that involves Sinestro. I’m looking forward to seeing how the final third issue of this pans out and if Sinestro actually has a bigger role to play in the FLASHPOINT finale as a whole. All in all it’s a good read but if you only have one or 2 DCU books you’re looking to pick up, you may want to skip this in lieu of the 3rd issue of the main FLASHPOINT title or the fantastic FLASHPOINT: BATMAN KNIGHT OF VENGENCE #2.