I’m absolutely pumped about this issue. After having read Futures End #8 earlier today this comic is a welcomed breath of fresh air. There are multiple narratives in this installment and each one made a significant progression from the last issue. If you are a Batman fan (which surely you are, this is Batman-News after all) then your heart will pump, your palms will sweat and you might just pump a fist in the air. If you came here on the fence about this issue deciding whether or not to buy it, the answer is buy it. It’s worth every penny. It has Pennyworth after all.

This issue opens and closes on the Power Ring storyline which makes for great bookends. I’m thoroughly interested how the Earth 3 ring will operate on its chosen host/victim. My Lantern mythology is rusty, so I wonder how the ring will maintain its power operating away from its home universe. Could Hal Jordan’s ring operate without a recharging Lantern if he were in Earth 3? Maybe someone can point me to the logical conclusion of Power Ring maintaining its power, or if even that is a viable concern. Regardless, Champagne, Alamy, and Reis do an incredible job conveying Jessica’s fear as well as the Ring’s power. Reis’ colors are perfect for the moods throughout this issue.

Last time around we saw Luthor knocking on Bruce’s door asking for Batman. Here we get to see what comes of that. It’s a great discussion with similar honesty we saw before while Luthor was under the spell of the Lasso of Truth. Geoff Johns knows how to up the ante and keep upping it. I’ll tag what happens in a spoiler tag.

Spoiler
Bruce plays it coy the whole time while Luthor is persistent that Bruce is indeed Batman. The conversation doesn’t lull and its a genius move on Luthor’s part for pulling the gun. It forces Bruce to act. I saw it and thought, “I guess Bruce will pull some crazy fast move to get out of it” and was surprised to see the Walther PPK-like handgun (the gun synonymous with James Bond, also an Englishman) in the hand of Alfred pointed at Luthor’s forehead. Alfred pulls more than his weight in this issue with that one gesture and it was great to see.

The issue picks up humorously with Cyborg and Shazam. It’s a funny interaction between the two of them that shows off some unknown power of Shazam as well as a reminder that Cyborg is pretty young too. We’re also shown Captain Cold’s inception into Luthor’s world. We’re allowed to hear conversation behind Cold’s back that indicates Luthor will be using him in the future. It looks like somehow Lex found a way around the Lasso of Truth because he still seems plenty devious and deceptive.

Johns switches back to Bruce and Lex before ending this chapter with Power Ring. Johns has Bruce give a Snyder-esq speech which is pretty interesting. The story in the speech seems like a throwback to that wild Batman joke last issue, and I liked it. This whole storyline between Bruce and Lex is worth the price of the comic in my opinion. I’m curious to see where Johns will take it. I’m also curious to see where the final reveal will take the Justice League.

Recommended if:

  • You are curious how last issue will affect Batman
  • You love Alfred
  • You want to read a story that actually progresses

Overall

I loved this issue. It had crazy tension and actually some payoff. This chapter moved the story along effectively and the artwork was great. Justice League is a good read right now so don’t miss out.

SCORE: 9/10