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 Ray Fawkes, Scott Snyder, James Tynion, Kyle Higgins, and Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Fernando Pasarin
Reviewed by Vince Ostrowski
News, notes, and debuts:
– Much ado was made about “Arkham Manor” #1 spoiling the events of “Batman Eternal” #30 a week early, but if you didn’t know where this particular storyline was going based on the ongoing “Batman Eternal”, the solicitations for future bat books, or, hell, the title “Arkham Manor”, well then I just can’t help you.
– Fernando Pasarin shows up for art duties this week, which is totally welcome considering that he generally killed it on the Green Lantern books in recent years. So it’s no surprise when he kills it here, drawing an imposing proactive Batman, a great version of the Maxie Zeus/Blackfire amalgam, and knocking the big Spectre reveal out of the park, visually. Once again, DC brings a heavy hitter to their Batman weekly, and the rich get richer.
– I love when superheroes use totally practical and convenient versions of things that fit with their namesakes. What I mean is, in this issue, Batman uses ultrasound in the pits and tunnels underneath where Arkham Asylum used to stand. Of course, bats are probably the most well-known animal that heavily uses ultrasound to navigate.
– The Spectre’s (a character that I love) appearance was the biggest Deus Ex Machina I’ve seen in comics this year. “All that stuff about Deacon Blackfire coming back that we’ve been building to for 30 issues now? Poof. Gone. Problem, Batman?” I mean, unless a future issue dredges him back up again, I think that was seriously how they decided to end that story thread.
Three Eternal Questions:
1. Who’s the Biggest Bad?
So, if it’s not going to be Deacon Blackfire, and we believe Joker’s Daughter when she says it’s not The Joker, then are we actually going to settle on it being Hush, even though we’re only halfway through the story? They did have the little piece where Batman is told that he was right all along when he said it was all connected to Hush’s appearance, but again, can we trust that?
I’m racking my brain to figure out who could be behind this, assuming it’s not just and all I can settle on is either Doctor Hurt or Ra’s al Ghul – both characters that I wouldn’t think this creative team would dredge up again so soon after Morrison used them to magnificent effect in his Batman run.
2. Is Batwing biting the big one?
Considering how overwrought his final scene in the issue was, what with him going down saying an Our Father while receiving a symbolic “burial” at the bottom of all of the carnage, I can’t help but feel like we might have seen the last of the Batwing for a while. His book was cancelled, which doesn’t help, but he’s also a character that no one has been able to really do much with. Perhaps he’s not dead, but they might as well treat him like it for a while Put him on the shelf. On the bench. In the fridge. Whatever DC Comics wants to call it.
I’m personally rooting for a shining moment of glory in a later issue, where he flies in from off-panel to save Batman at some seemingly hopeless moment. Like, say, while he’s shirtless & tied up to a broken Bat Signal, his city burning all around him, maybe?
3. What is with DC Comics and big naked piles lately?
I know I’m being overly sarcastic with these questions, but this week answered far more questions than it asked. So between this issue, one of the recent lantern issues (I forget which, but I think it involved the Source Wall), and the opening chapter of “The Multiversity”, DC has had about 3 naked piles of people more than I can remember them having in any of their comics in a long time. I mean, I’m not against it. It’s just that South Park did it first.Continued below
Earth 2: World’s End #3
Written by Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, and Mike Johnson
Illustrated by Eddy Barrows, Jan Duursema, Jorge Jiminez, Tyler Kirkham, and Robson Rocha
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
News, notes, and debuts:
This issue continues to ramp up the Kirby influence, and in one specific way: by bringing Jimmy Olsen into the world of the New Gods. I can’t believe that I missed this before this week, but this is essentially taking the Kirby/Olsen connection to its furthest possible conclusion.
We also get a sweet/weird bit of romance brewing between Kara and Val. The characters have a pretty instant chemistry, but it still feels a little rushed. Their relationship is a bit too warm, just as Helena and Thomas’s feels a little too cold. Sure, I get why Helena wouldn’t think Thomas is the #1 Grandpa in the world, but she’s being rather petty and small when, you know, the world is at stake.
Actually, both Helena and Kara feel younger here than they do in “Worlds’ Finest,” and perhaps that is by design, or by the fact that they are around the more experienced heroes in more than just sharing an Earth with them (“Worlds’ Finest” has kept them almost entirely secluded).
The Graysons section still remains a mystery, and an increasingly frustrating one at that. I am all for a slow build, if the build up has interesting elements, but this has been more or less a total snooze thus far. And while I see how the plot is trying to build up Barbara, there are easier ways to do that than making Dick look like, well, a Dick. And a limp one, at that.
