Lois is leaping! Faraday and Fifty Sue are featured! Batman beats Batman! Madison is missing! These are all alliterated sentences that are both true and over-hyped. Yes, over-hyped. You see that cover above these words? Do you know where my level of Futures End excitement was at when I laid eyes on it? Up to here (I’m pointing at my forehead…this is really high). The reason why the excitement rose so much was because, as my grandparents would say, there’s no “hem hawing” around about it: Bruce and Terry are here to do business. But now I’ve read it. And while this issue is not the worst piece of mass produced art I’ve ever held, it’s certainly far from the best.
- Cadmus Island — Lois took her “leap of faith” last issue. This issue: she lands. As we all knew would happen, she landed on Cadmus. She is confronted by an OMAC that she runs away from rather easily. As she’s running away from the second OMAC, she stumbles upon something she recognizes again rather easily: herself as Earth 2’s Red Tornado. It may be one of the more simpler sections but this is one of the better sections artistically in this issue. Andy MacDonald’s artwork throughout this issue, while not un-followable, is meager at best. It is understandable that characters will look different when illustrated by different artists, but “different” doesn’t seem like the case here. Fifty Sue has the face of a forty-year old, Faraday looks to be a teenager who’s been mauled by a dog, the fight and flight scenes we see later feel disjointed, and much of the panel layouts seem very rushed. We get a sense of where the story is headed, but did I enjoy watching it unfold? Not really. The best scene we get to see (and I’m not being too biased here) is that Ryan Sook cover with Bruce and Terry. Good golly that’s a ballin’ cover.*
- Las Vegas — This is the first scene in this entire series that features Faraday and the Voodoo bunch that actually makes sense –at least on the first pass. Faraday and Rock are discussing Brother Eye. Rock has a hard time understanding everything and for our benefit he throws questions at Faraday. What gets rehashed and discussed? Fifty Sue has the power of a god. Banger and Mash are still a thing. Everyone did stuff in the war that they regret. There are ten super villains to every living super hero. Faraday had a major hand in creating Fifty Sue while he was looking for a cure for super powers. Rehash and discuss. Oh and yeah, in walks Fifty Sue out of no where to rag on Slade. Her comparison of herself and Slade with Batman and Robin only says to me that there will be some sort of story line in the future where Batman and Robin prove their devotedness to one another. Seems like theme-seed planting to me. Regardless, Fifty Sue wants a team to go and take back Cadmus and kill Deathstroke. Thank goodness Rock just assembled a weirdo team a few issues back!
- New York City — We pick up after Bruce and Terry’s initial meeting when Plastique rolled one of her bombs in the room on them. Tim’s apartment above the Wounded Duck is on fire and Terry escapes out of the window with Bruce Bats in tow. The whole scene looks goofy. I mean, I get it and all, but it looks like a missed opportunity visually. The writers gave ample opportunity to show some smart action here and what we get just comes up short in my opinion. Very little dialogue allowed the space and the subject provided content. Too bad. The only thing we have here is Terry escaping with Plastique.
- Elsewhere in New York — Tim (as Cal) approaches Ronnie for help finding Madison. Ronnie is cool about it and tells him to ask Jason. Tim goes to find Jason with Ronnie behind him volunteering to help find her too.
- Else-Elsewhere in New York — Jason goes to Dr. Yamazake’s apartment to apologize “about…you know…Firestorm.” Weird. He hears voices behind the door so he does what anyone in that situation would do: bust down the doctor’s door to save him. He unfortunately finds a TV set on a loop repeat of the televised death of Dr. Yamazake’s wife’s death in a burning building. I’ve been saying it and surely you’ve noticed: Dr. Yamazake is cray-cray, bae.** About the time we see his oddity on display, we see him drag Madison into the teleporter device to test it on a human subject. I have severe qualms with this, not even on the level of the flow and story, but of practicality. It’s nonsense really, so into a spoiler tag it goes. SpoilerLet’s say I’m building one of these teleporter bad boys in my garage. I’ve done minimal testing and all the sudden I want to try humans? What if it doesn’t work and just winds up blowing her up inside the transport tube leaving all kinds of gross blood, guts, and brains everywhere. I would try a mouse or something first because if the worst possible thing happened, I could clean that creature’s torn up remains fairly easily. Now, if Madison gets transported and something goes wrong, well Dr. Yamazake’s gonna need more than a paper towel and Windex to get those stains out.
*A sentence that spans fifty years of young people’s slang.
**Another sentence that features a more recent sampling of young people’s slang.
- You don’t mind another fairly uneventful build-up issue to stay abreast of the Futures End situation.
- Convergence makes you excited because surely that’s where this series will be headed.
- You don’t mind getting your hopes up by that cool cover.
I don’t need huge consequences in order to appreciate a comic, nor do I need “blow me away” art. Unfortunately, this issue brings neither to the table. If this comic were food, it would be ice cream that’s sat in a bowl on the kitchen counter for three hours and is now all melted into some aerated warm creamy un-goodness. It wasn’t going to be nutritional, but it could have been fun to eat. This issue wasn’t gonna move mountains but it could have been fun to look at.