DC's Geoff Johns Reveals What Brought Him Back to the World of Flashpoint Beyond and Thomas Wayne's Lethal Batman

DC fans have the chance to return to the Flashpoint universe in Flashpoint Beyond, and it all begins in Flashpoint Beyond #0. Thomas Wayne never thought he would wake up to this world again, yet here he is, and his search for answers will take him to come dark places. Flashpoint Beyond #0 is written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Eduardo Risso, colored by Trish Mulvihill, and lettered by Rob Leigh, and the team has already kicked off this universe-spanning mystery in unforgettable fashion. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Johns all about the big first issue. If you haven’t read the issue yet, spoilers are incoming, so you’ve been warned.

Flashpoint’s world has become a fan favorite, and it’s one of John’s favorites as well. So when the opportunity to revisit that world came up, he was all-in and knew exactly who would be a perfect fit for this Thomas Wayne story. What Johns didn’t want however was to revisit a story that had already been told with Wayne and this universe.

“It was originally Mike Cotton who was the original editor on the book. Andrew Marino is now and he’s fantastic, and I’ve worked with both of them, but Mike came to me and he said that they were talking about revisiting Flashpoint in some way,” Johns said. “And I was talking to him and I always loved Eduardo Risso’s work, like for my whole career I’ve always loved it. My whole reading history I’ve loved it since I read Hundred Bullets. And I told Mike, he asked me if I’d be up for doing something, and I said, well, I’d love to work with Eduardo on something with Thomas Wayne because I’m a huge fan of him and that would be an opportunity for me as a creator. We were fortunate enough that Eduardo was interested and said, yes.”

“So that got me on board initially, and then we had lunch with Tim and Jeremy who Mike wanted to bring in to the fold and they were going to work on something, and we ended up just connecting in such a great creative way, talking about all these different things and ideas and an emotional understructure that involved Bruce Wayne and Thomas Wayne, and how to make this not just like revisiting a story that I already told, but going into a next chapter of Thomas Wayne’s story and world, but have it connected firmly to the modern-day present DC Universe. Then Risso came on and his artwork’s insane. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of it, but it just started with simply Mike asking me if I was interested in revisiting it. And then as soon as Eduardo was involved and then I fell in love with Jeremy and Tim. It just turned into a really fun, cool project and story that we’re excited for people to see it,” Johns said.

Risso’s artwork creates a vivid and at times brutal picture of Thomas’ world, especially in the exchanges between Thomas and Barry Allen, including one particular sequence that will definitely have fans talking. That said, it is far from just a story about Thomas Wayne.

“Oh yeah, I love his Barry Allen too. He’s got this like buttoned-up old-fashioned Barry Allen look to him, but you can see Eduardo, his work on it is pretty stunning. And again, it’s a rare opportunity to work with an artist that you’ve admired for so long. Once I tapped into the story that we wanted to tell, so it wasn’t just a … I think these things could always feel like, oh, it’s a cash grab because we’re just doing a sequel to a story people already know, and I didn’t want to do that obviously,” Johns said. Nobody did, and we had a kernel of an idea and then we wanted to expand on that and it turned into something I think is really special. If you’ve read issue #0 you know it probably has a few things in there you didn’t expect. I think hopefully readers pick it up expecting just simply, oh, it’s just a new Thomas Wayne story in the Flashpoint Universe. It’s much more than that.”

While it isn’t solely about Thomas Wayne, he does have a big part to play in Flashpoint Beyond, and throughout the story, fans will clearly see the differences between Thomas and our universe’s Bruce Wayne. They’ll also see what happens when someone is determined to find a way out of a situation and the places they’ll go to make it happen.

“Well, there’s something really primal, tragic and violent about who Thomas Wayne is as a character, and I think one of the things that we wanted to remind readers of is that Thomas Wayne is not Bruce Wayne. This is a very, very different Batman. All of us on this call have kids. He’s a man who watched his son get shot in front of him. His 10-year-old boy gets shot and die in front of him, and he became Batman to avenge his son, and he did that in a very violent, brutal way when he killed and murdered Joe Chill, which resulted in his wife, Martha, losing her mind. Ultimately he wasn’t there for her and she became the joker and then it became even more tragic as we saw in Brian Azzarello’s series with Risso, is that ultimately Thomas confronted Martha and it was a horrific end to her,” Johns said.

“I guess the look at Thomas Wayne here is that he is not Bruce. He never will be Bruce, even if he wanted to be Bruce, which he’s now experienced through first Barry Allen telling him about his son and how he’s become Batman and what Batman he is, to Thomas Wayne actually being yanked out of this alternate timeline that existed for but a moment and became this living paradox that was within the DC Universe,” Johns said. “And at first trying to get his son to quit being Batman and then I think trying to do things differently, but ultimately Thomas Wayne is Thomas Wayne and that was something that I really felt was important to show in this story. That is that this is a violent, violent man who does things very differently. He’s more grounded. That was always the intent when I introduced him in the original Flashpoint is that he’s a surgeon. He’s very tactile.”

“And so Thomas, his story here is now confronted with, well, what if the world can’t change? What if this is the life I’m in and I have and what do I do with it? And when we meet him in this issue, his goal is to do nothing but not accept this and try and find out what happened, who did it, why? And that’s part of the big mystery that’s within story. And there are a lot of clues, every clue and hint and moment in issue zero points to what the truth is. And there are still a lot of cards to turn over. But that’s the, I guess, the center of gravity for this story. It’s about a very different kind of Batman,” Johns said.

In the midst of all of this are clues to the greater mystery and the Divine Continuum, which is being investigated by Batman and a surprising but familiar face. Clues are everywhere, and they aren’t just teases either, so if you comb over everything, including this issue, you can find some critical pieces to the larger mystery.

“Yeah. They can find critical pieces here. And also like you look at the Divine Continuum, which there’s been a lot of stories about the Multiverse and Parallel Earth and traveling through Dark Multiverses and Omniverse and all this stuff and even Dark Crisis. As you see the Divine Continuum is broken down into two things, space and time, and the Multiverse is space, the Parallel Universe is our space, but there was also I think a wonderful underused concept called Hypertime that Mark Waid introduced and Hypertime is time in time travel,” Johns said. “And we’re taking a look at that half of the reality and kind of the fabric of what reality is in the Divine Continuum. And we’re exploring what time is and what time travel is and what Hypertime is and that stuff is part of this.”

“And we felt like we wanted to dive back into these … it’s an event book with DC, and there’s a lot of, I think, tropes in these event books, and we wanted to avoid the typical Multiverse answers to the concepts and characters we were playing with,” Johns said. “So we do lean into a different aspect with the Time Masters and Hypertime and what time is actually, and how it’s different from Parallel Universes and Dark Multiverses and things like that.”

You can start putting together the clues in Flashpoint Beyond #0, which is in comic stores and digital platforms now. Let us know what you thought of the issue in the comments, and as always you can talk all things DC and comics with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!

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