Flashpoint Beyond has earned enough goodwill for me to forgive the occasional misstep. I wouldn’t say this is a bad issue, but it deviated a little from what actually interested me about the book – getting lost in the weeds, rather than appreciating the garden as a whole. Let’s get into why!
The Clockwork Killer has claimed their next victim: Reverse Flash, one of the few beings capable of understanding and defying whatever is happening in Thomas Wayne’s broken reality. Thomas’ investigations of the matter distract him from the happenings of Dexter Dent: the child Thomas Wayne has been looking after following the death of Dexter’s father Harvey. I haven’t really spoken about Dexter, becuase his story didn’t particularly interest me. Obviously, he’s meant to be the “Robin” of the book and that’s never been more explicit than in here. However, his quiet nature has meant we have barely got to know this character, and he has not proven himself to be much more than just “the kid” of the story. We’ve honestly seen more from Oswald Cobblepot in their interactions, where he shows himself to have depth, proving that he does not make the worst Alfred stand-in.
Again, none of this is really bad. Theoretically, it should drive some level of interest, given it’s furthering the connection between Thomas and his new nemesis, Gilda Dent’s Two-Face. But it’s also yet another thing to distract us from the best part of the book, which is Thomas’ obsessive personality. They try to connect these threads by having Thomas too focused on his work to care about Dexter’s journey to Arkham Asylum, and it is a good example of his detachment from the world… but we also don’t really care about Dexter. Morally, I want Thomas to find him, but emotionally, I’m more interested in Thomas getting to the next clue in the mystery. There’s also the reveal at the end, which I’ll get to in a moment.
Xermanico’s art continues to be phenomenal – not that you should be surprised, here. However, one of his layouts works to the book’s detriment this time. Towards the end reveal of the issue, the comic opens onto a wonderful double-page splash, with the gears of a ticking clock framing everything about to happen in the story’s final pages. The problem is, I think the splash overcomplicates the layout. Here’s a preview of what the page looks like:
It took me a while, but I eventually figured out that the correct way to read it was column by column, despite reading it row by row the first time around. It doesn’t hurt the story too much, but it’s a “DON’T DEAD, OPEN INSIDE” situation in a comic book that already has a lot of text filling up the page.
Finally, there’s the reveal…
Alright. Fine. I guess I should have seen this coming.
You know, I know no one actually dies in comics. I get that. I guess I just figured the tragic end of a unique character in a barely-covered alternate dimension was kind of off the table. I like the Joker – it’s really tragic that DC has somehow made me sick of him. Or her, in this instance! Who knows, maybe I’ll change my tune.
- You don’t mind a few bumps along the way while Thomas Wayne’s latest story develops.
- Oswald Cobblepot-turned Alfred Pennyworth is a take on the character you want to see fleshed out.
- You’re a big fan of you-know-who.
It could be that I just wasn’t in the mood to read this issue. It’s possible! I’m not an objective be-all and end-all on the matter of a comic book. I still think this book is above average, more or less. I just feel like it’s making a few decisions that are losing me, just as I’m getting really invested. We’ll see if the next issue fixes this.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch