Welcome, friends to the final 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!
As mentioned above, this is the last 3cap will we will doing. We would like to thank all of you for coming along on this journey with us – I think I (Brian) can speak for all three of us when I say that this has been insanely fun, and has totally reinvigorated my love of DC.
Next week, we will have the third DC3Cast, focused on the end of the weeklies and the start of “Convergence.” Following that, we will be bringing you two solid months of “Convergence” coverage, as the 3cap transitions into the Convergents!
Come June, when DC’s publishing plan changes, so does ours. You’ll hear more about our future endeavors in the coming weeks but for now, weep not for the 3cap – celebrate it!
Batman Eternal #51
Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Alvaro Martinez
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
News, notes, and debuts:
Man, does it feel so very good to be proven wrong.
Last week I was pretty harsh on not only “Eternal” #50, but on the series as a whole. I had a lot to say about the Cluemaster reveal, the progression of “Eternal’s” mysteries, and the state of Batman stories in general. Of course, I also held off total judgement, with two issues left to go and plenty of time for last minute surprises. Thankfully, issue #51 delivers not only a granddaddy of a surprise but also some terrific character moments and beautiful art.
It’s probably a given at this point, but MAJOR spoilers incoming.
If you’re still here, I assume you already know that the one truly pulling the strings is none other than Lincoln March, a.k.a. Thomas Wayne Jr., Bruce’s possible long lost brother from “Court of Owls.”
This works on so many levels. For one, with it being over two years since we last saw Lincoln, this feels like the perfect time for the villain to resurface. Neither Bruce nor the reader received much closer regarding the enigmatic avian fiend, so the character’s return is both welcome and justified. Furthermore, there’s a nice thematic symmetry with “Batman;” just as “Endgame” is the spiritual sequel to “Death of the Family,” “Eternal” provides a bookend for the “New 52” era of Snyder and Capullo’s “Batman.” Lincoln is a suitably “big-time” villain, one who could reasonably orchestrate a plot of this magnitude, one of the key detractors I had against Cluemaster.
However, leading up the final reveal, I can actually say that Snyder and Tynion quite nearly sold me on the idea of Cluemaster and his gang of misfits bringing Gotham to its knees. The idea that a group of Z-list villains could take over Gotham by keeping Batman’s attention focused on the A and B-listers is a solid plan, and Cluemaster’s terrific bravado truly sells it.
Last week, I mentioned my expectation that this issue would lay down the path of breadcrumbs that would explain Cluemaster’s machinations. That sort of happened, but since he’s not the true mastermind it’s slightly irrelevant. However, the biggest clue to Lincoln’s involvement was brilliantly seeded a few months ago.
Stephanie has had a hard time warming up to Batman due to his “involvement” with Bruce Wayne, who she believes was in league with her father. While her mention of seeing Bruce amongst the conspirators did initially bring Lincoln to mind. However, by pushing Hush so much (who I believe still looks like Bruce due to self induced plastic surgery), attention was successfully diverted from Lincoln. Bravo guys, bravo.
Speaking of Steph, one of this issue’s greatest moments deals with a disagreement between Stephanie and Harper, a duo I’m growing pretty fond of. The dispute ends with Spoiler leaving town a la Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, and you can expect that parallel to continue next issue.Continued below
Finally, Jim Gordon returns in full force, calling Jason Bard to rise to his station as the new Commissioner. I’ve been calling for Bard’s redemption for some time, and while he still has a way to go, it’s exciting that the writing team seems set on keeping Bard in the Commissioner chair. That’s the kind of forward movement from the established status quo that I love to see.
To top things off, I have to mention the fantastic job that Alvaro Martinez and company are doing artistically. This issue features some fantastic visuals, from the image of the cowl falling towards a broken Gotham, to the surprisingly menacing Cluemaster. This team is firing on all cylinders and I can’t wait to see their endgame.
Three Eternal Questions:
1. What has Lincoln been up to?
It’s been a while since “Court of Owls” wrapped, and one can only assume that Lincoln has been plotting his revenge on Bruce ever since. Expect next issue to showcase his missing time and possibly put a more definite stamp on his true relation to Bruce.
