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Blu-ray Review: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

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justice league the flashpoint paradoxEver hear the old saw, “For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost”? This old story packs plenty of truth, especially for fans of alternate history who understand its fullest import. We’ll get a look at just how true that is with “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox,” a copy of which our friends out at Warner Bros sent out for review.

“Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” starts off very simply, with the Flash, missing his mother. Nora Allen died in the midst of a violent crime, and that tore the young Barry Allen up. But one day, the world is a much different place for Barry. Nora is alive, and his speed powers…well…they’re not around either. But it gets stranger, as a laundry list of changes start to crop up: Superman is nowhere to be found. Batman has gone off the deep end, becoming a gun-toting lunatic vigilante. Atlantis is waging all-out war against Themyscira, and the Flash, realizing the horror unleashed by that one little change, must find a way to set the timeline right, with a lot going on that really shouldn’t be, and a lot of things that never were. What caused it? What can fix it? We find out right here.

This is the first Justice League video that’s come out from Warner in a little while now. These are usually well done; frankly, I was a little annoyed when “Justice League: Unlimited” got shut down on Cartoon Network back in the day. But ever since, the boys at DC / Warner have commonly done a fine job with these animated releases. Indeed, the saying in the beginning is wonderfully apropos, and illustrates the situation nicely. The complete saying, of course, is paraphrased as: “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the battle was lost. For want of a battle, the war was lost. For want of a war, the kingdom was lost.” This series of small changes ends up snowballing into much bigger, and often much worse, consequences.

Some really exciting moments come around because of this alteration in circumstances. Ever want to see Clayface team up with Deathstroke to fight Atlantis? Yeah, that’s here. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Seriously, it’s the tip of the iceberg. You’re going to see characters in here who probably shouldn’t be in here to begin with. I don’t know how some of them got here, but I do know that this is easily one of the most expansive, if not downright weirdest storylines I’ve ever seen. This is an incredible new look at some of the oldest characters in the DC universe, and it’s so blatantly unexpected that it can’t help but impress.

Fair warning to the parents considering letting the kids watch: there’s a lot more blood in this than might be expected normally, and a little saltier language as well.

Special features here include your choice of English, French, or Latin Spanish subtitles and the same languages in audio tracks, a featurette on time travel in the Flash universe, a featurette on the Flash’s rogues’ gallery, an audio commentary, the Flashpoint #1 digital comic, four separate bonus cartoons, a special look at “Justice League: War,” and trailers for “Man of Steel,” DC Heroes, the Ultraviolet platform, “Superman: Unbound”, and “Lego Batman the Movie: DC Super Heroes Unite.”

“Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is a terrific look at what might have been, and what shouldn’t have been.  Alternate history is generally fun, and this go-round was no different. It’s a treat to see this universe, and hopefully, to see others to boot in the future. At this rate, I want to be around for most anything Warner does with the Justice League, and they can’t put these out fast enough.

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