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What would you do if you woke up one morning and discovered that everything around you had changed, so much so that even the familiar is so alien, they are almost unrecognizable? And not only that, but this new world is teetering on the brink of superpowered war? This is the world which Barry Allen finds himself in; this is the world of Flashpoint.Superman is nowhere to be found; in his place, Cyborg is the world's greatest hero. Likewise, Barry's enemy Captain Cold - or rather, Citizen Cold - has filled his spot as Central City's protector. Hal Jordan never became Green Lantern; Abin Sur remains the protector of Sector 2814. Batman is uncharacteristically brutal. And most pressingly, Wonder Woman is at war with Aquaman with the former conquering the United Kingdom and the latter sinking the rest of Western Europe into the sea; if left unchecked the Amazons and Atlanteans will devastate the world.Flashpoint is a Crisis Crossover published by DC Comics, written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Andy Kubert; the series details an altered DC Universe in which only Barry Allen seems to be aware of very significant differences between the regular timeline and the altered one he awakes in. Consisting of a limited five issue run, the series will also involve sixteen 3-issue mini series, four one-shots, and a tie-in arc in Booster Gold. It was preceded by four issues of "The Road to Flashpoint" in The Flash #9-#12.This event led to a complete relaunch of the DC universe starting with Justice League #1 on August 31st 2011. Most notably, Flashpoint's conclusion served as the starting point for DC's company-wide reboot, New 52.An Animated Adaptation as part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line titled Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox was released July 30, 2013.Not to be confused with the TV show nor the Elseworlds story of the same name (though that also involves the Flash).
Amazon Brigade: Yes, even the Amazons have one. The Furies are an elite group of female warriors who serve Wonder Woman in her conquests. So far they include Artemis, Wonder Girl, Hawkgirl, Huntress, Cheetah, Starfire, and Vixen. Also present is Terra, whose powers have allowed the Amazons to keep New Themyscira (the British Isles) out of the reach of the Atlanteans.
Anyone Can Die: This, of course, being much of the fun of alternate time lines.
Apocalypse How: The world already suffered through a Class 0 caused by the war between Atlantis and the Amazons, which caused England to be taken over and most of Western Europe and part of North Africa to drown, resulting in 32 million and 100 million casualties respectively. The rest of the world isn't doing much better. Before Barry fixes things, the world heads for a Class X thanks to the Atlanteans
Area 51: What "Project: Superman" functions as. It's a top secret, heavily protected government facility located two miles beneath New Metropolis devoted to studying three alien "subjects" that arrived on Earth by rocketship. By the events of Flashpoint, Subject 1 – Kal-El – is the only surviving alien specimen, having spent his entire life within the facility.
Project: Superman also functions as a storage locker for “Subject 0”, Neil Sinclair, a jaded, failed first attempt at a super-soldier program.
Even further below it are the remnants of “Project M”, the military program which spawned The Creature Commandos during WWII. Once the war was over, Frankenstein and the rest were all forced into stasis and locked away to be forgotten, much like Subject 0.
Arranged Marriage: Wonder Woman and Aquaman were supposed to be in one, before things went to Hell.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Outsider considers having his home attacked and his employees killed inconvenient, but ruin his suit and there will be hell to pay.
Outsider: You've attacked my home. You've killed my employees. And you've ruined my suit. YOU HAVE GONE TOO FAR!
Beware the Superman: Not necessarily with Superman himself, but it appears that his "predecessor" in Project Superman, Lt. Sinclair, has let his incredible powers go to his head.
In general, the Flashpoint universe appears to have had to deal with a lot of this, what with such matters as the Atlantean / Amazonian war which has seen Western Europe submerged and 100 million killed (except for the United Kingdom — which has been occupied by the Amazons, with 32 million dead) and various other horrific superhuman battles and wars and such.
Big Bad: Though Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the more immediate problem, the Reverse-Flash seems to be the bigger threat. Subverted in that Reverse-Flash didn't cause the altered timeline, Flash did.
Black and Grey Morality: Brion Markov, king of Markovia and known in the regular continuity as Geo-Force, was willing to form an alliance with Aquaman after Wonder Woman and the Amazons took over England. This was despite the implication that Arthur was the one responsible for the assassination of Diana's mother, Hippolyta, on their wedding day. In the conversation with his advisers, Aquaman and Wonder Woman wound up being compared to Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler, respectively.
