Robot 6

Is Flashpoint DC’s deadliest (and bloodiest) event yet?

Congorilla meets his end in Flashpoint: Grodd of War #1

DC Comics has been criticized for the sheer brutality and wholesale slaughter depicted in its blockbuster crossovers and events, where characters are decapitated, disemboweled and devoured with a frequency that approaches parody. But is it possible that Flashpoint, that concludes next week just as “The New 52″ debuts, has a butcher’s bill that makes the body count of Final Crisis seem like, well, kid’s stuff?

Like a U.N. observer, Funnybook Babylon’s Chris Eckert surveyed the sprawling battlefield — no easy task, considering there’s the core title, 16 miniseries and a handful of one-shots — and emerged with a death tally that’s staggering, as entire nations fell in alternate-timeline global wars involving Aquaman’s Atlanteans, Wonder Woman’s Amazons, Gorilla Grodd’s armies, and other factions.

“Given that everything is going to be returned to The New Normal at the end of it, DC has gone hog wild with killing people off in Flashpoint,” Eckert wrote. “It’s not just ‘shocking’ death scenes for beloved intellectual property: the Flashpoint Earth got seriously depopulated.”

Sure, but just how seriously? He conservatively places the death count at about 833 million, or the rough equivalent of the combined populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico — on our world, in any case. (Eckert actually breaks down the figures by event, some of which require guesswork while others lead him to throw up his hands.) And that’s just on Earth; Nekron and his Black Lantern forces have consumed about one-fifth of the universe, which brings the tally to … let’s see … carry the 2 … hm. Let’s just leave it at “a lot.”

But Flashpoint isn’t just about faceless mass murder. Oh, no! For those who like their feline superheroines with their heads punched off, or their teen superheroes eaten by bioengineered crocodiles, the crossover has plenty of that, too. Okay, maybe not the latter, but Eckert assembles an impressive list — wait, “impressive” isn’t the right word — of deaths ranging from the by-now-mundane beheading to head-squishing to exploding body parts to suicide.

The under-served death-by-digestion demographic isn’t completely forgotten by Flashpoint‘s writers: Eckert notes that Cheetah is killed, and possibly eaten, by Etrigan the Demon. See, Sobek Nation? You were thrown a bone after all.

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19 Comments

I really dislike DC’s exploitation of sex and violence in their stories. I don’t read their books and feel super anymore, mostly, I just feel dirty.

Maybe they’ll get this silly, adolescent junk out of their system with Flashpoint and the new 52 will be less goofy.

Flashpoint even puts X-Force to shame.

How is this different from nearly every other major storyline or crossover done by either Marvel or DC, particularly those involving the X-men, alternate timelines, possible futures, or all of the above? Hell Wolverine was disintegrated by a Sentinel on the cover X-men 20 years ago. If violence in comics is silly and adolescent, then it’s been that way for decades, and probably always will be.

As if Marvel is immune. This is just another attempt to whitewash DC as butchers. Are we already forgetting that some of Marvel events lately START with the slaughter? Civil War = dead school kids. Siege = dead sports fans. Fear Itself = the attack on Washington. And is there any scene more gorefilled than when Sentry rips Ares apart in Siege? Come on. Stop with the DC violence bashing. It’s an old game to try and stir the pot.

@Jeff

Don’t forget the independent labels – they’re just as bad. Dynamite, IDW, Image…I’d say only Archie is exempt.

Bottom line, comics aren’t just for kids anymore. The comics companies publish what sells to their core audience, and as long as people buy the books, they will continue to publish violence, etc. I mean, come on…they are super heroes. Violence is part of the game.

Blackest Night was much worse in my opinion, but then again I haven’t been following Flashpoint closely.

And I agree with Paul and Jeff. One of the biggest non-Big Two superhero comics right now is Invincible, and I’d say that the violence in that book has been gratuitous for quite a while.

Come on. I don’t care how big of a DC fan you are, you have to admit DC has become known for the depictions of violence in their comics for the past few years. No one is saying Marvel doesn’t do the same thing at times, but DC does it with far more frequency. You can name multiple examples of bloody, graphic deaths in every issue of DC’s recent “event” series, while the only significant graphic death I recall in Marvel’s was the Ares example noted in a prior post.

Maybe this is why the mainstream public has been turned off by comics for the past three decades. I’m surprised no one started a petition to get the companies to make their content less violent than they already are. Censorship debates aside, you’d think someone would try to do that.

Don’t forget everbody in the universe the Manhunters have killed.

I think that the whole point of the story is that the Reverse Flash managed to create a timeline where, devoid of Barry Allen as the Flash and devoid of Superman and Batman as we know them, everything is beyond bad. It’s pretty much the DCU version of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” or other dystopic alternate timeline stories. Which means that I am not as disturbed as I would be if these events were in a regular ongoing continuity.

I found Ultimatum a long worse, mainly because NYC was decimated. And then rebuilt offscreen with utter ease. Massive death, glossed over, is even worse than massive death with repercussions.

“Bottom line, comics aren’t just for kids anymore. ”

More like “comics just aren’t for kids anymore”, at this rate.

Yeeeeugh . . . maybe this is just me being the squeamish squeamster I am, but I really hope DC tones it down with the blood-flinging in the New 52 – at least outside of the titles starring HARDCORE!!! characters. I’m fine with death and destruction in fiction, but it ought to be a /dramatic/ spectacle, not “slam the book shut before the guts fly off the page and ruin your shirt.”

DC, if you’re really trying to court the gaming/moviegoing crowd, remember that “T” games and “PG-13″ movies tend to do just as well as, if not better than, their higher-rated cousins.

“Sobek Nation” is now my favorite catch phrase.

Flashpoint the actual comic, is actually shockingly free of on-panel violence and gore and is probably the most restrained event comic Johns has ever written. It’s actually extremely refreshing in that manner and is one of the big reasons I’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

The shitty tie-ins however are a completely different story. For the most part, if you’re reading the majority of them that is purely your own fault.

@Mikael

You have a point, Marvel (And any comic company, Walking Dead had a two page panel of a kid shot in the head. adult or not, its a popular comic) does very violent scenes, I think the issue is how much of a point there is to said violence. Flashpoint has just been TERRIBLE and everything has been senseless, which I think is the arguement here.

Comic book writers know that if they can’t think of great new ideas, or great new characters, they can always substitute death and bloodshed.

I wonder how many editors sit in their offices, twirling their pencils, thinking, “Let’s see… who can we kill off next?”

Apparently, shock value sells more comics than creativity.

I know a lot of people are big on moral equivalency, especially on the internet which seems to be much more partial to bashing Marvel than bashing DC as a whole, but come on now, while Marvel aren’t angels, DC is much worse and has been much worse for quite some time regarding gratuitous violence. Even the death of the schoolkids in Civil War, you hardly saw anything. No gore, nothing. Same for the New Warriors who died. It’s not the quantity of death alone that makes DC especially bad but how explicitly it’s always depicted that makes them much worse than Marvel.

I do agree with whoever said Invincible is one of the worst books outside of the big 2 when it comes to gratuitous violence. I lost interest in the book as a result.

Actually, the one Marvel event I could think of with graphic violence on-panel as bad and tasteless and gratuitous as DC’s was Ultimatum, but that was written by Jeph Loeb, so I don’t count it.

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