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 #47
Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Juan Ferreyra
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
News, notes, and debuts:
This week is divided into two major sections: Alfred and Hush getting to chat inside the Batcave, and the extended Bat-family out on the prowl. The first is probably more important to the overall story, but it is a bit of a snooze. Hush is a character that has never done that much for me, and his character beats can seem predictable and one-note.
It is also pretty absurd how light the security around him in the cave is – I’m not saying that they need a prison like on The Flash, but this seems pretty lackadaisical, considering that he has Bruce’s fingerprints and whatnot.
The other half of the book is all about the people not named Bruce taking matters into their own hands. Julia has really come into her own lately, and this week we get to see both her skills at rallying the troops, and also her sleek new costume (which seems destined to be a cosplay favorite in future years).
We get to see the full potential of a Gotham full of Bat-allies this week, with Red Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl, Batwing, and Bluebird all able to strike with great precision. This is, essentially, a localized Batman, Incorporated, which is a concept that has really suffered over the past year or so – remember when Batman went to Japan early on in the series? I barely do.
Most notable this week is the art of Juan Ferreyra, who has done a few issues of the book, but none worked quite as well, visually, as this one. His work on “Colder” has been incredible, but here he seemed a bit rushed and stilted, but not here: this is a beautifully illustrated issue. His Scarecrow, in particular, is creepy and menacing. He is set to take over “Gotham by Midnight” come June, and he seems like a perfectly cromulent choice.
Three Eternal Questions:
1. What can Vicki Vale really do?
Cullen Row seems intent on getting Vicki Vale back involved in this story (more than the writers do at this point), but the real question is: what can she do? When it was about taking out a corrupt police department, that makes total sense. If she had a connection to some other metahumans who could help? Sure, I’d buy that. But at this point, with Gotham about to burn, what’s she going to do? How is freedom of the press really going to help anyone right now?
2. Haven’t we seen this before?
Remember when the Batmobile lost its brakes? Isn’t this literally the exact same cliffhanger?
3. Have the events of “Batman” #39 effectively made…well, don’t read this section if you’re behind on “Batman”
Two things happened in “Batman” #39 this week that can directly influence “Eternal.” The first is that, at the end of the issue, Batman calls upon support from some of his villains – the Penguin, Clayface, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Bane, and Poison Ivy. Not that any of them were really in contention for ‘big bad,’ but I think we can effectively cut them from the discussion officially right now, as I doubt the guy who would tie Bruce to the Batsignal would be called in to stop the Joker so soon after, would you?
In addition, Alfred goes the way of Ash from Evil Dead and Luke Skywalker and loses a hand in the issue. While I doubt this mean Alfred will be out of commission for long, I wonder if this is paving the way for Julia to wind up as the new permanent support person for Bruce.Continued below
Earth 2: World’s End #21
Written by Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Mike Johnson, and Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, R.B. Silva, Walden Wong, Robson Rocha, Guillermo Ortego, Euardo Pansica, and Paul Neary
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
News, Notes, and Debuts:
First off, a few thoughts on this issue’s cover drawn by Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira. This is actually one of my favorite “World’s End” covers in quite a while. The colors are terrific, and the perspective is fun and dynamic. However, the cover depicts Green Arrow, as was alluded to in last issue. I brought up the point that Earth 2’s Oliver Queen has been depicted as “Red Arrow” over in “Futures End.” Well, it seems like someone at DC heard me (haha yeah right) as the issue itself depicts Ollie in red. So there you have it, a little bit of editorial/colorist miscommunication. Of course, that’s the least of this book’s problems.
Chugging along the same as ever, “World’s End” #21 at least manages to introduce some fairly interesting plot developments:
-Val Zod continues to resist resorting to violence in combatting Apokolips. While Kara makes the argument that “fighting fire with fire” is the only way to protect the earth, Val makes a strong rebuttal argument; it’s not like fighting has done much for them thus far. I expect Val’s pacifistic approach to play a big part in the coming issues as he discovers a way to save the world.
-Thomas and Helena finally catch up with Oliver, who reveals the truth behind Helena’s inheritance from Bruce. Not a weapon, but a codex, containing the DNA of every organism on the planet along with recorded histories, cultures, etc. In short, it’s the world in a box.
-Brainwave reveals his plan (sort of?); commandeering the World Army’s ships to save himself and select few that are under his mental control.
-Back on the Endurance, the team is at the mercy of both Apokolips and Terry Slaon. In their final moments, Sloan reveals the nature of his deal with Apokolips, along with the fact that he’s not native to this world. Finally as part of his plan, he sacrifices the Endurance.
Three Worldly Questions:
1. Why exactly did Constantine free Brainwave and company?
It’s been a while since we’ve seen ole Hellblazer in this book, but we’ve seen a lot of the crew he broke out of Arkham. Brainwave et al., have been scheming behind the scenes of the Dick Grayson segments, schemes which come to a head in this issue. Now that we know what the plan is, I have to ask “why?” Is Brainwave acting under Constantine’s direction still, or has he gone rogue? Is there any explanation in the main “Constantine” book? I haven’t been keeping up with that series, so if any of our astute readers have, feel free to enlighten us in the comments!
