The quickening of pace during the past several issues of Futures End has been enjoyable. Seeing Brainiac land in New York, Superman return to the world, and Bruce becoming more involved has made the series pretty enjoyable; lots of big stuff has happened. So when I read this issue, I wasn’t dismayed by the attention to small(ish) matters on the streets rather than the sky. With only five issues left until Convergence, there is quite a bit of ground to be covered that I don’t even think the sluggish tendencies of Futures End can slow down.

BEWARE! NO TAGS! SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!

Just about every issue of Futures End has been divided into formal sections. From The Bleed to Frankenstein’s Castle to The Ant Farm, the story lines have been so far removed from one another that this was necessary. As the overall story has progressed, each plot has moved closer to one another to the point where quite a few of the story lines are, shall we say, converging. This entire story is centered around New York, particularly Manhattan, where Brainiac is attempting to scoop this burrow away with his giant, terraforming, spherical, ice-cream, transport scooper.

This issue opens up with Lois finding Superman in rubble after his attack is repelled by Brainiac. Lois conveniently explains to Superman everything we need to know from the past two issues in case we forgot. She says she’s watched everyone fighting except Batman. Supes is not too happy to hear that name, making a weird “don’t say that name” statement to Lois. But for real though, if he just perked his ears up, couldn’t he be listening to Bruce and Terrific talk right that very second? Superman must be really hurt by his old buddy to be acting so sensitive, but I wish his angst was written better and less childish. What I really want is to know what Bruce did that was so horrible.

We’ve watched Mister Terrific talk extensively with Brother Eye. There’s even been confusion about the difference between Brother Eye and Brainiac at times. But here’s something interesting, if only to me. Brainiac is trying to transport Manhattan to the Blood Moon way out in space using Angie the Engineer’s powers, but since the Atom removed Angie, he can’t. So he goes to “Plan B”, or, in Brainiac’s case, “Methodology Beta” haha. He makes this change of plans by consulting a voice recognition computer. Now here we have Brainiac conversing with a computer in a similar fashion as Terry with A.L.F.R.E.D. or Terrific with Brother Eye. What I want to know is, what is Brainiac’s computer’s name? My bet? Siri. Naa, probably not. But the computer does morph into a steering column for Brainiac to manually drive the terraforming spheres like a giant menacing Segway.

As we saw last issue, Brother Eye has taken over the city’s technology. Terrific and Bruce are doing something in Terrifitech. Protocol Palin was issued last week and Bruce is still messing with the computer. Terrific keeps talking about what he’s done for everyone and asks Bruce if he understands to which Bruce replies, “No, Terrific. Selfishly…I don’t.” How does Bruce selfishly not understand what Terrific has done? Either he understands or doesn’t. But aside from that, what I don’t understand is Bruce’s face. I know it’s a reference to last issue’s higher power discussion, but still, Bruce doesn’t need to make that face. Reminds me of Clooney.

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The Bat-Grin

The story hops on over to Tim and Plastique where it takes seven mostly boring pages to show the return of Key and Coil as well as the initial attack from the future Cyborg-Plastique. As the attack begins, Terry bursts through a window to save Tim, and four panels later, present-day Plastique saves Terry. As Plastique takes down her future cyborg self, Cyborg-Plastique says, basically, that it can’t kill Plastique or she wouldn’t exist. This places Brother Eye in the “linear view of time” camp. I can’t get behind that view because you can’t change things if that is true. (I watched Predestination this past week. Anyone else watched it? It’s a full-on time travel movie with some strange assertions about time.) But this is comics so I’ll fold my hand. I mean, I love Back to the Future, so I can buy into this too. Anyway, Plastique kills her future self (supposedly) and in a random panel, we’re shown JokerBats rising from the ashes, so he ain’t dead yet.

The issue ends with Brainiac lifting off with the Sphere around Manhattan and Mister Terrific confessing to Batman that he needs help stopping Brainiac.

The artwork is handled by Andy MacDonald. While I’m not a fan of his style, this is probably his best issue for this series yet. I have some purely subjective qualms with his choice in face structures, but his overall direction isn’t poor. Hi-fi continues to provide excellent work, and Sook’s Brainiac looks super menacing. I like the change from those pink tones from before to this dark and fire-ridden background on the cover. Good stuff.

Recommended if:

  • You’re pre-gaming for Convergence.
  • You want to see if Futures End goes out with a bang.

Overall:

It’s not the hardest-hitting issue ever, but it certainly is above average for Futures End. I’m almost certain this series cannot slow down after this. If it does, I’m going to rip every page of the past 40-something issues into tiny little pieces and mail it to DC with a letter requesting a refund. Either that, or sell it on eBay.

SCORE: 6.5/10