Futures End Month hits Batman/Superman this week and it’s an overall welcomed visit. We aren’t treated to anything particularly new or groundbreaking, nor are we given an overly moving story. What we have is the comic book equivalent of “vamping”, where in a song a musician may repeat phrases or rhythms over and over for effect. The effect here is twofold. One: Superman’s disappearance after the war with Earth 2 may have something to do with decisions Batman makes. This theme of Superman missing being important has been touched on several times in Futures End. Two: Batman and Superman share an extremely close relationship. This has been central to Greg Pak’s work, the bond between Batman and Superman.
The story begins like a Batman/Superman title should: a little different. Instead of the normal “five years from now” we start “four years from now”. The inner monologues are, for me, the highlight of any Batman/Superman story. Bruce narrates this particular issue. It is the silence from Superman that drives the ache and tension of this story. The world has survived the war and people are working together trying to rebuild from the rubble. Indicative to human nature is corruption, Bruce acknowledges, and sure enough that evil creeps back in the world and Batman is needed. Unfortunately for the world, Batman’s back is broke and barely held together by that strange spinal device we saw in Futures End. You can imagine Batman’s response when Alfred urges him not to put himself at risk. Of course he’s going to go that step further. Alfred’s input is only there to make us, the readers, feel that Bruce is in grave danger based on contrast. It’s a tool, but it works. I care that he might break his back for good.
Batman realizes he’s going to have to handle Superman’s villains and collaborates with Toymaster for a Dark Knight Returns style suit. Along with fighting, he uses the suit to clean up the Batcave. I should note here that I loved the artwork. It was realistic and gritty. Batman looked sort of like Christian Bale in The Dark Knight. There is even a Tumbler! The artists Cliff Richards, Jack Herbert, and Vicente Cifuentes handle different sections of the book, but their styles are similar enough that there is no real jar while reading. It appears that Cliff Richards especially had fun drawing this book. I’m not sure how this type of art would work on a regular basis because it seems there might have been a completion issue here (hence the multiple artists) but I liked looking at these pages.
There’s not much to ruin in the way of spoilers in this issue. What would ordinarily be “spoiler material” is more nuanced and harder to convey without more detail than is necessary in a review. Suffice it to say, this issue handles a delicate relationship between men making tough decisions. Unfortunately we don’t understand the details of how, why, or even what due to the vagueness that has plagued the Futures End tie-ins, but perhaps once we learn about the Earth 2 war we can look back at this issue and realize how important these interactions were. It’s a stretch, but something feels heavy here that I just don’t want to disregard.
- Being in the brain of Batman excites you.
- It’s been a few months after details of the Earth 2 war are known and you want to know how Bruce felt about Superman’s disappearance.
- You ever wanted to see Nolan’s Batman in a comic book.
If you want details right now about the events that take place during the Earth 2 war, then this will disappoint. Like the rest of these Futures End Month titles, the is little furthering of a “future” plot. It asks more questions than it answers. The beauty of this issue, though, is that you don’t have to have all the answers to feel the tension between Bruce and Clark. Reading it with wide eyes and not expecting to have the world turned upside down will make this comic more enjoyable.