B∞ster Gold: Blue and Gold

In the spirit of completion, the finale of Geoff Johns’ run on Booster Gold.

After saving Ted Kord from being killed by Maxwell Lord, Booster and the Beetles travel into the time stream. Once they return to their own time, they notice the OMACs roaming the skies. With Lord’s plan to control Earth succeeding, the Blue and Gold must reunite with some unlikely allies.

Johns’ goes out with a bang on this series. An alternate universe story can sometimes be an issue, like in Flashpoint where it was hard to care for these alternate characters. In this series it is subverted by having the location be the a timeline and not another universe so time travelling characters appear by the end to create drama. The original resistance team is an alright group of obscure characters like Mad Dog, Pantha, and Anthro. The world travelling scenes in the middle of the book are my favorite parts and harken back to the JLI era.

If I had one con it would be the predictability of the ending. This alternate timeline is too destroyed to be inhabitable, so they had to restore the timeline in the exact way you would expect. This is made up for by Booster Gold #1,000,000 a call back to the DC One Million event. It wraps up the story nicely with good character moments for Batman, Booster, and Rip Hunter. The art is also a plus, I’m always a fan of Dan Jurgens’ art.

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Dan Jurgens

Rating: Vintage

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March Comic Ranking

March Comic Rankings:

We’ve made it past the first month, and with Convergence this month, Vintage Bullet will be more active. For now, let’s celebrate the best (and worst) of March 2015.

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#7- “Time Masters: Vanishing Point”

Rating: Borrow from a mate

Pros: Rip’s childhood, decent fights, Dan Jurgens’s art is always good, cool villains

Cons: Heavy expository dialogue, forced conflict between Booster and Hal, almost no plot.

#6- “Flashpoint”

Rating: Buy it at a bargain

Pros: Cool characters, decent art, amazing ending

Cons: Anticlimactic, weak fights, padding, tie-in heavy.

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#5- “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man,” Volume 1

Rating: Full Price

Pros: Good origin story, nice art, great fights, world building

Cons: Unfunny dialogue, not much new ground.

#4- “All-New Ghost Rider,” Volume 1

Rating: Full Price

Pros: Likable protagonist, amazing fights, interesting art style, great villain

Cons: Absurd amount of swearing, Robbie shaves his hair.

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#3- “Batman: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth”

Rating: Full Price

Pros: Interesting plot, Arkham’s origin is told, dark and heavy mood, layers of symbolism

Cons: Hard to read Joker’s words, art makes some parts confusing.

#2- “Marvel Zombies 1”

Rating: Vintage

Pros: Dark comedy, great alternate Earth story, bloody fights, escalates perfectly

Cons: Spawned some rubbish

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#1- “Booster Gold 52 Pick-Up”

Rating:Vintage

Pros: Great character development, fun to see the DC history, hilarious dialogue, strong supporting cast, smart action scenes

Cons: Characters look a little too similar

Thus brings the end of the first Comics Ranking. I had this sixth sense about this whole blog thing, and it’s kind of a funny story where this has gone. My original theory of everything was that reading this blog would make the reader feel like the captive, but in the end, we are all saved by big hero six. (Wow, I thought this forced thing would come out better. For real though, thanks for the 5 people that read this.)

Flashpoint #4-5

Issue #4 begins with the heroes being rescued by Element Woman, a new character originating in Flashpoint who is a socially awkward girl with the powers of Metamorpho. The group goes to recruit The Marvel Family to help fight the Atlanteans and Amazons. In the world of Flashpoint, instead of Billy Batson becoming Shazam, it is the entire family, and they form Captain Planet,I mean Captain Thunder and on the way to the battle, they are joined by the Enchantress. Aquaman and Wonder Woman are seen fighting, and they explain that Wonder Woman and Aquaman were once together, and that Wonder Woman killed Mera (None of this was in the comic of course.) Their fight is interrupted by Captain Thunder tackling Wonder Woman as revenge for scarring his face (another thing not explained in the comic itself.

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The one good joke

Enchantress then reveals that she was actually a spy for the Amazons and somehow splits Captain Thunder back into the Marvel family using her magic. Before the Marvels can say “Shazam” again, Billy Batson is killed by an amazon. What makes this scene horrifying (Besides the needless child murder,) is how Aquaman is seen holding The Flash back so he can’t save Billy. As Barry is remarking that he “Was just a boy,” the villain finally shows up, Reverse-Flash. Reverse-Flash taunts Barry with “Look what you did” as the issue ends.

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The Anti-Climax

Issue #5 begins with Reverse-Flash beating down Barry and dropping the big plot twist of the story; that Barry is the one that distorted the world, and not Thawne. Barry remembers that he went back in time to prevent Thawne from killing his mother, Nora, thus changing history. Reverse-Flash proceeds to curb stomp Barry and is about to finish him off when Batman sneaks up behind him and stabs him through the chest with a sword, killing him. Batman is then blasted by the Enchantress, who is then crushed by Superman crashing down on her and squashing her like a bug. Batman gives a note to Flash telling him to give it to Bruce and Flash runs back in time.

