By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
You know, this First Impressions feature has prompted me to pick up more of these Flashpoint tie-ins than I ever thought I would. Doesn’t mean I have to stick with them, mind you. But I’ve gotten a few more samples off the platter than I was intending to take.
Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #1 is about Heatwave, normally an adversary of The Flash. In the opening pages, we see him murder Jason Rusch so that he can team with Ronnie Raymond and become Firestorm. He’s caught by Cyborg (who in the Flashpoint universe, is America’s greatest superhero), and hauled off to Queens Row Penitentiary, which from the exterior looks exactly like the “Darth Vader head” hideout the Legion of Doom had on the old Super Friends show. Heatwave is scheduled to be executed for the murder of Jason Rusch. But he has a hidden ally nearby, a man who is considered a hero in the regular DCU…
Based on the solicitations for the remaining two issues, it’s looking like this story will basically be Heatwave vs. Cyborg, with each having a partner at his side, amongst a prison riot. That’s a fairly interesting premise. Also inside Queens Row is Zsasz, the Batman villain who marks his murders by placing tally marks in his skin. Amazo is also there, but he’s a “super guard” robot. I’d like to see both those characters come into play later on.
I wasn’t blown away by Legion of Doom, but I certainly wasn’t bored. I don’t intend to come back to it, simply because we (presumably) won’t be seeing these versions of the characters again any time soon, and I’d rather spend my money elsewhere. But take money out of the equation, and I’d be interested to see where this story goes. It looks like it’ll do some interesting service to the Flashpoint version of Cyborg.
OH NO! RUN! ZOMBIE TALIBAN!!!!!
Graveyard of Empires tells the story of a group of American soldiers in Afghanistan. As we open the issue, one of the locals slowly and silently approaches some of them, not saying a word. Naturally, this causes alarm and prompts one of the soldiers to shoot him dead. They later find explosives surgically placed in his body. These soldiers have no shortage of problems dealing with the locals, not to mention infighting. Toward the end of the issue, a soldier pulls a gun on his new superior officer, fearing he’ll get them all killed. But he’s interrupted by yet another silent man approaching. He’s shot down, but as his body is being inspected, he suddenly sits up and bites a soldier in the neck.
Little do these unfortunate Americans know that “Z-Day” has arrived, and that Afghanistan is about to be the center of a zombie attack!
Zombies in Afghanistan, huh? That’s…interesting, I guess. A little risque? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Graveyard of Empires just needs to watch its taste level. Thankfully, it appears to be doing that. There’s a scene where a local tells one of the soldiers who keeps calling him “Hajji” that the term actually is honorific, and “means one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca.” So this won’t be a “let’s portray the Afghanis as horrifying zombies” book.
Now that the initial threat and tone have been established, I think Sable and Azaceta need to focus a bit on character development, as it can sometimes be hard to keep track of who is who. The soldier who stands out the most in this issue is Reddick, who has…aggressive tendencies, and doesn’t mind bending, or outright breaking the rules for the greater good. It’s Reddick who wants to kill his superior officer in hopes of saving more lives. One can only wonder how Reddick will handle a zombie attack.
While I’ve grown somewhat apathetic toward zombie stories, The Walking Dead in particular, this one has piqued my interest in the short term because of its setting. I can see myself possibly coming back for seconds on this one.
Front page image from angrykoalagear.com. Legion of Doom logo from theflash.wikia.com, partial page 1 from Graveyard of Empires from comicvine.com.