This attempt at an alliance failed SPECTACULARLY, as the Atlanteans kidnapped Brion to use him as the power source for a geo-pulse cannon, which was then used to sink all of Western Europe underwater in an attempt to destroy the Amazons. The Atlanteans were always planning on doing this to Brion, starting with Mera "saving" Brion from renegade soldiers in order to gain his trust. Aquaman had apparently wanted to go in a different direction, but went with the plan after Mera was killed.
And it turns out that Hippolyta was murdered by Artemis, acting under orders from Hippolyta's sister, Penthesilea. Her intended target was actually Diana, but Hippolyta shielded Diana from the harpoon. Artemis stole Garth's (Tempest in the regular universe) armor in order to frame him, and he was then killed by Penthesilea herself. Penthesilea was working in an alliance with Orm, Aquaman's brother.
Black Dude Dies First: Heatwave desires to be a part of the Firestorm matrix, but in order to do so he figures he must kill either one of the two people who currently share it: Jason Rusch (Black) or Ronnie Raymond (White). Guess who he kills?
Bond One-Liner: Batman/Thomas Wayne gives us one when he kills Professor Zoom.
Doctor's advice: When you're in the middle of a war... Don't stand still.
Broken Aesop: Sean Ryanintended for the Grodd Of War oneshot to be an allegory for how the Western world doesn't care about what happens in Africa in terms of all the needless deaths taking place there, and have Grodd be the mouthpiece... but this is undercut by the fact that Grodd himself was the one who killed the vast majority of them. In the story he's pissed that Cyborg or Captain Thunder (any heavy hitter really) is too busy with the European War to try to stop him. Grodd wants attention because he thinks his campaign is too easy and unchallenging to him, he probably expected the world's superheroes to try to band up against him and didn't expect the events in Europe to completely overshadow him like it has. For some readers, the attempt to apply a moral and real world comparisons to it fell pretty flat.
The Reveal introduces an even bigger one: If Barry trying to undo the Reverse-Flash's meddling only makes things worse, then essentially the DC Universe is fine with a villain mucking up time to destroy innocent lives, but breaks down completely at a hero trying to save them and undo the damage the villain causes. In other words, the universe itself is on the villains' side!
The aesop here is more or less "You can't do the exact same thing the bad guys did and expect different results just because you have noble intentions. Especially when you do it in the timestream and cause a paradox when the guy you kill is also travelling though time at a different point in his life".
The Caligula: Without anyone challenging him Grodd has turned into this, and turned most of Africa into one mass grave after killing half of the human population.
Canon Immigrant: Grifter is a member of Britain's resistance. And it's implied that Neil Sinclair, a.k.a. Subject Zero, is Apollo from The Authority. The Wildstorm 'verse as a whole was incorporated into the DCU in the relaunch (as was the Vertigo Comics 'verse, but that was based in the DCU to begin with).
Technically there was/is no regular Vertigo universe. The characters that made up the first books when Vertigo became an imprint were still a part of the regular DCU, for the most part. A good chunk of their adventures were relegated to Canon Discontinuity due to conflicting portrayals in the regular DCU.
Continuity Nod: Clayface is a member of Deathstroke's pirate crew. In regular continuity, the second Clayface, Matt Hagen, tried to make a living by discovering sunken wrecks and pilfering whatever was inside. This is how he came upon the protoplasm that would (temporarily) turn him into a shapeshifter.
Slaughter Swamp, where Frankenstein and his team are headed, played a major part in Seven Soldiers, where Frankenstein was introduced (though Frankenstein himself didn't go there). Also known as the "birthplace" of Solomon Grundy in the regular DCU.
Cool Old Guy: Thomas Wayne as Batman must be at least in his fifties at this time, yet he easily chases down young criminals and earns the respect of all the other heroes in the Flashpoint timeline.
Cosmic Retcon: Not the Flashpoint universe but the one after it. DC used this event to relaunch the entire DC universe and had 52 issue ones. The in-story explanation is that when restoring history, Flash is told by Pandora to integrate the Wildstorm and Vertigo Comics timelines as well.
Covers Always Lie: Amethyst appeared in her original costume on the cover of Secret Seven #2. She didn't appear like that anywhere in the story.
Crapsack World: Let's see... Wonder Woman has invaded the United Kingdom with 32 million casualties. Aquaman has sunk the entirety of Western Europe under the sea, with 100 million dead. They seem poised to break the world. Brazil is occupied by the Nazis, and Alaska is apparently the "Land of the Undead".
Half of Africa has been conquered by Gorilla Grodd and his genocidal super-gorilla army, and this is seen as a background event.
