Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
Justice League United: Futures End #1:
Yeah, any comics that feature a polar bear that shoots lasers from its eyes can’t be all bad, and that’s kind of the story of Justice League United: Futures End. Written by Jeff Lemire (Animal Man) and illustrated by Jed Dougherty (Action Comics,Glory), United brings in heroes from the Legion of Super-Heroes along with the Flash, Cyborg and some dude with the American flag as a cape to battle against a string of evil menaces on Mars. There are some clever little scenes in here – an extended set-piece by Lemire that shows how much Animal Man loves his family and some funny repartee about Mars – but this is mostly a paint-by-numbers super-hero action epic that people who know the series will like and those who don’t know it will find vaguely clever.
Then in part two, Justice League: Futures End, Lemire and Dougherty reveal the real power of the villain, the nigh-omnipotent Captain Atom (who is more divine even than Monsignor Moody) – though his threat doesn’t cause the regular heroes and villains to fight their pointless, unimportant battles that seem trivial next to the power of ol’ Cap. It’s sweet that the power of love rather than the power of hate defeats the villain, but it all seems kind of dull and pointless – just more arbitrary guys in suits fighting each other. Captain Atom was vaguely interesting but everything around him was just not necessary.
– Jason Sacks
Wonder Woman Futures End #1:
Hell hath no fury like a horned — and even worse, horny — Wonder Woman on a mission in Futures End Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman. We begin Charles (Inhuman) Soule‘s story 5-years in the future where the back-stabbing bitch, Nemesis, has all but completely taken Wonder Woman’s fortress. InSuperman/Wonder Woman, the Man of Steel pops up from the past like a newly-single old ex boyfriend to join superhuman forces and help Wonder Woman defeat the powers against her.
The artwork for both comics is apropriately colored and strong, with both Diana and Clark drawn as muscle-jacked as a Muscle Milk ad. Overall I’d give both comics 4/5 Testosterone Pills for story and artwork, with a little appreciated superhuman sexual healing tied into its love-story line.
– Jackie Henley
Batman Futures End #1:
I had the chance to sit down with two very different Futures End Batman Titles from Ray Fawkes (Constantine). The former book gives us a look at a battered and beaten Batman on a quest for self-preservation. Its this aspect of the book that takes it into unfamiliar territory, which provides for a pretty interesting premise actually. The panels are filled to the brim with a sense of claustrophobia, thanks to Aco’s art, that fits well for this book and provides a nervous and anxious tone to the book. White the latter story, Batman and Robin, explores more familiar territory and feels the most connected to the current Batman storyline. The title may be “Batman and Robin” but Robin steals the show here. Batman is engaged with a deadly foe for the entire issue, but the real story lies in the relationship between Bats and Robin, that we’re only given glimpses of through dialogue. Right away, your Dynast wanted to know more about this Robin, and I’m hoping that the Gods will find a way for his main continuity inclusion. Both stories explore different themes of the Batman mythos. I thoroughly enjoyed both reads, but the Batman and (new) Robin relationship in the latter book made that the better pick for me. But still check out both, you won’t be batappointed.
– Dana Keels
Constantine Futures End #1:
I don’t profess to know exactly why this latest story arc is happening, but this Constantine one-shot was a satisfying enough read. Everyone’s favourite feisty street-magician and petty wizard is given appropriately snarky voice here by Fawkes, as he faces off against a foe far more powerful than he. This encounter is beautifully illustrated by artist Juan Ferreyra, whose inks and thin shading, in combination with the Coloring work of Tanya and Richard Horie, give certain panels and pages the feel of pencil-finished art, and even watercolor.
The art is perhaps the saving grace of this comic; as while John Constantine himself is ever entertaining, the plot for this issue serves little in the way of surprise or nuance. An adequate jumping-on point for new readers unfamiliar with this generally fantastic character who want to know before the TV series hits NBC this fall.
Conversely, the Pandora: Trinity of Sin feels like an ending; like the hurried resolution of an unfinished story being crammed into a one issue epilogue. Ray Fawkes is a quality author, but this is not particularly on display here; with a convoluted narrative, and an arc that all but resolves itself without any great use of characterization or plot. Tom Derenick and Francis Portela‘s artwork is clear and vibrant, and makes use of the mystic and mature themes at play with a playfully mainstream, classicist comic-bookishness that is in contrast with the horror-toned cover art of Guillem March and Tomeu Morey.
– Luke Anderson
Batgirl Futures End #1:
Batgirl: Futures End opens with what seems like a bright future for Barbara Gordon on her wedding day and quickly turns to tragedy. What is any “Bat” without the darkness that sparks the enevitable journey towards the light? Barbara quickly retreats to form a darker image of herself in true Bane-like style. She has three “Batgirls” that do the vigilante work for her while she stays in the bat cave. I find the story starting in a place that “Bat” fans can get behind. It is Barbara Gordon as you have not truly seen her before: Venomed the frack up!
On the other side of the bat cave there is Batwoman…I think– more like murderous “vampire” Batwoman. A story that made me question my sanity and kinda made no sense to start. Two sisters. One must murder the other and vice versa. One “good” and one “evil”. I was hoping for some level of understanding but as I read on I couldn’t wait until it ended. So in this crazy Batgirl vs. Batwoman review week, would say Barbs won by a batslide!
