By Ken Tucker
Updated May 18, 2011 at 06:31 PM EDT

Flashpoint, the big new DC Comics storyline that started last week with the first of five issues, and turns out to be not just ultra-flashy, but also reminds me a little of — what else? — a TV show.

Writer Geoff Johns has created an alternative universe that, from pure coincidence, dovetails nicely with the alt-universe brought to a smashing climax recently on Fringe. In Johns’ execution, Barry Allen is plunged into another, semi-similar world and only he knows the difference. I could have done with less of the psychological underpinning of Allen’s character, “haunted by the past.” We learned along with the Flash that there’s no Superman-as-we-know-him; that Wonder Woman and Aquaman are at war (at this point, they should be allies, since both had TV pilots that were rejected by networks); and Batman runs Wayne Casinos and is heartless enough to drop someone off a roof without revealing any guiltiness. The Bat-reveal at the end of the issue only increased the feeling I had that, while the last half of the issue became more of a Batman story than a Flash story, I was totally absorbed by this vision of a grim, vindictive Batman.

Another big plus in Flashpoint is Andy Kubert’s art. It’s heroic comic-book art at its finest, all swelling musculature and grim slashes of mouths set in determination. Kubert’s women are curvy in the Dave Stevens manner, but they’re also varied: Based on preview sketches of the Flashpoint version of Wonder Woman, expect to see her in body-covering armor, not a bustier-baring David E. Kelley fantasy costume.

Apologies for getting this review up a week after Flashpoint went on sale, but real life intruded. In any case, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series, as well as a few of its myriad spin-offs, such as the Peter Milligan-Secret Seven storyline. Bottom line: I’m in.

Twitter: @kentucker