2. What in the world(s) is Sloan’s endgame?
I think it’s probably safe to say that the plans governing Sloan have changed over the past few years. After being established by James Robinson, then handed of to Tom Taylor and finally landing in the lap of Daniel Wilson and company, I’m not exactly sure what to think of this character. He’s essentially a constant contrarian, never on anyone’s side but his own and causing trouble for all. Now that he’s taken out what I believed to be salvation of the Earth 2 denizens, will he have an alternative waiting in the wings? Also, I’m unsure, but is this the first we’ve heard of Sloan not being native to Earth 2? I feel like it’s not, but I can’t remember where that info might have been presented. Again, sound off in the comments if you know the answer.
3. What will Helena do with Bruce’s codex?
It looks like Bruce’s gift to Helena won’t be the magic bullet for defeating Apokolips that they might have hoped for. Rather, I think this may be the basis for the upcoming follow up to “World’s End,” “Earth 2: Society.” Now, I don’t know how things will look after “Convergence,” but this codex would allow Wilson to repopulate a “New Earth 2,” should he decide to keep these characters separate from the main DCU, which I think is in the best interest for the series.Continued below
The New 52: Futures End #43
Written by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, and Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Andy MacDonald
Reviewed by Vince Ostrowski
News, notes, and debuts:
– We still spend a good chunk of this issue with Brainiac stomping around the city (even taking “the steering wheel” of Earth-0 before the issue’s end), but this is the first issue in a few that we actually spend much time with Brother Eye. As it happens, this is the first issue that feels like it was part of the original plans for “Futures End” again. You can still kind of see the seams in the story, but I don’t think it detracts very much.
– Anyone else really liking the way Batman is being written in this comic? I wonder who the main “Batman” writer is out of the 4 “Futures End” writers. If I even ever knew, I’ve forgotten it by now. He has a really good sense of humor in “Futures End” – the kind of humor that the self-righteous and self-obsessed Batman probably should have. He even gets to smile a bit in this issue. Surely that was an editorial oversight.
– Andy MacDonald gets the art duties this time around, and the result is not as much fun to look at as the last time his work showed up on “Futures End.” The Brainiac Kaiju scenes continue to be strong, but there isn’t as much visual depth to the characters and their interactions. Superman and Michael Holt, in particular, look a little derpy at times. There’s a gravity to the dialogue that doesn’t quite land with art that isn’t particularly subtle.
Three Future Questions:
1. What happened in “Darkseid War” that it took Superman five years to recover from?
Superman mentions “the war” a couple of times throughout this issue. I can only assume that this is the “Darkseid War” event that Geoff Johns has been teasing for what feels like forever. Or is that too far of a leap to take? Are they just alluding to some nebulous “war” that we never got to see?
Anyway, Superman says that he was expected to do things that he wasn’t comfortable with doing. DC Comics are setting up “Convergence” and “Darkseid War” to be pretty darn epic in scope, with the dramatic heft to go with their greatest heroes. Hopefully it all lives up to the hype.
2. What does Brother Eye mean when it says Tim Drake “doesn’t exist”?
It’s easy to pass this off as your classic villainous declaration that the protagonist is insignificant and meaningless as a person, but we here at the DC3 always like to speculate deeper. Could this be a bit of insight into the mission statement of the “Convergence” event? Remember that the different DC “eras” are fighting for relevance. The assumption is that the Tim Drake seen in “Futures End” in the one that, when the New 52 began, had little connection to Batman. We found out later, through some really thin retconning, that actually Tim Drake was Robin, very briefly, but didn’t have much of a connection to the family after it was all said and done. Remember that, pre-New 52, Tim Drake became Tim “Wayne”, as Bruce finally adopted Tim as his son in earnest.
Could we see Tim Wayne’s return? I doubt it. That’s probably a step too far. But we could see some versions of New 52 characters get traded out for past or future versions. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit.
3. What did Batman do to piss Superman off?
Back to the “Darkseid War” speculation: the Batman/Superman rivalry/friendship is one of the greatest trump cards DC has in their back pocket. “World’s Finest” work well together, but especially when there is a little friction involved. From everything Superman says in this issue of “Futures End”, however, that friendship may be strained past the breaking point before too long.
What could Batman have done? Well, short of revealing everyone’s secret weaknesses to the world, I can’t be sure. I guess we’ll have to wait for the big “Darkseid War” event to find out. But I would like to talk about this trope for a little bit longer.Continued below
Time and again, Batman proves to be the outsider that nobody seems to trust. A short discussion with Brian Salvatore last night inspired me to think about the fact that Batman has proven just as dedicated as any other member of the Justice League, yet he’s always the one that is getting the side-eye for the way he goes about his business. If Batman does something to strain his relationship with the Justice League yet again, it better be something damn compelling. Otherwise, let’s give the guy a break. Maybe he’s earned some trust?