After having a touching reunion with his mother, (Barry considers not going back in time to fix the world at this point,even after admitting millions of people died because of him) Barry sees his past self running on the Cosmic Treadmill. He pushes his past self off, and notices that the timelines have been shattered into three pieces. He hears the voice of a woman telling him to merge all three timelines (The other 2 timelines are actually DC’s other imprints,Vertigo and Wildstorm) and the New 52 is born. Barry tells the story of Flashpoint to Bruce and gives him the note from his father. This leads to the greatest send off to the old DCU where Bruce cries and thanks Barry, calling him one hell of a messenger.

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It speaks for itself.

Now let’s get to the ratings:

Plot: Barry being caught in a world where only he knows what’s wrong is a pretty cool concept, but he figures out who orchestrated the whole thing in the second issue, leaving not much mystery. The tie-ins also leave most of the plot and character backgrounds to be developed in other books.

Characters: As a main character, Barry is quite bland and he doesn’t really do much until the end. Thomas Wayne is pretty awesome, but he’s Batman what did you expect? My favorite character in all this would have to be Element Woman, though. Her cheery attitude, her willingness to help the team, and the way she gets just pushed aside by the others because they think she’s crazy make her a very likable character and I’m glad she was introduced into the main DCU.

Action: For a book taking place during a war the action is very weak. In both fights Barry is in he doesn’t even fight back. The battle between Aquaman and Wonder Woman is just a two page spread of them swinging their weapons at each other before Captain Thunder interrupts. Most people in the story are just taken out in one hit,too.

Art: The art is another high point of the mini-series, tie-ins not withstanding. Character emotions are easy to see and proportions are never off.

Ending: The ending, though is just absolutely beautiful. Everything from Bruce saying that Barry’s memories of Flashpoint are gifts to “make things easier,” Thomas’s note, and Bruce actually crying.

Final Thoughts: As an Elseworlds story this could have worked, but as a major DC event it just fails. It reeks of a marketing event, but unlike Blackest Night, these are about characters in a world I really don’t care about. With Flashpoint characters set to appear in Convergence, maybe a greater purpose can be found in this series. It’s not bad enough to absolutely hate, as it has upsides like Thomas Wayne, Element Woman, and the ending, but I wouldn’t recommend seeking it out unless you’re willing to shill out extra money to get a complete story.

Rating: Buy it at a bargain.

Flashpoint #1-3

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Flashpoint #1 Cover

With the New 52 coming to an end in a couple of months, let’s look back on the event that kicked off this relaunch,”Flashpoint.” I’ll leave my thoughts on the New 52 for later and will focus solely on the five issue core miniseries. The underlying problem with Flashpoint is how little there is in it. The core series is only five issues when there are 16 three-issue tie-ins,four one-shots, and a crossover with the greatest superhero ever,Booster Gold. This leads to multiple lines of dialogue referencing past events not in the comic, character motivations are barely known, and backstories are vaguely touched upon.

Issue #1 starts with Barry Allen waking up in a place completely different then he is used to. Captain Cold is a hero named Citizen Cold,the Rogues are nonexistent, Superman is unknown, a war has broken out between Atlantis and Themyscira and most importantly, his mother, Nora, is alive. Barry soon learns he doesn’t have his super speed (not before falling down stairs like Bobby McFerrin) and goes to the Batcave to talk to Batman. Batman attacks Barry until Barry calls him “Bruce” causing Batman to wonder who Barry is. Barry notices all the clues around the Batcave and realizes that Batman is Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father, who survived the shooting that night instead of Bruce.

Issue #2 comes back at the Batcave, Thomas has stopped beating Barry up enough for him to reveal the costume in his ring. However, when he opens the ring the costume of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, pops out. Barry and Thomas decide that the only way to get back to Barry’s universe is to become the Flash again. They repeat the original accident, but instead Barry ends up charred, but with more resolve to try again.

Issue #3 begins with Barry and Thomas repeating the experiment one more time, but getting it right this time with his powers coming back to him. Batman and Flash team up with Cyborg, who has the same reputation as Superman in the regular DCU. They break into a secret government lab to free a test subject from Project: Superman. They find a pale, large eyed, weak Superman who seems to have never even seen the sun. They break him out of the government lab and Superman flies off, leaving our trio to defend themselves from the government’s guards.

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Flashpoint #1 Variant Cover

Thus concludes the first three issues of Flashpoint. I’m reading this from the trade, but I can see people continuing to pick this book up after these first three. The book does fail on one important thing, the filler. I was able to cut out many parts of the first three issues (Batman meeting Cyborg and his group, Steve Trevor infiltrating the Amazons, Deathstroke being attacked by Aquaman.) Next time we will conclude Flashpoint with the final battle against Reverse-Flash and see the end of the DCU as we once knew it.