Cursed with Awesome: The Canterbury Cricket was once an ordinary university student who was caught up in the middle of the Amazonian invasion of the U.K. and, for reasons he still isn't fully sure of found himself as a giant cricket thing with superpowers. It's unknown even to him if he can turn back, but he has decided to use his situation to try to help the U.K Resistance against the Amazons.
Cycle of Revenge: The Atlantis/Amazon War seems to be this. To reflect this the covers for the #3 issues of Wonder Woman and Aquaman's focus series feature them beating up the other.
Daddy's Girl: Implied. Raven more closely resembles her father Trigon, with red skin and four eyes. But given the fact that he was a member of the previous Secret Seven, and she's a member of the current one, he may not have been as evil in this world as the mainstream one.
Wonder Woman and Aquaman are both fierce warlords attempting world domination against one another and committing massive genocides for varying reasons.
Batman has no qualms over killing people; it's hinted that he has a habit of offing criminals who don't give him information. And it turns out his wife also survived that night and became The Joker...
Instead of crash-landing in a small, rural field in Kansas, the rocketship containing little Kal-El crashes right in the middle of Metropolis, along with a meteor shower, pulverizing the city to rubble and killing thirty-five thousand people.
In addition, instead of a passing motorist rescuing him and putting him in an orphanage, the government got its hands on Kal-El and formed Project: Superman. They later took Krypto and Kara Zor-El as well when their rockets arrived on Earth. Currently, Kal-El is barely alive, but free from captivity thanks to Flash, Batman, and Cyborg; Krypto has withered away into a skeleton; and Kara's fate is unknown, though some throwaway dialogue hints that she did not survive either.
They also found an entombed Doomsday, and attempted to use him as a weapon. It worked about as well as could be expected, really.
After years of being tormented through experimentation and abuse at the hands of The Outsider and others, J'onn J'onzz has become a cold-hearted leather jacket-wearing mercenary, willing to kill anyone who stands in his way.
The Legion of Doom mini-series both averts and subverts this. Regular FlashRogueHeat Wave becomes protagonist, as we follow his intense hunt for revenge against this universe' main hero, Cyborg. He willingly and brutally slaughters any and all in his way to get revenge against a hero, who wronged him, whilst saving hundreds of lives from unnecessary deaths.
Plastic Man as well; normally a Reformed Supervillain, his Flashpoint incarnation is a sociopath mercenary, who performs some rather... graphic acts during his employment under Heat Wave.
Death Seeker: Grodd keeps making intentionally risky decisions (surrounding himself with untrustworthy subordinates, engaging in pointless fights to the death, etc.) because he wants a Worthy Opponent to kill him.
Despair Event Horizon: Even after the murder of Hippolyta and the destruction of Themyscira, Aquaman remained extremely reluctant to declare war upon the Amazons and had desperately attempted to seek peace with Wonder Woman. But then Diana killed Mera. This tipped Arthur over the edge once and for all and prompted the sinking of Europe.
Determinator: His entire body scorched to a crisp and bandaged like a mummy after a failed first attempt to regain his powers, Barry Allen immediately insists on attempting the lightning accident again... Thankfully it works the second time.
Development Gag: In the Flashpoint-verse, the Shazam powers were given to a group of six kids, one power each, who can join forces to summon "Captain Thunder". The use of six heroes was the original concept for Captain Marvel before the writers decided to give all the powers to just one guy, and "Captain Thunder" was the original choice for his name before they found it was trademarked.
It's also the name of the Captain Ersatz of Captain Marvel that DC introduced to fight Superman before they secured the rights to the actual character.
Downer Ending: The end of Booster Gold #47, which depicts Booster slowly losing his memories, just able to find Barry before his attempt to help forces him to Vanishing Point with all of his memories of the old DCU completely forgotten, and Alexandra reduced to chronal energy who can only try to warn Booster by writing information about Flashpoint on Rip Hunter's chalkboard before vanishing into nothingness as was shown at the start of Booster's tie-in.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Part of Grodd's troubles is that no matter how successful his expanding empire is, everyone is too focused on the Amazon-Atlantean War to give him any time of day.
Even Evil Has Standards: Plastic Man, after helping Heatwave brutally murder every mook standing in their way of taking over Queen's Prison, is shocked when Heatwave reveals his intentions to crash the prison into a packed city full of innocent people and tries to stop him. Heatwave melts him, but he gets better.
Expendable Alternate Universe: Played with; Flash is, understandably, rather eager to restore the universe back to its original state as opposed to the rather sucky place it has become, but comes to realize that there are still real people living and dying here and is willing to help save the world as it currently is. Batman, however, inverts this; although he's part of the Flashpoint universe, he's even more eager than Flash to wipe this version of reality away and replace it with the original reality so that his son can live, even knowing that he himself will be dead in that reality.
