There's a twentieth century experience that I'm unfamiliar with, personally that is. Watching the television or listening to the radio in the belief that you may hear about your impending death. Both in World War II and during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Britain and America experienced that feeling, the knowledge that the next hours may be their last, trying to glean some hope from a broadcaster that was not minded to hand any out.
And that's where we begin Flashpoint #4. Barack Obama addressing the public, stating that where the superheroes had faild, America's missile programme will have to step up. Those reading Flashpoint Hal Jordan and World Of Flashpoint have been preparing for this, a nuclear missile assault on Altantis and the Amazons in retaliation for the world war set to engulf America.
And, as ever, we see a family gathered round the box trying to discern their fate. Of course, in this case, it just happens to be the Flashpoint version of the Marvel Family.
And then jump to Hal Jordan prepping his plane. And then jump to Batman and Flash. This is one of those compressed comics, a different page, a different place, jump, jump, jump. There's a lot of the world of Flashpoint to fit into this slim volume.
And what Geoff Johns gives us is a game of Quidditch in comic book form. Harry Potter readers will be familiar with the fictitious sport, in which balls have to get knocked into hoops around a three dimensional pitch, with players flying on broomsticks. Each goal gets a small amount of points, but all the time two players are trying to find the "golden snitch" worth a very large amount of points and signalling the end of the game. So it makes sense to just concentrate on the snitch. But it's so fast and so small, that you'd lose your eye on the rest of the game and end up losing. You have to use your resources and whatever game you play, you have to keep an eye on the other.
And so it is here. Flash could somehow find a way to reverse history, though we don't exactly know how, or if it's even possible at all, his memories of his previous world slowly fading. While there is actually a world war going on and the superheroes are in a position to make a final stand and stop it for good, with a series of incremental acts.
And just as with Quidditch, playing one one game may lead to the other…
Andy Kubert has a hell of a job to do here. Lots of people, all individuals, thrown all over the field of play. The George Perez routine here would be tight, concentrated pencils that would automatically lead to a certain amount of stiffness with so many bodies crowding the panel. Andy Kubert has a different approach, with minimal facial feature lines, letting the eye fill in the gaps and creating a more fluid, action adventure feel. Even when, in some cases, people are sitting around on sofas. But that doesn't last for long.
We've only seen bits and pieces in Flashpoint so far, but this is war. The book takes us into the middle of the battle. People die. Some live. And the book ends, in the midst of the bludgeoners, with a glimpse of, at least, a possible golden snitch.
They even get the colour right.
Flashpoint #4 is published by DC Comics on Wednesday 3rd August.