This is our first week coming out of Futures End month. I suspect there’s been a bump in Futures End readers just out of sheer curiosity or plain necessity. This issue hops back into the old multi-story mode, giving us several small sections to inch our way through, though this time there seems to be an overall quickening of the pace. It’s not too drastic and there are lulls, but I’m feeling optimistic.

  1. New York City, Columbia University — Madison (Tim’s girlfriend) is promoting a “Pro-e2” rally on the steps of a college building. Jason Rusch approaches her. Apparently they know one another. Madison explains what seems to be the plight of current illegal immigrants in the United States via terms of Earth 2 citizens. Actually, the analogy with a real-world situation is probably closer to the immigration of minors from Central America (such as Honduras) escaping murder, gang violence and deadly conditions to find safety in the US. I’d find it hard to believe the writers of Futures End didn’t have this in mind. Essentially, Earth 2 citizens were fleeing death by Apokolips and most Earth Prime citizens hate them for bringing Apokolips to their earth. As the section continutes, Jason shows up in his professor’s lab. Dr. Yamazake is still going on about how the Justice League should share their technology for the betterment of mankind rather than keep it for themselves. He’s pretty upset about the revelation of Shazam in a Superman suit and believes the whole lot of them are out to control rather than to help. This section (other than the real-world example) serves to remind us that Dr. Yamazake is still building the transporter and it shows us how the public is handling the Shazam/Superman news.
  2. A Few Blocks Away — Tim’s bar is just a few blocks away from Columbia University. Billy Batson is trying to get a drink and Tim won’t let him because he’s still under twenty-one. Why is Billy here? Does he know who Tim is? I find that odd. Who else could pop in but Ron Raymond, the other half of Firestorm. Surely he knows Billy. In this one-page segment, Ron apologizes to Tim for causing a ruckus (Tim threw him out a few issues ago) and Tim proceeds to semi-unload on Ron. Speaking about Madison, whom he ‘fessed up to about being Red Robin, he says, “I haven’t seen her for a couple days. She’s… gone. All my fault too.” C’mon man. Don’t be throwing all your problems around to a stranger.
  3. Las Vegas — Remember back when Faraday had that conversation with Courtney/Mercy and it was really weird and hard to follow? Whoever writes this section does not have the reader’s best interest in mind. This follows up on that story with more shadows and “who’s talking” and a bunch of other crap that is unnecessarily confusing. You have presumably Faraday and another guy (Frank Rock?) setting up a trap/non-trap/meeting with Mercy, Voodoo, Banger and Mash. You read that right: Banger and Mash. A quick Google search will reveal an interesting British meal consisting of a sausage link and mashed potatoes. I don’t know…sigh. Banger and Mash are sister meta-humans whose superpowers -I mean- “meta-talents” are enhanced strength/durability when they are close in proximity to one another. Faraday and this other guy set up a test for this group to fight through to prove they are capable. They succeed. Cole’s friend Justin is thankfully sitting in a motel looking at profiles on each of these women so we will know who they are and what powers they have.
  4. New York City — Terry discusses the future he came from with Plastique. The dialogue isn’t dense and it sounds very natural. Really, though there is not much revealed in this section, it was my favorite to read. The writer here has a good grasp on Plastique and makes me feel for the character. Zircher’s art, from the slow zooms on their faces to the gritty backgrounds to the can of beans, is great. The nugget of info here is that Brother Eye has left the satellite and moved to Cadmus Island.
  5. Somewhere in Deep Space — Hawkman, Lady Amethyst, and Frankenstein (who is bleeding and feeling weird) are being held on that planet-sized ship with cyborg-drones from a few issues ago. It’s not made obvious (actually, they were going to meet “the Master System” back in issue #16 and they met the thousands of drones) but the three of them are granted permission to actually see The Master.
    Spoiler
    It’s a gigantic Brainiac. He welcomes them to “The Blood Moon” which is what I’m guess he’s naming his ship. Earlier Terry says that Brother Eye is Earth’s moon, so I wonder if it’s actually this ship and something gets the switch-er-roo. Regardless, do you think the name “Blood Moon” has anything to do with the real-world blood moon conspiracy stuff? Perhaps that’s a link with Grant Morrison’s Multiversity and how the third wall is sort of broken and will interact with our world? (I’m reminded of The Monster at the End of this Book featuring Grover when I think about Multiversity.) This series is slated to end in March 2015 right around the time for March 20th’s blood moon. It sounds like it would be right up Morrison’s alley to incorporate something like that. Anyway. Enough of that. Brainiac is massive. Oh, and look! Ray Palmer and Black Adam (or should I say Atom and Black Adam?) come flying in to attack Brainiac. Wow. I did not see that coming. Sweet!

Recommended if:

  • You enjoy that dang cool cover.
  • You need a little Terry kindness.
  • The Blood Moon teaser has you curious.

Overall:

I enjoyed this issue overall. We’re back in the familiar saddle of many stories in few pages, but it felt like it was less crammed. It’s not very exposition heavy for a Futures End issue, so that’s a plus. Also, there are several reveals and interesting plot points to find in these pages. Keep ’em coming.

SCORE: 6.5/10