Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

Josh Reviews the latest DCU Animated Adventure: The Flashpoint Paradox

August 20th, 2013
, ,

After the dreadful Superman: Unbound (click here for my review), I am very pleased that the latest DCU direct-to-DVD animated movie, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, is a very solid, entertaining adventure, one of the strongest DCU animated outings from the past several years.

It is certainly a much stronger adaptation of the source material than the last several animated films, which include Superman: Unbound (an adaptation of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Brainiac story from Action Comics), the two-part adaptation of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (click here for my review of part 1 and here for part 2), and an adaptation of Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli’s Batman: Year One (click here for my review).  The less said about the dull, childish Superman: Unbound the better — the animated film totally abandoned everything that was great about the original story-line from the comics.  And while there was a lot to enjoy in the adaptations of Frank Miller’s two famous Batman stories, and while I respect the ambition of tackling those two complex, iconic tales, I think the animated movies, while enjoyable, lacked a lot of the nuance and sophistication of the source material.

The original Flashpoint, a five-issue mini-series written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Andy Kubert and inkers Sandra Hope and Jesse Delperdang, is a much simpler story than, say, The Dark Knight Returns or Batman: Year One.  Perhaps that is why it fares much better being adapted into an animated film, as the action/adventure aspect of the story might have proven to be easier to turn into a compelling animated movie than the more introspective, internal Frank Miller tales.

Flashpoint, published in 2011, is famous for marking the end of the DC Comics universe as it had existed since 1985-86’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. At the end of the series, DC completely relaunched their entire superhero universe, re-starting every one of their comics with a new #1, and starting almost every character’s story over again from the beginning, calling this reboot “The New 52.”  But Flashpoint really isn’t about all that.  Instead, it’s a classic alternate-universe tale in which the Flash wakes up in a terribly altered timeline, in which Aquaman and Wonder Woman are leading their respective nations (the underwater kingdom of Atlantis and the Amazons of Themyscira) in a war with one another that threatens to destroy the globe.  Robbed of his super-human abilities, the Flash must try to figure out how and when the timeline was changed, and how he can possibly change things back.

At this point, dark alternate-timeline stories have become incredibly cliche.  It’s been a long time since my … [continued]