Welcome, friends to another installment of “The 3cap,” our weekly recap of DC’s three weekly titles: “Batman Eternal,” “Earth 2: World’s End,” and “New 52: Futures End.” Each week, we will take a look at the each issue released, while recapping the action and asking the burning questions. If you spot something we missed, make sure to leave a note in the comments!
Batman Eternal #30
Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Kyle Higgins
Illustrated by Alvaro Martinez
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
News, notes, and debuts:
This issue established a few key facts for the book going forward, but didn’t feature too much new information. As has been the case the last few weeks, the action is very Hush-heavy and very Julia-heavy. A lot of this series has been the extended Bat-family trying to help, and Bruce pushing them away – except for the Pennyworths. I don’t know if this is Bruce’s admission of their importance in his life, or if this is just a function of the fact that he has operated so long with someone at mission control that he needs someone steering him around.
The stand off between Hush and Julia saw both get some good shots in, but Hush seems to be one step ahead of everyone right now, which harkens back to his debut. Although I am not a fan of some of those early Hush stories, they did make him seem to be the foe that Batman would have the hardest time taking down, and it has been nice to see a little bit of that in “Eternal.”
That is, until, he takes down Hush.
The big reveal this issue is what a number of us have suspected from the beginning: someone else is pulling Hush’s strings. Of course, this begs a bunch of odd questions, then. Hush is controlling Bard, who was a plant from early on. The amount of long term planning necessary on Hush’s part (to already have Bard coming to Gotham), or pure luck (that a crooked cop happened to show up a few weeks before he got his note inviting him to the party), or coordination between Hush and his “boss,” for lack of better word, (to in two weeks put together a resume/create the Bard persona and allow him to infiltrate the G.C.P.D.) seems crazy to me. Bard also took out Falcone – did Falcone also get one of these handsome invitations?
I have eternal (rim shot) faith in this creative team, as the book has been such a roller coaster thus far, but it does seem a little weak, storywise, to have Hush have his fingers in so much, but still not really be in control.
The other major plot point here is the dissolution of Wayne Enterprises, due to the weapons caches going boom all over Gotham. To be honest, this should feel more important than it does, but we’ve become so accustomed to Bruce losing it all, only to gain it all back, that this feels more temporary and fixable than the supervillain situation. I doubt this is what the writers intended, but that is the consequence.
The art in this issue is handled by Alvaro Martinez, a relative newcomer to comics, but who has done a few Aquaman-related books for DC, as well as some “Ultimate X-Men” work at Marvel. The solicited artist was Jason Fabok, and the sensibilities between the two aren’t all that different, although Martinez’s work features a lighter line and is a little less fluid than what Fabok brings to the table. I actually thought his work was the most Capullo-esque of any of the artists we’ve seen on “Eternal,” and he manages to do a a few very nice things, including using the Batsuit’s eyes to convey emotion – something I can’t recall seeing very often.
Three Eternal Questions:
1. Seriously now, who is the big bad?Continued below
We have been debating this since the beginning, and whenever we think we have it figured out, another shoe drops. Let’s examine this logically. It’s not Hush, it’s not Falcone, it’s not the Joker, it’s not Deacon Blackfire, it’s not the Penguin, it’s not Catwoman, it’s not Killer Croc, it’s not Bane, it’s not Mr. Freeze or Zsasz or the Architect or the Court of Owls. It doesn’t seem like the Riddler or Poison Ivy. It doesn’t seem like Scarecrow or Two…wait a second, could it be Two-Face?
He would have a vendetta against Gordon, as well as Batman. He would have the intellect to pull it off. And, there wasn’t been a truly great Two Face story in a very long time – although he did recently “team up” with Batman in “Batman and Robin.”
Is it Two-Face, you guys?
2. Where has the family gone?
I know that Jason has flown the coop, and that Bruce doesn’t want/ask for help often, but this seems rather odd, doesn’t it? If the weapons cache went off, that would anger at least 2 or 3 members of the Bat family and come looking for answers at least. I guess no stashes in Burnside, eh?
3. What does Batman look like without Wayne Enterprises?
Such a huge part of the Batman story is his unlimited budget, and his public persona as the millionaire playboy. Strip that away, and is anything left but Batman? Would this cause him to focus, and be an even more effective crimefighter, or would it lead to him going insane from not having even the slightest semblance of a normal life?
Earth 2: World’s End #8
Written by Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennet, and Mike Johnson
Illustrated by Tyler Kirkham, Joe Weems, Stephen Segovia, Jason Paz, Jorge Jimenez, Eddy Barrows, and Eber Ferreira
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
News, notes, and debuts:
For the first time, “Earth 2: World’s End” definitely feels like it’s entered into a holding pattern. Each of this issues’ varying threads is but a tiny step forward. It’s as if all the forward momentum from the previous issue is halted, as we check in for snapshot moments of our protagonists.
Alan Scott fights in space, and nothing happens. Constantine frees some folks from Arkham, and nothing happens. Avatars search for other avatars, and nothing happens. See a pattern? Occasionally there’s the illusion of something happening, such as with the World’s Finest group finding more clues about the fate of Superman, or the World Army invading Apokolips. The biggest development comes in the long awaited reintroduction of Todd Rice, a.k.a. Obsidian, to the New 52.
I may sound rather down on the issue, but for all its problems, I still found some enjoyment. I expect fans of the series thus far will feel the same. The stage is set for some interesting conflicts in the coming issues, and there are a number of debuts that will surely please long time “Justice Society” fans. Nevertheless, this certainly stands out as one of the book’s weaker outings.
