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 #43
Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins and Tim Seeley
Illustrated by David LaFuente
Reviewed by Vince Ostrowski
News, notes, and debuts:
– Let’s start with David LaFuente’s art, which continues the trend of “Batman Eternal” sporting artists that are perfectly suited toward the series’ recent “youth movement” focusing on Tim, Harper, and Stephanie. LaFuente’s style really came into its own and took off commercially with his work on Brian Michael Bendis (first?) relaunch of the “Ultimate Spider-Man” property – all the way back when it was still Peter Parker. LaFuente’s art has a hyper-stylized look to it that tends to work optimally when paired with the exploits of the young, but still does just fine when Batman hits the scene.
– There are a couple of particularly standout pages from LaFuente, but I wanted to highlight one that made me stand up, take notice, and immediately screen-grab my digital copy of the book. The sequence in question involves Stephanie waking up in Catwoman’s captivity. It’s a simple scene, but it’s given a little bit of flavor with a fun, feline-centric thought-bubble and an interesting use of perspective. These little touches serve to spice up a weekly Batman title that could have easily told this massive story in a workmanlike way. Instead, we’ve gotten plenty of artistic diversions along the road. Big ups to DC Comics for constantly rotating a lot of really strong artists through this book so that it never feels like a fill-in week.
– This week, all of the chess pieces moved that much closer to the big conclusion of “Batman Eternal”, including the closest thing yet to a reveal of the big bad. Batman and Bluebird are teamed up in earnest, and honestly, I really like the team-up. If they’re not going to bring Cassandra Cain back into the New 52 proper anytime soon, Harper Row is doing fine in her absence. If I were anyone with any clout, I could set fire to Tumblr with that statement, but it’s just how I feel. Meanwhile, Stephanie Brown’s character grows ever-so-slightly, sharing panel time with Harper as well.
– It strikes me how well done this book is, when it could have been easy for DC to play it too straight or for it to have gone off the rails months ago. It’s one of DC’s strongest, most consistent, least sloppy titles – and a true success story of the weekly format.
Three Eternal Questions:
1. Is the Court of Owls the obvious answer?
We’ve been asking this question for a couple months now, as the writers have been dropping what appeared to be hints and red herrings galore. Our wonderful comment-leaving readership has suggested the Court of Owls as the big bad, and unless this is yet another misdirection (it doesn’t feel like one, where the others did), they’re going to turn out to be the ones turning the screws on Batman. Stephanie Brown suggests that she saw Bruce Wayne setting up the long con with all the villains of Gotham City. We know it couldn’t possibly be Bruce. Instead, it’s quite obviously Thomas Wayne Jr. (aka Lincoln March) the “Owl Man” of the Court of Owls – Scott Snyder’s opening arc on the New 52 “Batman” series. We knew he’d be back someday. The DC3 is embarrassed that they didn’t suggest him sooner.
2. Can we get a Stephanie Brown/Harper Row team-up book?
Seriously, James Tynion can write it. Hell, LaFuente could draw it, if he wants another regular gig. Let’s get this one on the drawing board, post-“Convergence.”
3. Was Cullen playing Final Fight?Continued below
It looks like Final Fight to me. What say you?
Earth 2: World’s End #
Written by Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, and Mike Johnson
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
News, Notes, and Debuts:
Well, we got one big debut this week, but I’ll save that for the end.
This issue essentially does three things: it establishes a clear escape plan for the inhabitants of Earth 2, it sets up what appears to be the two big battles (Hellspawn v. Paliament, Heroes v. Darkseid), and it saves Helena’s life.
The last point is an important one, because she is one of the characters that we have seen over in “New 52: Futures End,” so we know that she makes it out alive, but how she was going to do that was less clear. In fact, I don’t have it in front of me, but I would like to go back and see what heroes definitely make it into “Futures End” times, just to see. I recall Mr. Miracle, the Flash, Hawkgirl, Power Girl, and Huntress, but I’m sure there were more.
There is unrest in the Atom bunker, as could be expected with 2 million people down there, and the need for a solution to the food/shelter problem is clear, but this sequence was really only there to show some creepy eyed dudes and to remind us that human nature sometimes leads to fighting (more on the dudes below).
But the big reveal here was Kalibak, son of Darkseid, one of the best Super Powers action figures, and a character we really haven’t seen much of lately.