2. Will Spoiler have a change of heart?
Stephanie left Gotham on her motorcycle, never to return again. Except, of course that’s not how it’s going to end. I’m sure Spoiler will not only return, but will play a crucial role in saving the day. The true question, however, is what does her role in the Bat-family look like moving forward and how long we have to wait until she gets her own book (preferably a team up book with Harper, new “Birds of Prey,” anyone?)
3. Will Commissioner Bard retain his station?
Gordon seems pretty set on letting Bard remain as Commissioner, which I think would be a fantastic development. However, I have my own theories about the future of Jason Bard, which may or may not be realized when “Batman” returns in June. You can probably guess yourself, but the police car-esque lights on the new Batsuit are a very interesting addition…
Earth 2: World’s End #25
Written by Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Mike Johnson, and Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Scott McDaniel, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Robson Rocha, Guillermo Ortego, Eduardo Pansica, and Dan Green
Reviewed by Vince Ostrowski
News, Notes, and Debuts:
– And so we’ve reached the penultimate issue of what can best be described as a merely adequate comic book event. “Batman Eternal” and “Futures End” both had their highs and lows, but they were clearly superior events. “World’s End” has been mostly devoid of highs. To be fair, there weren’t many lows either, but that’s because the entire series has been a relatively by-the-numbers affair. “World’s End” wasn’t asbolutely terrible, but it committed the crime of being boring for much of its duration.
It felt like every time “World’s End” showed potential, it took the easiest or most simplistic way out. Again, it didn’t make for a bad comic – just one that wasn’t very thrilling or surprising.
For example, today’s issue does a little bit to work against the strong character moment that Power Girl had last week when she challenged Darkseid. Here, Val-Zod comes to her rescue, and while he wasn’t very effective in doing so – it still felt like it would have been a stronger character moment for Power Girl to be the alpha and for Val-Zod to continue to be the passive one. That seems like a small quibble as I’m typing it out, but while reading, I truly felt like the whole thing played out in a more traditional fashion than it was setting up to be. I would make similar arguments about the way that Alan Scott’s arc as a hero felt a little undermined by how simple his solution to the problem of Apokolips devouring the Earth turned out to be, as well as Dick Grayson’s continued attempts to pass his child off and then lamenting it later in melodramatic fashion. While the storytelling is competent, “World’s End” might have benefitted from subverting some of these tropes rather than taking the most expected path toward moving the story forward.Continued below
– I want to take one final opportunity to compliment the art for being what I truly believe was one of the most successful attempts at having an art team with so many contributors to every single weekly issue. They picked a pretty strong team, and preferences and tastes for certain artists aside, everybody brought their own version of their “A-game” each week. This is probably the one area where “World’s End” exceeded the efforts of “Future’s End.”
Three Worldly Questions:
1. Alan Scott vs. Darkseid – who ya got?
It seems that the final showdown of “World’s End” will be, most fittingly, Alan Scott and his Amazing Avatars vs. Darkseid. Alan Scott has easily been the most important member of the “Earth 2” cast since the first issue of James Robinson’s re-imagining of the JSA property. My money is on Scott holding off Darkseid just long enough for everyone to escape, but leaving him to get his revenge at some later date. That’s usually how these Darkseid stories go, right?
2. Where’s Jimmy Olson?
New God Jimmy Olson seemed like such a momentous plot point a handful of issues ago, but he’s been all but dropped ever since. When it happened, I felt like it was the one true and lasting surprise that this weekly had to offer readers. But like all of these “dropped” or “cliffhanging” storylines, I expect him to play a role in the post-“Convergence” Earth 2 titles in some way. It seems like too big of a deal for him to return to prominence, doesn’t it?
3. What spills over into “Earth 2: Society”?
Kind of expanding on the Jimmy Olson question, what else can we expect to see spill over into “Earth 2: Society”? I would suspect that the early goings-on of the new series will deal with rebuilding “society” with this nebulous “codex” MacGuffin. I would also suspect that the word “society” will play into finally forming some sort of ‘Justice Society of America’ in earnest. We should also look for Dick Grayson’s retreival of his son to have a place in the narrative, which is something we’ve been speculating on for weeks now.