This is a really hard book to write about (sorry in advance, Zach, who is handling this book in November), because while each issue has a lot of action, almost all of it is just incremental in nature. “Eternal” is the ultimate Bat-book, in terms of cast and scope, and “Futures End” is a batshit experiment. This just feels like a Bendis comic – each issue is enjoyable, until you realize that nothing really happened.
Three Worldly Questions:
1. Is Jimmy Olsen actually a New God?
There isn’t a ton of evidence to suggest that Jimmy is an alien, but it seems like, due to his mysterious nature and preternatural abilities, that perhaps he, too, is a New God. When we see the motherbox react to him and cast a Mr. Miracle-like pattern on his face, it seemed to be an indication of something deeper being within him. We’ll see.
2. Will Helena actually fall?
The first teaser for the series looked like this:
Obviously, this teased Helena’s death (or at least defeat), a good six months before the series began. However, this issue starts to actually follow through on that promise. The question is, does DC have the balls to actually kill her? If so, there are two reasons why:
a) Because everything is getting reset as of June, so it doesn’t matter – think “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” pre-“Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
b) Because Helena Bertolini is currently a character in “Grayson,” and could fill the Huntress role on main Earth if need be.
3. At what point will this cross over into “our” world?
Part of the reason that this series was timed the way it was, supposedly, was to tie in “Futures End” at some point – to show some of the “Earth War” that happened between Apokolips, Prime Earth, and Earth 2. If that is the case, then we are 1/6 of the way through “World’s End” without even the slightest suggestion of that happened. I’m not saying the first four issues have to lay out the entire series, but I hope something happens sooner than later. These weeklies work when big ideas are being tossed around in an almost careless way. That’s why “52” worked so well – and why this series, thus far, hasn’t.Continued below
The New 52: Futures End #26
Written by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, and Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Scot Eaton
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
News, notes, and debuts:
Wait, there’s no Stormwatch in this issue?!
*Storms away from computer, muttering angrily.*
Ok, I’m ok. While this issue doesn’t feature my favorite group of characters as they take the plunge into the multiverse, it still has quite a few things going for it. Namely, a lot of interesting character dynamics and stealth revelations.
As gleaned from the cover (wait, this isn’t “Batman Eternal,” is it?), this issue finally brings 5 years later Batman into the fray. We see Bats both in his costumed persona, confronting the estranged halves of Firestorm, as well as Bruce Wayne, meeting with fellow tech mogul Mister Terrific. The latter is still up to his old playboy pageantry. Terrific dismisses the act as superfluous, much to Bruce’s chagrin. As you may recall, Terrific suspects Bruce of attempting to steal the uSphere technology. The dialogue here, though slightly stilted at times, adds a great layer of tension to an already tense situation. It’s both humorous and slightly unsettling to see Bruce go from happy cool Don Draper to grumpy Don Draper in the space of a single panel.
While it’s been pretty heavily foreshadowed, this issue sees Dr. Yamazake go full on villain. However, even some of our heroes show some shades of moral ambiguity. In a conversation between Terry and Plastique, the future Batman makes some pretty unsettling about the nature of time travel and pre-destination. Is it still murder if it’s already happened? Time doesn’t kill people, Terry, people kill people. Wait…
Finally, this issue continues the convoluted chess match that is the Cadmus Island debacle. It feels nearly impossible to decipher anyone’s motives or alignment at this point. We do get some interesting teases regarding Fifty Sue and Earth-2 Lana from Brother Eye and Grifter, respectively. The Fifty Sue info-dump is nearly indecipherable (52 strands of DNA? What kind of science is this? Do these people know how people work?). The Lana bit, on the other hand, is far more subtle and, as such, more sinister.
Three Future Questions:
1. Firestorm, once more?
This issue shows the first inkling of the return of Firestorm. It was bound to happen, as we saw a Firestorm in the Brother Eye future in issue #0. However, the recent Futures End teaser depicted a female Firestorm. The odds are squarely set on Madison Payne getting incorporated into the Firestorm matrix, with the only question being, “who’s the other part?”
2. Wait, so does that mean Fifty Sue is…?
Ok, big leap alert. As I alluded to previously, Fifty Sue’s genesis has something to do with the melding of 52 strands of DNA. Now, this is a huge jump, but what if the scientists responsible for creating Fifty Sue had access to the multiverse. What if they visited each of the 52 earths, collected DNA samples as they went. What if they were to incorporate the DNA of 52 earths into a single being? What kind of comic book god/monstrosity would that even make? Maybe a psychopathic, reality twisting witch disguised as an 8 year old girl?
1. What is Lana’s secret?
Grifter’s ability to see through all sorts of deception is out of the bag, and in this issue he seems to see right through the Earth-2 iteration of Lana. Whatever secret she holds, it’s “creepy” enough to unsettle the man who regular kills demonic aliens for a living.