Fifth Week Event: Of a sort. The final issue shipped on a fifth week, and DC hyped up the fact that it (and Justice League #1, the first relaunched title) were the only comics they published that week.
Flash Sideways: Traci 13, who gets glimpses of her life in the main DCU.
For Want of a Nail: This seems to be the main theme of the series, with Barry Allen trying to find out what changed history so radically. It becomes increasingly apparent over the course of the series that it's much more complicated than that; with Zoom's description of the changes resembling a full-on Time Crash.
Frame-Up: The murder of Queen Hippolyta by Artemis. The Amazon had disguised herself as an Atlantean with the intention to assassinate Aquaman, but Hippolyta sensed the attack and took the fatal blow instead. Upon being discovered by Garth, Artemis beats him senseless and frames him for the death of the queen, instigating the bad blood between the Amazons and Atlanteans.
Also apparently one of the Outsider's tactics.
Framing Device: The narration of the main 5-issue comic series is a letter from one Batman to another.
Freak Lab Accident: Barry tries to replicate the one that made him the Flash. Not only does it not work, it horribly injures him to boot. Of course, then he tries it again and it works.
Gambit Roulette: Though Barry's decision to save his mom touched off the event, a mysterious entity is manipulating the event behind the scenes to mash together one timeline out of three that will have the right heroes to combat a threat.
General Ripper: General Nathaniel Adam (known in regular continuity as Captain Atom) who is probably one of the worse human villains in the story. Surprisingly averted by General Sam Lane, who actually treated Kal-El (or "Subject 1") as an actual child in a complete reversal of his DCU counterpart where he was one of the worst human beings ever portrayed in recent memory.
The Ghost: Or rather, ghosts. The previous members of the Secret Seven, Trigon, Klarion, Simon Magus, Stiletto, and Miss X are never shown, unlike their teammate Black Orchid, who appears in all three issues for various reason despite being dead. Trigon could be briefly seen in a warped flashback Shade suffers in #1, though.
Go Mad from the Revelation: Both the Waynes after witnessing their son Bruce's death, Martha much more so than Thomas... however, she despairs completely after her husband describes an "Elseworlds" version of what would've happened that night in Crime Alley had they died and Bruce lived, specifically after hearing that Bruce would have followed in his father's footsteps, and not by becoming a doctor...
Heel Face Door Slam: For a brief moment, Wonder Woman manages to earn Aquaman’s trust again as she explains her discovery of the conspiracy behind their war. Arthur even calls off his Geo-Pulse Cannon to hear her out. His traitorous brother Orm then secretly detonates several Atlantean war vessels, causing Arthur to reorder the sinking and invasion of New Themyscira with a vengeance.
I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Slaughter Swamp" is where Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown must go in hopes of regaining their humanity... (It's not very nice in the main DCU either, being the place where Solomon Grundy was created.)
This also seems to apply to Oracle, whose role here has been filled by Selina Kyle rather than Barbara Gordon, who was never even born in this timeline.
La Résistance: The Resistance against Amazon occupation of the U.K. (which they call New Themyscira), an underground organization of humans and meta-humans alike. Led by Grifter, its members include Etrigan, Godiva, Ms. Hyde, The Canterbury Cricket, Count Vertigo, Kid Devil, The Question, Lois Lane, and Doctor Fate aka Dick Grayson.
The Mole: Enchantress for the Amazons. Ms. Hyde is a subversion, because her human side sided with the Amazons because they promised her a cure from the monster within her, but the monster itself is still on the Resistance's side.
Monster Mash: Frankenstein and his commandos, who include a vampire, a wolfman, and a fishwoman. Oh, and Frankenstein's Bride.
No Sympathy: A key difference between the regular Aquaman & his Flashpoint counterpart is that Tom Curry attempted to raise Arthur with a sense of kindness, patience, and humility. Regular Aquaman took it with his heart. Flashpoint Aquaman saw it as weakness, especially since his father's virtues couldn't help him from being killed by Atlantean soldiers.
Off Model: In Deadman and the Flying Graysons, there's a panel where Dick and his dad seemingly swap costumes, as the Grayson in red calls the other Grayson "dad". Before this and after this panel, the Grayson in red is Dick's dad.
Off with Her Head!: Diana beheads Mera, takes her helmet, and sends her headless body to Aquaman. Though its not revealed what she's done with her head, it's likely she kept it as a trophy.
