In the main DCU, Bruce Wayne became Batman when his parents, Martha and Thomas, were murdered in Crime Alley. But in the DC Omniverse, there is an alternate reality where Martha and Bruce were murdered and where his father Thomas Wayne became Batman in an event called Flashpoint in 2011.
But that Flashpoint world was seemingly destroyed when DC rebooted its universe with The New 52, though Thomas survived. Now, starting April 12th, Thomas Wayne returns home to find out how his universe survived and if he can use it to bring his dead son back.
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Flashpoint Beyond, a new seven-issue comic book series, continues the threads of author Geoff Johns’ original event series.
The series begins with a Flashpoint Beyond #0 (opens in new tab) Special written by Johns and illustrated by artist Eduardo Risso, who drew the 2011 spin-off series Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance (opens in new tab)and then there will be six monthly issues from May through October, co-written by Johns with current Flash writer Jeremy Adams and Teen Titans Academy (opens in new tab)‘s Tim Sheridan and illustrated by former Justice League artist Xermanico.
While the original Flashpoint focused on Barry Allen the Flash, Flashpoint Beyond stars the older, darker Batman and other alt-reality versions of DC icons from his world.
Flashpoint Beyond will also bring together other worlds from DC’s Omniverse, featuring characters from another Geoff Johns event series, Doomsday Clock 2017 (opens in new tab) who mixed the core DC Universe and the world of Watchmen and joined the story.
Doomsday Clock mime and puppet join forces with Bruce Wayne Batman on the Flashpoint Beyond #0 preview pages, which also reveal some small details that hint at larger connections to the DC Universe.
For one, Batman’s chalkboard full of clues mentions “5G Averted” – a bit of a metatextual reference to DC’s scrapped plans to reboot its universe with younger characters. This plan came about in a different form, with a recent focus on legacy heroes at DC.
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“This is for fans of big DC events and the great history of DC when it comes to comics,” Johns says in DC’s announcement. “And while this is an event, it’s more focused on character than concept – it’s the story of Thomas Wayne Batman, a Barry Allen who could have been, the crimes of Bruce Wayne – it’s a crime thriller, a secret mission and a look into the past, present and future of the DC continuum. And as dark as it can get in this upside-down world of Flashpoint, it’s fun.”
And with that in mind, here’s a look inside Flashpoint Beyond #1 from May 3, followed by a brief Flashpoint explanation:
What is Flashpoint Beyond?
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At the 2011 Flashpoint event, Thomas Wayne/Batman Flash helped identify where their world had gone wrong and rectify the events that created this tragic twist on the timeline. They were successful and went on to tackle the line-wide New 52 DC reboot that seemingly wiped out Flashpoint reality, and Thomas Wayne/Batman jumped into main DCU reality for intermittent appearances in story arcs like the Batman/Flash crossover “The Button”. (opens in new tab),’ the recent DC event series Infinite Frontier (opens in new tab)and the current incarnation of the Justice League (opens in new tab).
But in Flashpoint Beyond, we learn that the Flashpoint reality has survived – and Thomas Wayne/Batman is even more shocked than we are. He returns to the streets of in the seven-issue series his Gotham City to unravel the multiversal mystery of its universe not die – and if there is a way to revive his beloved, deceased son Bruce.
Along the way, he finds an apparent lead to a new serial killer known as the Clockwork Killer, and this alternate Batman’s pursuit of the villain leads him to Aquaman, who in this reality is a domineering tyrant of an Atlantean empire – an empire that has conquered Europe.
And judging by the covers, Flashpoint Wonder Woman will return for Flashpoint Beyond as well.
“It has been a privilege and an incredible learning experience to work with these talented writers, artists, ink pens, letterers, colorists and editors on this series,” says Adams. “Talking about the story and the characters was eye-opening for me, and the lessons will no doubt color everything I do from now on. I am beyond excited that DC fans will return to the Flashpoint universe and experience a profound mystery that will provoke serious philosophical questions as you tug at your heart.”
There’s also an Easter egg appearance from “5G” in the thumbnails, showing DC a bit of meta. “5G” is a term coined in 2019 to refer to a planned recalibration of the DC Universe to reconcile all of its various continuities, timelines, and universes with another that has been the focus of months of rumor and speculation. Whatever DC’s actual plans, DC settled on the less restrictive and timeline-specific DC Omniverse that began in Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 (opens in new tab).
Who is the Clockwork Killer?
There’s no DC character named Clockwork Killer (yet), but given John’s recent major series, Doomsday Clock does (opens in new tab) (and his connection to Watchmen (opens in new tab)), the motif connection “clock” is unmistakable here. Especially after it was revealed that the Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan was behind the multiversal shenanigans that led to Flashpoint and then New 52.
But there is something else from DC’s past could refer to – something more off the beaten path.
In 2011, the DC series The Spirit included a storyline called Clockwork Killer. (opens in new tab)‘ – the very precise name of this apparent Flashpoint Beyond antagonist. In David Hine and Moritat’s Spirit series, the “Clockwork Killer” refers to a villain named Professor who creates clockwork-precision automatons to kill his opponents. That common name might just be insignificant… but not discounted yet.
Flashpoint’s connection to DC Comics and DC Movies
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The 2011 Flashpoint comic book event set the stage for the 2011 DCU-wide “New 52” relaunch, and the Flashpoint series itself was adapted into the 2013 animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (opens in new tab).
The upcoming live-action film The Flash is to some extent inspired by the Flashpoint event, although it remains to be seen how faithful an adaptation of the comic book storyline will be and how much the multiverse concept will play into its story.
Regardless, the Flashpoint Beyond series is set to wrap up – and possibly be released as a collection – right when the Flash movie hits theaters on November 4th.
Flashpoint Beyond #0 (of 6) goes on sale April 12th.
Interested in the idea of Batman variants? Here’s our list with everyone else Batman’s walking around the DC Omniverse.