Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, Jesse Delperdang
Date: Late October 2011
Rating: I LOVED Flashpoint 5. I thought the ending was excellent, and it was a great lead-in to The New 52 and the relaunched DC Universe.
Today I want to make a few Batman-related comments about Flashpoint 5; I’m not going to go through the whole book, which I hope you’ve read by now. Be warned, this will deal with the ending of the story, so if you haven’t read it there will be spoilers!
With Flashpoint, the problem inherent to the story (like most alternate universe stories) is that if Flash is successful in re-aligning the universe and bringing things back to “normal”, then all the events of the series are wiped away. If the war that destroyed Earth never happened, why should we care about it? As he lies dying, Flashpoint Batman (Thomas Wayne) sends Flash on his journey to end that world so a better one can replace it. I can’t tell you how much I loved Thomas Wayne in this moment! (remember, click to embiggen)
But at the same time he sends with Flash a letter for his son Bruce. This letter, and Flash’s memories of the life he never really lived, give the whole miniseries a purpose and an effect that lasts into the new 52. What changes in Batman will we see, if he’s a Batman who got some closure from his murdered father?
Bruce might be less tormented, more whole; will that change how he operates as Batman? I think not much, because this letter arrives several years after he’s taken on the cowl, and many years after his parents are killed – he’s already got years of loss and pain built up. But I hope that this message from his father changes how Bruce interacts with his own adopted sons, and that his relationship with his Robins is improved because of it.
One thing I really wonder is if the part we are shown is the whole letter. We see “Dear Son, There’s only one thing that I know about life. I know some things happen by chance.” This is beautiful, but it doesn’t feel like enough. Bruce reads the letter over four panels, and of course he could be re-reading it several times, but I think instead this suggests that the letter is longer. Also, when we see the signature at the end we see the bottom of the words preceding it, and those letters don’t match up with the words “by chance”. My theory is that the letter contained a few other things – first, that it wasn’t chance but choice, Thomas and Martha decided together to give up their lives for Bruce. Then something about being Batman, which now Bruce can share with his father, and then finally something about how his parents always loved him.
When Flash tells Bruce that he can still remember growing up with his mother (who died years ago in the “real” timeline), Bruce says “It could be a gift, Barry. A gift to make it all a little easier.” I feel like that’s what DC has given Bruce here, with the letter from his own father; some healing, even though it’s been such a long journey to get here, can go a long way.