The world of Flashpoint is back, despite the best efforts of one of its citizens. Now, Thomas Wayne’s Batman must get to the bottom of his world’s sudden reappearance into reality, without the help of the man that set the universe right in the original Flashpoint storyline. On May 3rd, DC released the first issue of Flashpoint Beyond #1, following Thomas as he dives into the mystery that spans his world and leaks into the “correct” universe his son still occupies. And right off the bat, we learn that the answers Thomas seek come with a heavy cost.
Spoilers ahead for Flashpoint Beyond #1
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Flashpoint Beyond #1 is drawn by Xermánico and Mikel Janin, written by Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams, and Tim Sheridan, colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Jordie Bellaire, and lettered by Rob Leigh. The issue begins where the prologue left off – with Barry Allen and Harvey Dent dead, killed after a mysterious Atlantean assassin tracked them down.
Thomas was able to catch up with the harpoon-wielding killer and get him to confess who sent him but not why. Furious, Thomas beats the Atlantean soldier to death, swearing vengeance on the person who sent him. That is, the emperor of Atlantis himself, King Arthur. Batman vows to take the fight to the tyrant, however, his next stop isn’t Atlantis. It’s London.
At the end of the original Flashpoint storyline, the heroes of that universe worked to stop an apocalyptic battle between Arthur of Atlantis and Diana of Themyscira. And though they succeeded in that story, the events of Flashpoint Beyond did not go as well. Atlantis won the fight and took over Great Britain, threatening to drown the island country unless the surface world meets their demands.
It’s into this tense geo-political situation that Thomas goes, invading a partially-submerged Parliament to look for a prisoner of the war. He locates Princess Diana quickly, saving her from a couple of angry Atlantean guards and freeing her from captivity. He only asks in return that Diana lend him her Lasso of Truth, though the Wonder Woman of this broken universe is reluctant to let it go.
Cut to Arthur’s temporary throne room, where Thomas sneak-attacks the Atlantean king. Apparently, he’s made Diana a bargain she liked, because the Dark Knight of Vengeance now does battle against Aquaman with her Lasso in hand. Though Arthur outmatches Thomas in speed, strength, and skill, the Batman does manage to loop the Lasso around his adversary to ask why he sent the assassin.
“Whoever sent the scavenger,” says Arthur, “It wasn’t me.”
Reeling from the truth, Thomas loses focus on the fight and is beaten to the ground. Enraged by the attack, Arthur is going to kill Thomas, but not before activating the flood that will destroy England. Just as he’s about to solidify his victory of the surface world for good, Wonder Woman appears, having stolen his trident away when he wasn’t looking.
She plunges it into his back.
As Arthur lies dying, Wonder Woman tells him that his reign (and man’s) is over. She curses him for being a fool, saying that she once did love him (fans will remember that Arthur and Diana carried on a scandalous affair in Flashpoint). With his last breaths, Aquaman tells Diana it was only Mera that he really loved, and then he dies.
Thomas, meanwhile, has already moved on from the scene. Diana tells him that their deal is done and that now she and her Amazons will be coming for him and his world. The threat does not scare this Batman, however.
“It doesn’t matter,” he tells the vengeful queen. “Nothing here matters.”
How will Wonder Woman treat the world of men now that she’s free from Aquaman’s prison? And if Aquaman didn’t send that mystery assassin, who did? We’ll just have to wait for more answers until Flashpoint Beyond #2 hits comic shops and digital platforms everywhere on June 7th.
The death of the Flashpoint universe’s Aquaman doesn’t affect his “real” counterpart, however, the Arthur Curry of the regular DC canon also just met his grisly end. Find out more about how it happened in Newsarama’s recounting of the Death of the Justice League.