Flashpoint Beyond #2 review

Alright, credit where it’s due: this issue was great!

No disclaimer, no “if”s or “but”s, no overarching concerns – I just straight up had a good time with this book, and I’m glad that I did. Let’s get right to it and jump into this review!

This issue, Thomas is searching for more clues as to what has trapped him in his original timeline – and who “the Clockwork Killer” is. I’m not jazzed that we had to wait three issues to get clarification on what this perpetrator is doing, but the page of exposition was a useful one – it told us that this murderer was offing anyone with the ability to change history in the regular DC Universe. The mystery being laid out in front of us is an intriguing one, and it’s one that’s one that’s enhanced by the brief snippets of Bruce Wayne on the side. Obviously, Bruce can’t be responsible for the murders – yet he seems to be involved somehow, and the reasons how are difficult to gague. It’s exciting, because I don’t know how the pieces fit together… meaning I don’t know where the story is going. Give me more cosmic mysteries like this!

It also makes the world of Flashpoint feel small – which I mean in a (mostly) good way. The lore of the core Flashpoint storyline is retained, and kept quite consistent with stories that had come before – but the scope has been narrowed to a point where Thomas Wayne is nigh in capable of seeing anything beyond his immediate focus. Not only does that prove his limitations as a detective, but it makes the story feel sinister and claustrophobic: Batman is on the precipice of a cliff, living in a decaying and collapsing world that should have been long dead and forgotten. While it means I struggle to retain interest in things such as Oswald’s storyline (which has been given a fair amount of attention), the content with Thomas is made all the better for it. The tone of this story is fantastic, made even stronger by scenes that don’t even necessarily relate to the larger story.

Gilda Dent’s scene is a genuinely haunting one, and it’s fresh off the heels of an already haunting scene involving Psycho Pirate (despite a reference to Dark Crisis I don’t know if I like). Not only does Thomas feel trapped in a dying universe, but he’s trapped in his own mind – losing himself and only finding solace when he stomps his boot on a lowly criminal. I don’t know who to credit for all of this, because three people wrote it – so I’m just going to say the writing team did a phenomenal job all-around here.

The artists here are, as usual, fantastic. While I’m not huge on multiple artists in a single issue, the distinction between Xermánico covering Thomas’ story and Mikel Janín covering Bruce’s makes sense, as the latter essentially bookends the former. I’ve had the distinct privilege of reviewing much of Xermánico’s work in my time at Batman News, and the quality of his work has only improved. What I like to do when I review his work is point out something in particular of his that I like each issue, and today it’s his border work. Not shocking, I know, for those of you who have read my previous reviews of his art – but here I’m particularly impressed by it. Many of the pages in Flashpoint Beyond contain a dull if perfectly serviceable white border, which slowly bleeds into a mess of dark and offputting colours the further Thomas dives into his conversation with Gilda (shoutout to Romulo Fajardo Jr for his fantastic colouring this issue!). After that scene, the chaos of the border transitions into the violence and confusion of the streets of Gotham, slowly moving from the border to the background. And on the page that it finally transitions to the foreground?

Masterful stuff. No notes.

Recommended If: 

  • You want an event comic that feels like it has a little weight to it!
  • Thomas Wayne’s Batman hasn’t grown overdone for you yet.
  • You’re into cosmic, metatextual temporal mysteries – despite them perhaps being a little self-indulgent.

Overall

I am coming around to this book. I don’t have any serious issues with it, the tone excites me, and the mystery just makes me want to read more. Maybe the reasons behind it existing are contrived, but they’re making the best with what they have, and I’m excited to see more!

Score: 8/10

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Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.

Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch