The Flashpoint is where it all started.
It was the point in the DC chronology that fractured the entire universe and gave birth to what we fondly address as the New 52.
A reboot that set the entire DC Universe back to an instance similar to a recreation with origins rewritten and characters being removed, added and revamped.
Flashpoint continues to be a major milestone in DC's recreational take on the universe and a major event that is still recounted ever since being introduced by none other than Geoff Johns himself. It holds a direct relation to the occurrences of Rebirth.
So let's take a tour through it before we finally hit the ground running with our take on this extensive-crossover event which took place almost a year back.
WHERE HAVE WE BEEN
Flash, in an attempt to save his mother, went back in time risking the entire space-time continuum to secure the life he lost due to the action of one obsessed madman. In doing so, he set a series of chain reactions that decimated and distorted the basic reality of the DC Cosmos as known to one and all. Barry had blamed himself for changing the events after it was revealed to him by Professor Zoom that his one act of love had immense repercussions.
This particular event is fondly referred to as the ‘Flashpoint’. The term Paradox is often added to the classification for a very specific reason which shall be prompted in some time.
The point remains that if the Flashpoint had not taken place, we would not have been able to experience the spandex-free version of DC redesigned characters and plots and the courage displayed by the company to take on the conventional characters like Green Arrow and the lesser known ones like Doctor Fate in a more considerable light.
Not to mention that this was required for the company as it brought in Vertigo and Wildstorm characters into the DC continuity.
Enough to just form a basic idea? Nope? We have a small video to run you through Flashpoint in a hurry. An article on it is just around the corner, I promise.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Rebirth was indeed an unqualified success and something that the company needed to strengthen their share in the comic book world as it also signaled the rebranded phase of the company.
Rebirth in its totality can be broken down into four different segments, each contributing to what actually defines the event that had unparalleled ramifications for each and every character.
I. THE FORGOTTEN SPEEDSTER
There is one individual who has been fighting desperately to come back to reality after being erased from it during Flashpoint.
A speedster who was locked away in the Speed Force – the very mysterious portal that serves as the origin point for all of the speedsters’ speed. (Yes, I could have framed that in a better manner.)
The person lost to time and the only one who recalls about the entire DC chronology before Flashpoint and the rewritten continuity has finally found an opening. An opening that lets him come back to the present.
There was a concept which was introduced in Flash: Rebirth which set the stage for Barry Allen’s return and it went something like this.
His lightning rod.
The woman he loved.
The lost speedster was none other than the original Kid-Flash and one of the original Flash – Wally West. A short recap of the history of the red-headed speedster has been illustrated in the rebirth issue itself. From the point where inspiration and admiration turned into reality for the adventures covered; love found; a new life led racing past obstacles to the various moments of strength when grief crept in, to the point where he stepped into the shoes of his idol, a step he took to honor his legacy: The illustration serves its purpose.
With time being taken away - rather manipulated - Wally was lost, forgotten and replaced. How did it happen? Now that is one issue which wasn’t explicitly addressed but enough implicit indications were made to make one assume the likely possibilities.
II. REMEMBER, REMEMBER
He started with the one person who understands the pain of loss and the importance of sustenance. Bruce Wayne, also known to the world as the Batman. But it was a failed attempt as the alteration in the timeline had rendered Wayne's memory of the red-headed speedster nonexistent. The forgotten speedster manages to make a reference to the letter handed over to him by the Flash, which apparently had come from his father, as a major focal point in terms of deciphering the truth behind the lost years, before he was violently pulled back into the Speed Force.
Being unable to make the Batman remember him, he continued his search for someone to finally recognize him.
From Johny Quick to Linda Park to the Titans, no one seemed to have any memory of the fact that he had actually existed at one point. Exhausted, battered, heart-broken and giving in to his fate - a fate that ensured that he would remain forgotten – he makes a last attempt pushing himself one step further, knowing that it would most likely tear him apart before he could make any proper contact.
His last attempt to meet his idol, the one speedster who inspired and influenced his life throughout, and thank him for everything one last time.
Despite being aware that the latter had no clue who this person was supposed to be.
This leads to one of the most iconic moment in the modern DC continuity. The Flash remembers the timeline before it got altered and everything that happened before that. The line “How could I ever forget you?” expresses the underlying emotions that come forth.
The sheer crudeness of the moment, which in itself stands alone, speaks volumes. As a regular comic reader, this is a moment which will remain with me.
III. PLOTCEPTION – SUB-PLOTS EMBEDDED
Let’s kick off this segment with the Comedian's Button that was discovered in the Batman’s lair. That button is the exact one which was worn by the Comedian from Watchmen before he was killed by Ozymandias. Even the spot of dried blood on it is reminiscent of the same. This particular sub-plot/easter-egg has already given rise to multiple fan theories, all weirder than the rest of the theories out there.
Plus, we also get to see Aquaman propose to Mera and spot a reference to the love lost between the Green Arrow and the Black Canary.
We also get to know that the Atom had discovered something uncanny in the microverse during one of his usual expeditions and this may be related to the current happenings. The fact that he has to seek one of his newest intern’s assistance to the point he is comfortable with sharing his tech with someone who has never harnessed it before, displays the urgency of the situation.
Next up, we are introduced with a short panel where the Mystical Champion of the DC Realm – Doctor Fate – confronts Ted Kord, the original Blue Beetle, regarding the Beetle Technology. He divulges the information about the scarab having its roots in the mystical and magical contours rather than the accepted technological ones.
Then we move ahead and are confronted with a brief panel which introduces Pandora into the event. She was responsible for unleashing the Forever Evil and Trinity War events.
It seems that she was aware of some mishaps that have gone unnoticed. She screams out to someone unknown, blaming that person for shelving the accusations of his monstrous actions upon her. Before she could even manage to utter his/her name she is obliterated by a flash of light, leaving nothing behind except this pulp of bloody mass which can’t even be pieced together to be identified as belonging to a person.
And that is how we start piecing our suspicions for the grandmaster, behind the scenes, together.
In one of the other sub-plots, we are introduced to the mysterious Mr. Oz who confronts the classic Superman with a cryptic message which goes something like this:
IV. ONE AND HIS ALLIES
There have been a lot of direct as well as indirect clues dropped throughout the main issue as to who could be responsible for the manipulation of the entire timeline as we know it. From the reference made to the panel showing the watch being rendered apart on a background that resembles something very similar to Mars, to the Comedian Button to the appearance of the unknown Mr. Oz (making our memory jog back to a character from an alternate timeline that could fit the bill) to the manner in which Pandora was murdered - which again sort of jogged our memory - we are given a decent amount of information to start making assumptions and pointing fingers at likely outcomes. The biggest question remains and is still being asked in the current Rebirth shoot-offs is the concerning the manner in which the Watchmen Universe is going to be merged with the present run.
And it also sets up the comics-book world at a stage where so many questions are left to be answered.
I will leave you with this conversation quip from the actual Watchmen series as a sauce to the already whet appetite. Bon appetit.
“Dr. Manhattan: She was pregnant and you gunned her down.
Edward Blake: That’s right. And you know what, you watched me. You could’ve turned the gun into steam, the bullets into mercury, the bottle into goddamed snowflakes but you didn’t, did you? You really don’t give a damn about human beings. You’re driftin’ out of touch, Doc. God help us.”