Silverwolf’s Den: No Clowning Around for Deadman and Company

For those of you that don’t know, this summer a new event is taking the DC Universe by storm: Flashpoint. This world is a strange mirror of the world of DC Comics we know and love: all the famous characters are there, but they are vastly altered from their well-known counterparts. I took the chance to jump into the world of Flashpoint with a series that premiered this week titled Deadman and the Flying Graysons.

As you can guess from the title, this comic focuses on both Deadman and the Grayson family, best known for their son, Dick, the first Robin in the classic Batman comics. I had not heard of Deadman until recently, but after seeing him appear in a few Green Lantern titles I realized that he’s a great character: he is the perfect blend of humor and heroics, a ghostly spirit with more life and personality than many other superheroes. This title, however, promised to show us a different side of these characters.

The comic begins in Europe, where both Deadman and the Grayson family are employed by the Haley Circus. All around them the continent in under siege by the Amazons (led by Wonder Woman) on one side and the Atlanteans (led by Aquaman) on the other. Despite the threats of violence, the unnamed ringmaster hopes his troupe of performers can bring joy and hope to the people of Europe. Deadman, alias of the acrobat Boston Brand, is the star of the show, a lone aerialist who seeks to make the audience gasp in horror as he cheats death with feats of derring-do. He seems to think himself better than the other members of the circus, refusing to help set up tents for fear of hurting his precious hands, and failing to make friends with any of his fellow performers. The Graysons, in contrast, are a close-knit family, showing perhaps what would have happened if Robin’s parents had survived into adulthood. In a clever note by the author, Dick muses that perhaps he would have turned out like Boston had he not had the support of such loving parents. As the story progresses, the circus moves from town to town, as a force of Amazons follows hot on their trail, eager to gain an artifact of power possessed by another member of the circus, another classic DC character. I don’t want to spoil the comic, but let’s just say it sets up what promises to be an exciting series.

The artwork in Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 is high quality. Mikel Janin’s artwork is spectacular, truly conveying the acrobatics of the circus performers, the power of the Amazons, and the snide attitude of Boston Brand. Interestingly, Boston and Dick have very similar physical appearances; aside from their costumes, they are differentiated mainly by their facial expressions, a warm and friendly Dick contrasted with an egotistical and antisocial Boston. The cover is perhaps my favorite piece in the entire comic: it is modeled after old circus posters circa the late 19th or early 20th centuries, giving a feeling of nostalgia despite the strangeness of the world of Flashpoint.

Overall, I feel Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 is well worth the buy. This 3-part series promises to be an interesting take on this group of characters, and I look forward to the next issue coming out in July.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Brett Simon is a twenty-one year old recent reconvert to the world of comics. He’s also afraid of clowns.

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