S.H.A.D.E. wants something to do with Frankenstein; Cal Corcoran is being evasive; an ex-con weighs his options; and Grifter is still doing his thing. The characters are plentiful in this installment of Futures End.

  1. Frankenstein — The story opens up with Frankenstein knocking on (or down) the Ant Farm’s door. He’s fighting mad that S.H.A.D.E. invaded his peaceful life. As he busts into the headquarters we get to see a mix of characters. From electrocuted science guy to Lady Two-Face to Damian Wayne’s half sister —not to mention Frankenstein— the whole gang is strange. The exposition helps orient the reader so no one feels lost. An older, hairier super hero makes a welcomed appearance in the Ant Farm and my, has he a plan for this crew!
    Spoiler
    They are going to travel through the Phantom Zone to find out what happened to Stormwatch. Stormwatch was doing what it does on the edge of existence watching for “storms” when they were killed, and S.H.A.D.E. needs to know why. The Mermaid, an old girlfriend of Frankie’s, died on board. I find it strange that The Mermaid would have been much use with Stormwatch so far out in space, but for that matter would Hawkman? Also given that Apollo is “Superman level” and he was killed onboard, that means this threat has got to be something massive.
  2. Cal Corcoran — The issue next turns to our dear old Cal. He and Madison are jogging through the park talking about Cal’s past. Somehow she is still dating him having absolutely no idea who he was before they met. The conversation builds until Cal sees something that shocks him. Then he says something that, while I understand the sentiment, shocked me.
    Spoiler
    He sees Terry as Batman and says, “Another one. Another chunk of beef to be rammed through Bruce’s meat grinder.” It caught me off guard. I mean, who would utter that to themselves?
    These four brief pages are all we see of the Bat-Family this issue.
  3. Plastique/Key/Coil — Plastique and Key are trying to convince ex-con-gone-straight Eddie a la “Coil” to help them in the biggest robbery any of them have ever attempted. The risk is big but the payoff is bigger, at least that’s what we are told. Maybe I’m biased because of my love for Batman and his rogues gallery, but do Key and Plastique remind you of Joker and Harley Quinn? The facial structures are similar. They interact slightly different but the Joker is always the competent one despite how wild he is. Even Plastique is singing a playful taunt like Harley would. It’s probably nothing. I just like pointing out some Batman symmetry there.
  4. Grifter — We’ve already seen Grifter mow down a family so this time when we see the effects of him showing up at a community center we are wise to his ways. It’s interesting to note though that there seems to be no normal humans in the community center as everyone looks dead. Were all these alien species just hanging around pretending to be humans when they were just chilling with their alien pals? Maybe. Upon closer inspection, maybe those are sedation darts used on the humans so they won’t be in the way, but still it seems strange.It’s here that I want to point out the consistency of the art team. It says something about the pencils, inks, and colors that I can go through an entire comic and be so focused on the characters and story that the art allows it to happen smoothly. Not once did I find myself thinking “Man, that looks terrible” or “It’s feeling visually rushed.” That is a sign of a team who wants to let the reader get lost in his or her comic. Thumbs up! In fact, three thumbs: my two and Frankenstein’s that was chopped off at the beginning of this issue!Grifter’s story ends the issue with quite a shocker. You may have seen the confrontation coming but I doubt you saw that happening.
    Spoiler
    Grifter is shot, paralyzed, and blackmailed by Faraday and it’s all told in four panels. Neat, huh?

Recommended if:

  • You want to see how Frankenstein takes out his anger
  • You’re not afraid of a little exposition
  • You’re following the Futures End storyline so far

Overall:

It’s tough grading these weekly comics. On the one hand, we are being asked to pay $2.99 for each comic so we should expect to get something out of it. On the other hand, it is a weekly comic so it’s going to pose more questions than it answers for the sake of furthering the story down the line. Is this a must-buy? No. Are you going to be kicking yourself for shelling out your hard-earned cash for this issue? I doubt it. But this is a marathon: not every issue is spectacular and the series may read better (and cheaper?) once it’s collected in a TPB. Also, a little hype goes a long way.

SCORE: 5/10