Again, Barry the split-second before realizing his attempt to recreate his Super Hero Origin to recover his speed isn't working and has instead burned all of his skin off.
Enchantress gets this just as she on the verge of killing the heroes then looks up and notices something coming her way fast. It's Superman and his landing turns her into a bloody smear on the pavement.
Papa Wolf: Deathstroke, who in this reality is a pirate captain, is searching for his missing daughter, Rose Wilson. It's implied that this reality's Deathstroke hadn't stooped to the same level as his regular continuity counterpart did in order to control her. When she's finally shown, the two actually appear to love each other in a way that's no longer possible for their mainstream counterparts.
Also Sam Lane, in what has to be an entirely GIGANTIC reversal of his previous portrayal in the mainstream DC Universe. Despite the underlying feeling that he's looking towards Kal as the son he never got (instead he got Lois - and Lucy, too, but she's never seen or mentioned), he refers to them both as "my children" when he goes up against Subject Zero in order to prevent any harm towards the two.
Person of Mass Destruction: This series shows just what Aquaman could do if he wasn't so nice. Mainly, kill millions of people. Wonder Woman has been implied to have done the same thing to the people of England in order to turn it into New Themyscira.
Red Herring: Were lead to believe that Element Woman might be the mole in the group as she constantly keeps claiming she wants to help and is a bit touched in the head. However it turns out that Enchantress was the real mole later on.
The Reveal: In Flashpoint issue 5 it's learned that Professor Zoom didn't cause the alterations to the timeline, but Barry Allen did when he attempted to prevent Zoom from killing his mother.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Barry, Booster Gold, Kid Flash and Hot Pursuit. Though Barry was only partly immune without the Speed Force, as he was getting memories of the Flashpoint timeline.
In fact, it's the gradual failure of this that causes Barry to forget that he caused all of this in the first place.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Traci 13 discovers Circe, trapped in the Antarctic. She was imprisoned because she tried to warn Diana of her aunt's plot to kill her, but because the Amazons effectively turned their backs on her she's decided to leave them to their fate when Traci saves her.
Sequel Hook: At some point before Barry broke history and completely unrelated to this mess, some villain split the DCU into three timelines (main, Wildstorm, and Vertigo) to keep its heroes from uniting against him/her/it.
Spin-Off: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown written by Jeff Lemire and Secret Seven written by Peter Milligan verge on this trope despite being in an alternate reality. Both feature less popular cult characters (Frankenstein and Shade the Changing Man) that are starring in new series (Frankenstein stars in Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and Shade in Justice League Dark) as part of DC's relaunch of their entire line and are being written by the writers of their respective mini-series.
Frankenstein is definitely this trope - Lemire got the ongoing because DC liked the mini.
Take Up My Sword: In Kid Flash Lost, Hot Pursuit turns out to be Patty Spivot, who took on Hot Pursuit's identity after the original, an alternate version of Barry Allen, died. She wound up in the future of the Flashpoint world along with Bart Allen, with her memories completely intact.
Lois Lane winds up taking Jimmy Olsen's place as Cyborg's contact in the U.K., after Jimmy is killed during the flooding of Paris.
Dick Grayson, the only survivor of the Amazon attack on Haley Circus, retains the helm of Nabu and joins The Resistance as the new Doctor Fate.
Martha: Oh, god... *runs away from Thomas, as he tries to catch her, until she jumps into the Batcave, dying while despairing over her son*
Viva Las Vegas: What Batman has effectively turned Gotham into, using Wayne Casinos to fund his war on crime.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Terry Thirteen and the H.I.V.E. Council, who plan to stop the Atlantean / Amazonian war by killing 118 million people.
WHAM Episode: Batman: Knight of Vengeance #2. Selina Kyle is revealed to be a quadriplegic Oracle, Jim Gordon accidentally shoots one of the Dent kids, and he himself gets killed by the Joker, who turns out to be MARTHA WAYNE.
Worthy Opponent: In a world without anyone (mainly a Flash) to oppose him, Grodd has taken control of his race of hyper-intelligent gorillas, taken control of what's left of the African continent and killed nearly half the human population on said continent. He's also incredibly bored with the situation, feeling that there isn't anything to truly challenge him. Desperate to find anyone who could challenge him intellectually or in combat, he is willing to surround himself with enemies who want to kill him and directly inspire anyone to try to seriously kill him.
Would Hurt a Child: The Joker and Wonder Woman's aunt. The Joker is specifically referred to as a "child murderer"