In celebration of Batman Day, take a black marker to your extra copy of Futures End #12 and draw Batman’s cowl on Hawkman, complete with the long bat ears, and turn his wings into a cape. Violá! Batman! I’m just kidding, I really like this cover.

This week’s installment feels like there’s less jumping around than past issues, but the story still hops around five times, the same as last week. More characters are introduced (Note to self: compile character list for series thus far. I wonder how many we’ve been exposed to with speaking roles?) and confusion still beats out tension for the majority of the issue. There’s a couple of bright-ish moments that I think will spark some interest for the Batman-News community. Let’s take a look.

  1. Deep Space — Last time around Frankenstein, Hawkman, and Lady Amethyst crash landed on an unknown planet. They are greeted by robots who only want to kill them. Dang at the two page spread of the gang fighting! Real estate is expensive in this compactly crammed series, but I think they spent wisely by allowing Jesus Merino to give us this spread. The fighting between the robots and our crew comes to halt when someone shows up.
    Spoiler
    The Engineer is apparently leading these robots. It’s her beacon that Hawkman followed to lead them to this planet. She is not herself. She tells the robots to self destruct while she seemingly electrocutes/destroys Hawkman, Frankenstein and Amethyst. Remember, Father Time is monitoring the situation from across the universe, yet the S.H.A.D.E. net connection is shown to be offline after Engineer’s attack. We’re left to wonder what happened. As always.
  2. Faraday — This section was perhaps the most confusing. Faraday and a woman named Courtney/Mercy talk at her apartment.  I could see how the writers were trying to introduce Courtney/Mercy without saying, “This woman’s name is Courtney but she’d prefer to be called Mercy.” But really, we’re getting an associate’s degree in the art of introductions from the writers of Futures End. We have seen several methods of introductions that at this point I’m really not caring about how creative or simple the method is, just tell me who s/he is and why I should care. I don’t think the average to above average sober person could read this section and feel they understood the conversation. I’ve read it three times trying to glean important details with little success. Here’s what I understood to be important from the conversation between Faraday and Mercy. Mercy is Faraday’s niece who has special powers. Mercy knows Voodoo and her twin children. Mercy was contained by Faraday previously and she ran away. That’s about it. Faraday makes a little haunting remark that’s means more to the reader than it does to Mercy: “If you have to ask, then I’ve wasted my time coming here.” Yes Faraday, you have.
  3. Voodoo/Justin — Mercy and Voodoo talk on the phone in the previous section and decide to meet somewhere. Voodoo, who is at Grifter’s hideout with Justin, calls the twins who are about to “kill some gentlemen” and is put on hold while they do so. These are perhaps the strangest/funniest panels yet in Futures End. 
    Spoiler

    Say What Again

    Say What Again

  4. Ethan/Rampage — Rampage helped Ethan break out of jail an issue or two back. Here we learn that Ethan’s a pretty smart and egotistical guy. Of course, some of that was made apparent from our first exposure to him. Thumbs up for that, writing crew. In this section we see just how selfish he can be. I felt terrible for Rampage as she and Ethan explained that her “mongrel-like” appearance as well as her fried brain were from an experiment gone wrong.
    Spoiler
    Ethan rigs up a machine to “fix” her but instead makes her more crazy and more powerful so that she will go on a, ahem, rampage that will distract Superman so Ethan can get home. What a jerk.
  5. Undisclosed Place 35 Years in Future —  This last section is not my favorite section necessarily because of its obvious spoilerific nature, but that it gives me a little hope. It’s not the happiest section ever. It just succeeded in giving me something sort of positive.
    Spoiler
    This is fast-forwarded to the time when Terry was sent back if you weren’t keeping up with it. The Joker is revealed to still be alive and is being force-fed by a Brother Eye robot. He is led back for surgery  in a futuristic Hannibal Lector transport unit when upon entering the room, the Joker sees an equally old, de-cowled Batman, still wearing his suit so that we know who he is, lying on an operating table. Batman and the Joker make eye contact in a very sinister, scary, and shocking way. The pencils are great. The faces are all shown from just above the eyebrows to just below the nose and you can still see an incredible amount of emotion. What surgery will take place? I’m genuinely curious.

Recommended If:

  • You’re a fan of Hawkman.
  • You wanted to keep this whole Futures End thing going.
  • You were looking for tips on introducing yourself to your neighbor without actually saying, “Hi my name is Jesse and I’m your neighbor.”
  • You wanted a little more...something on Batman Day.

Overall:

It’s a step up from last week on its own merit, and that’s not just me trying to convince myself I’m not throwing my money away. Really good artwork, particularly on those spread pages. The middle sections left me frustrated and it really drug down the arbitrary score, but the issue started and ended very strong. This week the series is looking better overall.

SCORE: 5/10