I have to admit it: this review is nearly a week late. What makes it so bad is that it’s coming at a time when Futures End is actually offering some legitimate, heavy-hitting action. There is very little in the way of “quiet moments” to be had in the pages of this issue. The story’s moving –and fast! Fortunately, the Kennedy household is recouping from sickness and extra work hours, so we should be back on track for #43. As for this issue? It’s dense, surprising, and extremely tantalizing. I usually don’t put a spoiler alert due to the nature of the format, but let it be known:
SPOILER ALERT THROUGHOUT ENTIRE ARTICLE.
- Earth Orbit — This section is split up in three or four chunks throughout this issue. I’ve combined all that happens in orbit here, without respect to what’s going on in the rest of the comic.Reeling from the apparent death of Hawkman and the Atom, the rest of the Justice League go on full-on attack mode with the Blood Moon (the giant silver head that is also a ship for Brainiac). The ship returns the attacks, at which point Cyborg begins pummeling away with all he’s got, causing little harm to the giant ship. It is here we see what happens with the Atom. He shrinks to subatomic size to avoid the Engineer’s detection. We are allowed to read his thoughts which confirm what I was thinking from last week. That two-page spread we saw of past DC characters was, according to the Atom, “…its memory is an immense network of some kind of energy…” thus allowing him (and us) to see all these integral moments in DC history, which is pretty cool even though I don’t understand all of it. The Atom eventually finds the Engineer (whom Brainiac was controlling to utilize her powers) and cuts her loose from the ship. She is passed out, but who knows when she wakes if she’ll still be Brainiac-controlled or not? Palmer exits the ship with the Engineer in his arms as the ship “turns off”. It isn’t dead, but everything has stopped working. It isn’t attacking and it’s not still trying to beam up Manhattan, which pisses Brainiac off.
- New York City — Polaris beams Superman and Shazam back into the sphere that’s covering Manhattan. As Superman and Shazam fly off to fight the big bad Brainiac, Clark confirms what we suspected: Brainiac’s intention is to collect it. We see this brief “fight” between these two heroes and Brianiac from the perspective of a watchful Lois. By “fight” I mean, Shazam throws one punch, Superman uses heat vision, and Brainiac swats Superman away like a fly. Who knows what happens to Shazam, as that is not shown, but all we see is Superman laying in rubble. Firestorm helps narrate what’s going on with the “lifting of the city” process, but that is about it. Brainiac still looks amazingly strong, and I must give props to Scot Eaton and Scott Hanna for this artwork. These pages are dense with big action yet they keep it comprehensible, they tell a story, and it looks great. This is one of the more challenging pieces from Futures End to have been responsible for art and they did an amazing job.One more note before I move along… There is a moment where Brainiac gets angry that his beam isn’t working (thanks to Palmer pulling the plug on the Engineer) and says, “The lift beam has been terminated. INCONCEIVABLE.” I couldn’t help but read it with Wallace Shawn’s “Vizzini” voice in The Princess Bride, lisp and all. That had me rolling.
- Batman — Bruce made his way to the top of Terrifitech and met Mr. Terrific during last issue. This issue Bruce does the Batman thing and lets his fist do the talking. Automatically, because Bruce is so angry with Terrific, I’m pissed at him too. Bruce has the computer initiate “Palin Protocol” which Terrific opposes. We aren’t told what it is, but it has something to do with Artificial Intelligence.Terry, on the other hand, is straight up duking it out with JokerBats. Sometimes the Bruce side speaks, and sometimes Joker speaks, but it looks as if the body portion is completely attacking Terry. Terry convinces the Alfred computer to come back online to figure out how Brainiac’s pink balls works. Terry pleads with Bruce saying, “Bruce, it’s me…you can’t do this…” Bruce replies, “Eye know who you are.” As JokerBats raises his fist, about to crush Terry’s head, we see the Bruce half of the face sort of grin, then one of the pink balls shoots JokerBats and kills him. Bruce knew what Terry was doing and was almost happy about it. Perhaps proud? As Terry gets up, glad to be alive, he looks around at all the billboard screens throughout the city that have Brother Eye’s emblem on them saying “Eye am here to protect you.” Terry’s really upset by this and wonders what he’s done. I’m curious too. Did Alfred’s involvement allow Brother Eye access to the city somehow? I’m not sure.
- You want to find out what happens to the Atom or JokerBats.
- Things that might affect the whole DC Universe interest you.
- You want the build-up toward Convergence.
It’s another exciting issue of Futures End. If you’ve even halfway thought about picking up this series before, now is the time to do it. For a Futures End issue, this is highly recommended.