Three Worldly Questions:
1. When is four issues a month not enough?
I adore the shared universe aspect of comic books. It’s something truly special that is only just now starting to be emulated by film and television. However, that model can sometimes be a detriment to the story at hand. Case in point; this issue of “World’s End” features two segments that end not with a resolution, but with an editors note directing readers to “Earth 2” and “Constantine” to see what happens next. Now, I’m already regularly reading “Earth 2.” This kind of thing isn’t really a problem for someone like me. However, to expect a casual reader, who by some miracle has been suckered into buying four books a month to follow this story, to go pick up two additional books in order to receive a complete story? There’s a problem there.
2. Who is Henry King Jr.?
Speaking of possible problems. I’ve mentioned in my thoughts on previous issues that the current creative team seems to take great care in aligning with the work previous done by James Robinson and Tom Taylor. However, this issue seems to present a major oversight. We see Constantine free a group of metahumans in the Arkham facility, one of which is a “Henry King Jr.,” a.k.a. Brainwave. Readers may recall the introduction of a Henry Roy Jr. back in “Earth 2 Annual” #1. Roy, or rather Roi (French for King) seemed to a reimagining of the pre-Crisis “Brainwave, Jr.” Now, it’s possible this is just a slight oversight of the creative team/editorial. However, if that’s the case, how did Henry end up in Arkham since we saw him last?Continued below
3. Have we just met the new Infinity, Inc.?
Alongside Henry, we’re also introduced to a new versions of Todd Rice (Obsidian), Jeremy Karn (Karnevil), and Jonni Thunder, seemingly a female version of Johnny Thunder. So far, Earth 2 has lacked a “Teen Titans” equivalent. Could these heroes young heroes be the next generation? It’s an intriguing thought, but a strange one considering the “Justice Society” still feels rather fluid and underdeveloped as a team. While one of the aforementioned characters seems to meet an unfortunate end early on, a quick glance at his wiki shows a history of cheating death. Finally, the reintroduction of Obsidian prompts a few questions. First, how long till we catch up with his sister, Jade? Second, does the character retain any ties to Alan Scott?
The New 52: Futures End #30
Written by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, and Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Tom Raney
Reviewed by Vince Ostrowski
News, notes, and debuts:
– Like the previous issue and its singular focus on the Firestorm side of things, “Futures End” #30 focused solely on the goings on at Cadmus Island. While we got a bit of Deathstroke and Grifter, we spent the vast majority of the issue’s 20 pages on Green Arrow and the Outsiders’ infiltration of the island. We’ve enjoyed two issues like this right in a row, and at least for the moment it appears to be a superior way to tell the stories that “Futures End” wants to tell. Early on, certain stories warranted more page time than they got, in favor of splitting 4-5 plots within an issue equally. The potential pitfall of a change in focus to issues taking place in singular settings is that “Futures End” could end up spending an entire issue on a less entertaining plotline, but honestly, moving everything to Cadmus eliminated the weaker plots. Now, blowing Cadmus up resets the board for new stories going forward. It will be interesting to see what approach they take with the focus of each issue. Will it be more “Batman Eternal”? Or will it resemble the earlier issues of “Futures End” again?
– I was unreasonably tickled by the idea of Ollie faking his death, hiding out for months painstakingly working up some new tricks, and then right away wasting the really important EMP arrow he worked for 3 months on. It’s the funniest thing that’s happened in a series that, while entertaining, has been pretty corny when it comes to humor.
– Tom Raney picked up the art duties this time around and did a fine job. Again, his style fits with the very straightforward approach that “Futures End” has had to storytelling. There are no “Batman Eternal”-like experiments or risks being taken with the art. While it would have been nice to pepper “Futures End” with some risks that could have enhanced the bugnuts nature of the story, there’s honestly nothing to complain about here. Raney’s pretty new to the DCU, having done good work on the otherwise forgettable ‘New 52’ “Threshold” series. Did you even remember that that was a thing? Because I didn’t. Anyway, he’s more known for his work at Marvel a few years back. Comics like “Avengers Academy” and “Annihilation: Conquest” benefited from his handsome superhero renderings.
Three Future Questions:
1. Brother Eye’s entire operation didn’t really hinge on that big red button, did it?
Future solicitations hint at more Brother Eye to come, so we know that Ollie hitting that jolly, candylike red button did not actually cause the end of its reign of terror. That said, what was that red button, other than a huge MacGuffin? How did Oliver know it was there, and why was it there? There have been storytelling issues in “Futures End”, but none so egregious that they made me facepalm myself with my iPad. This was an exception. A giant red button that needed only to be pushed as the impetus for the end of the events of Cadmus Island. At least we got to see him launch the boxing glove arrow at it. Remember when Grant Morrison said that the idea of “Superman” was the greatest invention that man has ever created? What he meant was the boxing glove arrow.Continued below
2. If this is the end of Cadmus, where does the plot go next?
I know that sounds like a huge, overarching question, but issue #30 felt like a mini-conclusion. My expectations were that we would spend much of the rest of the series on Cadmus, considering that’s where most of the storylines had pointed that way. My expectations have been subverted. I’m not disappointed. Quite the opposite, in fact. I no longer know what to expect, and while I usually don’t make a habit of actually reading solicitations when I’d rather be surprised, I just had to look ahead on the next several. It’s interesting how issue #31 & #32’s solicitations read like they’re going to be a couple of potentially quieter, “winding down” sorts of issues – the kind that writers sometimes put between major arcs to remind us that the characters have lives outside of superhero-ing. But it isn’t long before the solicitations start reading all cataclysmic and eventful again. Although it’s a weekly series, “Futures End” has actually revealed itself in pretty satisfying “arcs”, of sorts. I guess the end of Cadmus Island is just the end of one of those unofficial arcs. I’m more intrigued than ever about where we’re going next.
3. How cold is Fury?