“The Clockwork Killer” – Finale
Writers: Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams, Tim Sheridan
Artists: Xermanico, Mikel Janín, Gary Frank
Color Artists: Romulo Fajardo Jr., Jordie Bellaire, Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Review by Derek McNeil
In Flashpoint Beyond #6, the fate of the Flashpoint Earth hangs in the balance and Thomas Wayne must make the ultimate choice! What will happen to this fractured reality and what will it mean for the future of the DC Universe at large?
Over the last five issues, Time Master Corky Baxter has been warning Batman about the impending arrival of Rip Hunter. Bruce Wayne’s been messing about with time, and Corky has given dire predictions about what Rip will do to him if he doesn’t stop. Now, Rip has finally arrived for a showdown with Bruce over the fate of the Flashpoint timeline.
Batman’s essentially used the snow globe to capture and hold the Flashpoint timeline, using Doctor Manhattan’s watch to stabilize it. The plan is risky it’s the only way to keep Thomas Wayne and his timeline from fading away into nothingness. However, the success or failure of Bruce’s plan hinges on the crucial decision Thomas makes to either accept or reject the reality he lives in.
The Flashpoint timeline’s already rather dystopian, but now it’s headed for a Kryptonian invasion of Earth. That world’s Joker, Martha Wayne, offers Thomas exactly what he needs to achieve his ultimate goal, a time machine to go back and set things right by making sure that it’s Bruce that survives the events of that fateful night in Crime Alley.
Of course, Thomas makes the decision that Bruce knew he ultimately would. As our Batman states, it was all in the letter Thomas wrote for Barry Allen to give to his son:
Your friend taught me we can’t only live a life for those we’ve lost. We have to live a life for those we still have. If I got a chance, I would hope I’d come to understand that. To live that… like you should, Bruce.
Having read that, Bruce knew that Thomas would eventually come to terms with the life he has and try to rebuild from there rather than try to change the past, and that’s exactly what Thomas does. Thus, he gives up on trying to save Bruce and focuses instead on rebuilding his family and saving lives in his own world. Thomas has finally rejected his assertion that “nothing matters”, having decided that the Flashpoint timeline does.
Bruce’s comment about Rip Hunter is very amusing:
He’s the most arrogant man I’ve ever met in my life and considering I know Lex Luthor and Hal Jordan, that’s saying something.
There are probably more than a few heroes and villains in the DCU that would classify Bruce as the most arrogant man in the universe, although both of them are rather justified in their arrogance. Rip’s because he knows everyone’s past, present, and future, so he’s armed with knowledge beyond what most characters in the DCU have access to. Bruce, well… he’s Batman. He’s regularly touted as one of the two smartest men in the world, and he knows it. So, when the two clash, it’s not surprising that Bruce comes out as the winner.
However, it seems that Bruce isn’t going to get off entirely unscathed, as the Time Masters discuss how to punish him for his actions. Corky’s all for altering Bruce’s origin story but Rip decides instead not to warn Bruce about upcoming problems with “his mother’s family”, hinting at trouble in Bruce’s near future. Is Rip referring to Batwoman Kate Kane and her father Jacob Kane? Or will some other Kanes show up to cause trouble?
There is also a mention of “the Thirteen”, which refers to a handful of new characters that Rip hopes will “reintegrate back into the 1940s without incident”. Clearly, Geoff Johns is laying some groundwork for his upcoming Justice Society title. We have seen a brief mention of Judy Garrick before, in The Flash #786. Jay seems to have a moment of déjà vu having a fleeting recognition of someone called “Judy”. I wonder if she will prove to be Jay’s previously unseen daughter.
There’s another epilogue that hints that we’re not done with the Watchmen universe either, as we see Cleopatra Pak, a.k.a. Nostalgia, who was introduced in Johns’ Doomsday Clock. She states that she’s trying to find someone called The Watchman. I suspect that she is referring to the mysterious boy that Manhattan bequeathed his powers to, at the end of that series.
I’ve enjoyed the device of using different artists for the different realities in this series as it gives both the main DCU and the Flashpoint timelines their own distinctive feel. In this final issue, a third team steps in to handle the art for the epilogue that’s set in the Watchmen Universe. This is especially appropriate as artist Gary Frank and colorist Brad Anderson worked on Doomsday Clock. Hopefully, they’ll reunite with Johns to work on the sequel that’s being hinted at here.
I have no complaints about this issue. Flashpoint Beyond #6 neatly wraps up the story and also provides a number of intriguing hints at future events. This has been a great series overall in terms of both writing and art. Johns, Sheridan, and Adams have brought Thomas Wayne’s story to a satisfying conclusion, for now, at least. Future explorations of the Flashpoint timeline would still be welcome, and several intriguing hints were dropped in this final issue that should provide all three writers fuel for future stories. This was a somewhat offbeat premise for a mini-series that turned out to be a real treat.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment