Keeping on their release schedule, it’s the end of July so we’re
treated gifted with another DC Animated feature. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the 17th in the series, falls in line with their new strategy of all features either being Justice League, Superman, or Batman centric. The creators have wanted to branch out, but after the failure of the Green Lantern and Wonder Woman features, they instead adopted this methodology. The Flash has been high on their to-animate list. Smartly, they took a Justice League story focusing on the Flash to sneak him in.
The Flashpoint Paradox adapts the Flashpoint story (written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Andy Kubert) that is infamous for ushering in DC’s New 52, their line wide quasi-reboot. There is much to say about the New 52 but now is not the time. Flashpoint basically took the storyline from Back to the Future 2 with one minor event in the past changed and rippling in the future, and the past. They explain the past part.
Barry Allen (Flash) uses his power to travel back in time and prevent his mother’s death. This completely changes the world, flinging it into chaos. The most compelling things about this story are seeing how this effected the other heroes. Many have interesting alteration that I won’t spoil for you here. These reveals were the best moments for the comic, and hold true in the animated featured. The crux of the story is an all out war between Atlantis (Aquaman) and Themyscira (Wonder Woman) using Europe as a battlefield.
Nearly the entire Justice League Unlimited cartoon cast reprised their rolls. This Flash is Barry Allen, not Wally West so Michael Rosenbaum did not return. Instead Justin Chambers was cast as the Flash. I think this is the first time Allen-Flash has been in animated form, so it maybe confusing for some as JLU did not focus on secret identities. Dana Delany came back for a short part as Lois Lane, as did Ron Perlman for Deathstroke (he voiced him on Teen Titans). Strangely, Clancy Brown was not Lex Luthor, Steve Blum was. Considering the pedigree, I’m not complaining. Cary Elwes did an amazing job as Aquaman (Super Trapezius Muscleman!). I didn’t recognize his voice, as he employed a deep, gravely tone.
The comic had some problems, but was easily translatable due to it’s short, 5 issue nature. Many of the important elements were retained, with a few changed and streamlined. I have always appreciated how the writers for these features are typically able to fix things that didn’t work in the comics, strengthening the final product. That’s evident here as Flashpoint originally had some interesting ideas, but somewhat weak execution and cluttered finale. The only moment that stuck out was the set up. I like how we’re dropped in the story, wondering what happened. That works. The movie opens with a battle with the Justice League against some Flash Rogues. Immediately after the battle, Barry wakes up at his desk in a different timeline.
The mini-series opened with Barry at his desk, not needing this initial setup. I understand why it was needed for the movie, and it was a great opening, but the transition was jarring, not really explaining Barry’s motivations, move over, his apparently god like powers to travel through and change time. “Villain made offhanded comment? I’m going to be completely irresponsible and upend everything.” These were the elements that didn’t work for me in either format. The purpose of the story originally was to show the world in a different light, as is the purpose with any similar story. The only added element was how it was co-opted to half reboot the line. But I digress.
Adopting the Marvel motif, they added a post credits tag teasing the next feature, Justice League: War. I could easily write a post about that alone, not even seeing the movie yet. At least it exists so I’m not complaining. There was some worry about the line continuing as there were no announcements. Luckily, San Diego Comic-Con put those fears to rest, announcing two Batman features. “Son of Batman”, adapts the Grant Morrison story, and “Batman: Assault on Arkham”, taking place in the Arkham games universe. I understand the lead time on these projects, but I wonder when they’re going to follow through with the promise to stop adapting and branch out into original territory.
The Flashpoint Paradox is easily one of my favorite features in the line to date. Hands down better than Superman: Unbound. At least here the purpose of the story remained intact. And hey, Flash movie!
Excited for a Flash feature? What other characters do you want to see highlighted? Comment below!
Not sure if I liked the changes to Batman or Superman more.