– Jennifer Flatebo
Superboy Futures End #1:
Are these supposed to be jumping-on points? If so: Fail. Tony Bedard (Blue Beetle) does a much better job at explaining what has happened to Supergirl, and just who this cast of characters presented in this story is. But something is better than nothing. Frank J. Barbiere (Five Ghosts) offers no real explanation as to who Superboy’s entourage is, who they are fighting and why. Both books offer some sentimental smoochie bullcrap. In Superboy, the love scene is a hiccup in the story.
In Supergirl, it was integral to the conflict– which still made me want to vomit in my mouth, however. And that’s not because of kooties or whatever, it’s because no two people romantically or sexually interested in each other act the ways these characters do. Ben Caldwell’s pencils inSuperboy are just awful, with facial expressions don’t match the words in the panel and body proportions that are way beyond belief; and sometimes whole panels look like melting clay.
Emanuela Lupacchino’s Supergirl pencils are cleaner, but they still seem rushed. The biggest problem I have with both of these books is with Cyborg Superman: He just runs away after getting some mild resistance? This is a character that, in another universe, destroyed an entire city for revenge and then stood up against an onslaught of Supermen and emptied an entire hose of kryptonite into one of them, and then stood there as the actual Superman punched through his chest and vibrated him into oblivion. Don’t waste your time on these.
– Matt McGrath
Holy dreamscape domestic dispute DC! One shots are sometimes a great escape from the double edged sword of universal continuity in comics, but only sometimes.
Unfortunately in the case of Infinity Man And The Forever People, this is not one of those times. Dan Didio (DC’s Co-Publisher) and Keith Giffen (Annihilation) are damn fine writers, and in a way it feels like they wrote a small, intimate and emotional scene in the play that is the DC Universe. The several page fight scene seems forced and a bit out of place but hey, it’s a comic book!
Sadly, this book fails to connect on a small scale, which is really the job of a one shot, although thanks to Philip (Green Lantern) Tan‘s penciling, it’s a whole lot fun to look at.
Ultimately, this book feels like it could have been summed up in a few pages within another books arc.
Save your money, fellow comic lovers.
– Ryan Scott
So this is supposed to be the really messed up future, right? I’ve gotta say, as far as Green Lantern CORPS goes, this might as well be a typical John Stewart story arc. Writers at DC have the habit of rubbing Stewarts face in the big Xanshi tragedy every chance they get, for literally decades. I mean, I didn’t know anyone personally on Xanshi — and my condolences if you do — but I’m pretty over it. So 5-years from now it’s only reasonable Stewart snaps and essentially becomes an assassin. Problem is, it’s not really a stretch, just a pretty good set up for a solid story idea. Bringing in the Indigo tribe is a great touch, but there was a weird transition while Indigo-1 was playing the “Ghost of Christmas Past” to Ebenezer Stewart. Why’d he stab her? A bit of an overreaction and it left me re-reading what she said. I get the immediate remorse about it, but the build up was super abrupt. Maybe a little less showing peg-leg Kilowog, a little more motivation for the main character, eh Van Jensen?
MEANWHILE, In Green Lantern NEW GUARDIANS, Kyle Rayner has graduated to… well, basically God. He’s going around passive aggressively giving everyone freaky glowing foreheads with a side of pure enlightenment. The ending on this one is solid, and introducing a new character with all the qualities Rayner initially enjoyed in himself is a nice touch. Rayner’s narration serves as a great emotional factor too, especially when we bring up “Carol Ferris” in the past tense. See, THIS is a fucked up future that would make me uneasy to witness as a reader. It makes sense, it’s a terrible fate for our protagonist, and it’s something that would be difficult for him to come back from. Finally! A futures-end book recipe for success!
– Gabe Carrasco
Comparing the Batman/Superman and World’s Finest one-shots seems like it would be innocuous, but the perspectives that come with both books explore both the global and personal views of the Futures End storyline.
Batman/Superman (written by Greg Pak, pencilled by Howard Porter) really tries to hammer home a 9/11 allegory within the first few pages, as Batman ponders on Superman’s disappearance while recovering from a broken back in the hospital. Unlike the dull confusion of Earth-2, the cryptic nature of Batman/Superman is actually intriguing. What happened during the “invasion”? What the hell was it? What dumb wolf would be crazy enough to attack Krypto? Pak’s set ups and questions are written with the confidence of someone who seems like he’d pay them off well.
World’s Finest (written by Paul Levitz, pencilled by Yildiray Cinar and inked by Paul Neary), on the other hand, takes a more serialized, linear approach. The “what-happened-to-this-world” mystery still remains, but is background to a more straight-forward Power Girl, jailbreak caper. Again, as we see familiar faces in unfamiliar situations, we discover slowly what has happened to the world – but sans the unnecessary exposition of Earth-2 (sorry, guys – I can’t get over how frustrated that title left me). Following Power Girl into the prison for heroes is fun and exciting, with a dark edge. There’s a few surprises and an interesting inclusion of a character. Hopefully, the story of this new Futures End event can be gleaned from these two books – because they feel like two side of a well-published coin (and because I don’t want to have to read one more issue of Earth-2).
– Myke Ladiona