Dark and violent yet tender and complex...
If there's one Flashpoint issue that provided a stunning, jaw-dropping moment, it would have to be "Batman Knight of Vengeance" #2. Writer Brian Azzarello took the classic Batman and Joker dynamic and twisted it to be even darker and more disturbing than usual. I won't spoil it for you in case you haven't read it, but issue #3 brings it all to a chilling, brutal, and violent conclusion, but not an ending without complexity and heart .
Azzarello's story is hands down the best of the Flashpoint mini-series. He wraps it up with a brilliant issue that goes light on the dialogue, instead setting the mood and tone by a carefully constructed story and some very clever implementation of flashbacks. The story moves at an almost poetic pace, shifting from current time to flashbacks seamlessly. The dialogue that's present is extremely effective and I particularly loved how it tied into the main Flashpoint story by the issue's end. This is just an amazing issue. My only gripe is that it is a quick read but the dark, disturbing feel and genuine tenderness at the end demands multiple readings.
Eduardo Russo's art really shines here. In fact, there's no way Azzarello's story could pack the emotional gut punch it does without Russo's amazing pencils. Everything from the clever and unique page layouts to the masterful contrast between the current panels and the flashbacks is wonderfully executed. There are some fantastic Joker panels in this book but I felt that Russo lost me with some of his depictions of the character later in the book. Nonetheless it's still an issue that could only work with a darker, moodier art style. Russo nails it.
This isn't a mini-series that you must read to understand Flashpoint. But it's a mini-series you should read if you love great stories. And while it's over in a flash (no pun intended) and Russo's Joker can look a bit off at times, it's by far the best Flashpoint tie-in series and one that will stick with me for a while.