Three Worldly Questions:
1. What’s with those creepy eyed dudes?
I presume those are Apokolitpan sleeper agents or something, but it begs the question – does Darkseid have spies that aren’t so clearly alien on Earth? I mean, we saw how subtle Steppenwolf and Barda have been – could he have some regular looking joes just hanging out underground? That would be an interesting way to play it, though very un-Darkseid.
2. Protofuries is a stupid name, right?
3. Could this really be this world’s end?
Taking out the Parliament (not to mention the Funkadelic) could possibly lead to the actual physical destruction of the Earth – I always expected the “end of the world” to mean the end of life on the planet, not the actual loss of the planet from the Earth 2 solar system, but that seems to now be on the table. That ups the stakes a little, and is a nice touch.
The New 52: Futures End #39
Written by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, and Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Stephen Thompson
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
News, notes, and debuts:
As much as I’ve enjoyed “Futures End,” I’ll be the first to admit that it hasn’t been the most even of reads. In fact, at times it’s been a downright chore. However, issue #39 is a true delight. Everything about this issue, the pacing, the character beats, the art, nails the mark.
First up, we have Superman (Shazam), Firestorm, and Polaris back at the satellite. This is arguably the weakest section of the issue, but still strong in its own right. Madison Payne as the new Firestorm is a fantastic addition to the DCU stable of heroes, and is honestly the most interesting thing to happen to the Firestorm character since he was ran through with a sword in “Identity Crisis.” Her interactions with Shazam are terrific, as the two share a strong chemistry. The evolution of the Polaris storyline has taken a long time getting here, but it seems that it’s all about to pay off well.
Next we have the continuing aftermath of Fifty Sue’s destructive exit, as the down-on-his-luck Justin experiences an “out of the frying pan, into the fire” moment. I feel like a broken record at this point, but the family dynamic that has sprung up around these characters is just fantastic. A mostly silent single page centering around a bottle of gin had me grinning goofily in a way that few DC books have.Continued below
Frankenstein faces down his father/creator in a scene lifted from The Empire Strikes Back. Although, as far as severed body parts go, “Futures End” features a fair bit of one-upmanship. After drifting throughout the story with a questionable sense of purpose, Frank makes a powerful decision that may play a huge role in the story’s final act. Finally, the relationship between Amethyst and Frank reaches a touching plateau. The duo can’t quite be described as romantic, but that sense of ambiguity surrounding their connection to each other makes it all the more interesting. In a book filled with interesting but unexpected character match-ups, this is one of the most interesting.
Finally, it seems that we’re officially entering into the end game, as the target of Brainiac’s attack on earth is revealed. We haven’t had a lot of great Superman moments in this series, but the way Clark springs into action forebodes great things to come in issues to come.
Three Future Questions:
1. Will Polaris find redemption?
A big part of this series has been about heroes rectifying past wrongs. Characters like Firestorm and Barda have worked to make up for their past failures. We’ve also seen heroes cast as pseudo-villains, as seen in the case of the wayward Mr. Terrific. In the case of Doctor Polaris, we may be seeing a villain, albeit a relative newbie, getting a chance at redemption. While the character has done despicable things, if he is in fact able to help Firestorm and provide teleportation technology to the masses, then he’ll have a major feather in his cap. Likewise, if he finally achieves his goal, what point does he have in playing the villain? Rather, I could see him becoming a pivotal force in the fight against Brainiac.
2. Why does Brainiac want Manhattan?
This issue reveals that Brainiac seems to have set his sights on Manhattan as his latest encapsulated treasure. Of course, that city is usually far more closely affiliated with Marvel, with fictional cities such as Metropolis and Gotham attracting the lions’ share of attention. DC has definitely paid more attention to real world cities in the New 52, with characters like Green Arrow and Nightwing relocating to Seattle and Chicago, respectively. Or maybe Brainiac just has his universes mixed up? Took a wrong turn on his way to Earth 8?
3. Will Frankenstein be able to change the future?
With the death of Victor Frankenstein, the death of the Frankenstein monster seems quite imminent. With the knowledge of what he’ll one day become, Frank seems to be taking the measures to prevent his fate, both in dying and, possibly, by putting his story to paper. While it’s certainly possible that Frankenstein could be repurposed as Brother Eye’s undead general after his death in the present. However, one has to wonder if Frankenstein’s glimpse of his fate has led to a diverting of the streams of time, setting into motion the destruction of Brother Eye’s apocalyptic future. That would be a terrific twist, the very weapon that defeats Brother Eye is the one he so desperately seeks to eliminate: free will.