Usually, I get my box of comics within a few days of the last Wednesday of each month – Wednesday being the weekly on-sale day for new comics. But through my mail-order service that monthly shipment may be delayed to accommodate an occasionally late-shipping issue of Previews, the monthly pre-order catalog from Diamond Distribution. And so it was last month since Previews didn't hit until the following Wednesday. When that happens sometimes I get two issues of those comics that customarily come out that first Wednesday of the month – such as these three titles.
“Flashpoint: Chapter Two of Five”
I gave a very short gist of the first issue as part of this post. As I explained there, this is going to be the first such DC “event” that I'm not all in for, that I'm just getting the main miniseries plus a couple of the ancillaries. It will be interesting to see how it holds up.
Briefly, the Flashpoint-universe version of Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator, who seems to be the leader of a band of pirates, strays too far into flooded northern Europe and encounters Aquaman. It looks like he's going to regret it. Meanwhile, Thomas Wayne Batman is not reacting well to Barry Allen's invasion of the Batcave. And we discover that Barry's memories are slowly changing to reflect the Flashpoint “reality.” But Barry's convinced that his old enemy Eobard Thawne (“What kind of name is 'Eobard'?” Thomas asks - “One from the future.” And that's not the only good line Thomas Wayne gets on that page – when he has seen a Flash-costume expand out of Barry's ring, he mutters, “[H]ow the hell does it even fit in there?”), a.k.a. Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash, has changed history. And he manages to convince Thomas Wayne – whose first question is, “What about Bruce?” - his son whom he had seen brutally killed, whose death launched him on his war against crime. “If you're telling the truth, can you change this? Can you change it back so that … I died and Bruce lived?” Barry needs his speed back – but their attempt to recreate the lab accident that gave Barry his speed goes horribly wrong. Lastly, Wonder Woman and the Amazons in London, now “New Themiscyra,” capture an American agent, Steve Trevor, and by means of her lasso of Truth force from him the news that there is a spy embedded within the ranks of the Amazons – journalist Lois Lane.
I really don't have much to comment on here. It's too soon. Story and art are both good as I expect from these creators. Any more than that will just have to wait until I can see the story as a whole.
“Rise of the Hollow Men, Part One: Into the Broken Silo”
The cover blurb says it - “The Secrets of Smallville.” That's been the subplot being established by this series ever since the first issue, and now Jeff Lemire starts bringing little hints into play and the set-up starts to pay off. Not that we get any real answers just yet. In fact, there appears to be more of a mystery than I was aware surrounding the new character of “Psionic Lad.” Who is “the Prime Hunter”? I'm still not sure whether Simon Valentine is going to end up on the side of the angels or the devils or what. The Phantom Stranger makes a couple more appearances, freaking Krypto out – well, Connor as well – and Lori Luthor* makes a disappearance. But we learn that the mystery underlying the “quiet little town” of Smallville has roots going back a century and a half, all the way back to when the Kent family first showed up – and were associated with the Valentines. What's it all going to add up to?
* Random thought: Lori is Lex Luthor's niece. She's got the hots for Connor. Connor is a clone in which the Kryptonian DNA of Superman was stabilized by the human DNA of Lex Luthor; therefore he's in a sense Lex Luthor's son - I figure that would be the closest analogy since an offspring genetically gets half its DNA from each parent (a clone strictly speaking would genetically be equivalent to an identical twin). So, wouldn't Connor and Lori be effectively first cousins? Can first cousins marry in Kansas?
“A Comet's Tale”
What happens when a super-hero groupie decides to go out and duplicate the kind of accident that gave her idols powers? Well in Flashpoint #2 we saw that doesn't necessarily go well even when the hero tries to duplicate his own accident! But in Grava of the Extal Colony's case, you too get super-powers! (I'm sure there have been stories where such an attempt met with tragedy, but none comes to mind right now - BUT KIDS, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!) This is basically a stand-alone tale where Comet Queen relates her story (with a lot of 31st-century slang thrown in) to fellow Legion Academy cadet Glorith. There are also interspersed some scenes of the cadets in training. The main thing that we learn is that the “tragic origin” blurbed on the cover is really more about what happened later. This is actually Comet Queen's “do-over” through the Academy – she had previously graduated, not into the Legion of Super-Heroes itself, but rather into the Legion of Substitute Heroes; then, called into duty during the Titanfall Catastrophe that opened the current Legion series, she encountered Saturn Queen – and was essentially mind-wiped back to her childhood. Tellus had managed over time to recover most of her memories, but not all, so here she is, keeping on keeping on. When she asks Glorith in turn what her story is – Glorith reveals that she doesn't know, obviously leaving us wanting to know more....
This is good stuff. It's Legion. It's Levitz. Thank heaven by all accounts the main series is coming through the September relaunch basically unscathed. Unfortunately Adventure Comics with the tales of the Legion Academy won't be part of that, although it will be part of the recent continuity and it looks like at least one of the current cadets will make the jump to the big leagues.