The New 52: Futures End #
Written by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, and Jeff Lemire
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
News, notes, and debuts:
We are here folks: this is the end of “Futures End.” With just one issue left, we can only assume that we are, more or less, done with Fifty Sue, done with the scarred up Amethyst, with bearded Superman – this is all about the new Batman Beyond, Tim Drake.
This issue really doubles down on the “Bruce is a dick” motif that really became prominent a week or two ago. One of the nice things about “Futures End” was that it presented familiar characters in ways that didn’t feel unfamiliar, but were exaggerations of themselves. So, after the Earth War, you could see Bruce getting more desperate, more intense, and more brutal. So, because of that, this “Bruce is a dick” motif, though explored over many, many comics in the past, sort of works the best here.
We are also instantly biased in that direction because of Tim being a more compelling protagonist than Bruce. We take Tim’s word for it because Tim has no reason to lie; he’s out of the game (for most of the book), so his honesty makes a lot of sense. Regardless, in this issue we see Tim fulfil the plan meant for Terry, and travel back in time to stop Brother Eye.
This was also the first moment that “World’s End” and “Futures End” really intersect in anything resembling real time. We see Mister Terrific piloting a ship in real time – one can only presume that next week, in “World’s End” we will see where the Earth 2 folks wind up, because it sure as shit isn’t going to be on the New 52 Earth.
The Tim storyline takes up all of the issue, but we do see a few peripheral moments, like he and Madison reconnecting. This seems to ignore all the issues between the two that led to their splitting up, but I guess that a near-apocalypse can cure most domestic instability. We also get another Dick = dick joke, which used to be a rare treat in Batman comics, but is now as common as the giant penny.Continued below
This issue features three different artists, and all three of them have a very different style, and the shifts can be a bit jarring. Alberto Ponticelli, who did incredible work on “Frankenstein and the Agents of S.H.A.D.E.” early on in the New 52 brings his grittier style with a much thicker line to the book. He is, by far, my personal favorite of the three artists on this issue, but his style is also the least compatible with the other two. It is hard to tell where Andy MacDonald ends and Dan Green begins, but it is unmistakable where Ponticelli is working.
Each artist also inked themselves here, which helps the sections feel a little bit segmented. Ponticelli’s sections, in particular, are incredibly tense, as we see how everyone involved knows what must be done, but no one feels comfortable doing it. Ponticelli’s art has the weight to portray that scene quite well.
Three Future Questions:
1. What happened to Brother Eye in the five years between “now” and “Futures End”?
It was never really explained what changed within Brother Eye, a piece of existing technology, between now and the Futures End timeline, but apparently it caught an evil virus or something. I suppose that its AI could have adapted and changed in 5 years, and perhaps grew to be evil, but I can’t imagine that the AI could grow outside of its initial parameters, especially as it was designed by two geniuses.
Then again, every plot of every AI movie tells me differently, so who knows?
2. Could Tim find Madison ever again? And, if so, would she remember him at all?
This is another time travel trope that the series just won’t have enough time to really dig into: if Tim does, indeed, make it to the future again, will Madison be there/will she remember him?
Because he’s changing the past, instead of her being who she was in “Futures End,” she could have chosen to move to a city that wasn’t destroyed, as it was in her first timeline. Or, she could’ve been killed in a car accident. Or, she could simply not find Tim attractive anymore, perhaps influenced by her father’s now innocence (as the war he was profiteering from no longer exists).
Tim, a hero, obviously would choose the world’s benefit versus his own, but it would be slightly heartbreaking to see him find an uninterested Madison when he returns to her time.
3. Where the hell is Tim at the end?
Any guesses? He and A.L.F.R.E.D. seem to know what they are looking at but, of course, we have no idea.
Maybe it’s the Statue of Liberty from Planet of the Apes?
Maybe it’s the entrance to the Bat cave?
Maybe it’s a really excellent taco truck?
Let us know what you think it is in the comments!
Once again, thank you. It has truly be a privilege to cover this stuff each week.
And, on a personal note, thanks to Zach and Vince for being amazing partners for the past few years of the DC3, but especially over the past year. They’ve been insightful, hilarious, kind, and a joy to work with. They make the DC3 the most fun I have at Multiversity. Thanks again, boys.