Our fourth installment of the FUTURES END Sunday Stash sees the end of it, cleaning up a pair of rivalries from last week with a smothering of titillating others. Which title prevails on top?
Scroll down to find out.
Today’s development with the Futures End arc continues in the pages of New Suicide Squad #1 (“The Replacements”), and Teen Titans #1 (“Team Effort”). Of the two, New Suicide Squad’s muted palette and more solid story telling (courtesy of writer Sean Ryan) was a good way of easing into yet another front on the Futures End event. Teen Titans packed a lot into a single issue, which seemed a bit too packed, with a bit too much going on and felt more like an expository dump, though that’s not a missive on writer Will Pfeiffer, who has a lot to cram into a single issue. Here, the Titans are set to put an end to Archimedes Grant’s attempts to destroy the incoming hordes of Earth 2’s super- and metahumans. There is a lot to get through with this issue, which rushes past plot points and some surprising turns without taking the time for any one of them to register (a second read-through to get all the plot developments right was required. With New Suicide Squad, Ryan works a lot to set a measured tone and wry sense of humor, as DC’s badass office boss Amanda Waller rebuilds the Suicide Squad, and it is amusing to see what has become of both Black Manta and Harley Quinn. Suicide Squad has always been a great title, and a fun read, and this issue is no different on that front. Between the two titles, bet your money on the Suicide Squad — you won’t be disappointed. TT #1 = 2/5; NSS #1 = 5/5. – J.L. Caraballo
Okay clergy folk, your boy just finished reading through these two comics and I know what you’re thinking, “Templar’s a Super-Fan; how is this review even going to be legit?” Well, let me tell you something: It is. Why? Because although it pains me to say it, and I’m probably getting kicked out of the Superman Fan Club for this, but Futures End Flash just curb stomped the Kryptonite out of the S man. Superman: Futures End #1, written by Dan Jurgens (Aquaman: Futures End #1) and drawn by Lee Weeks (Secret Origins #1) just fell below par. The artwork was good and there was a story there, but nothing amazing or eye-popping. Hell, I don’t even know why they called this Superman, SPOILER ALERT!!!! The main character wasn’t even Superman! It was a different DC Hero pretending to be the king of my heart! The Flash on the other hand was near-amazeballs. Writers Robert Venditti (The Surrogates) and Van Jensen (Green Lantern Corps) started the story off a little strange for my tastes (I have special technology from the future! Blah), but then kicked it right into overdrive, with so much action my eyes are still watering. Add all this to artist Brett Booth’s (Backlash) fantastic linework and this book just kicked the Shazam out of Superman! Not only were the pictures greatly detailed, but there were so many freaking superb lightning bolts popping out everywhere I was almost afraid to turn the page. If you only have 4-dollars to your name and therefore can only buy one of these books, then, dare I say it, skip Superman and grab Flash. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go wash my mouth out with soap… Supes #1 = 2/5; The Flash #1 = 3.5/5. – Mark Majndle
Harley Quinn’s personality comes to life through the insane comments she has on the tribal island she’s been stranded on. When tribesman Bouba shows her the palace he’s built for ‘Tha’Jo-Kaa,’ you already knew who this mysterious God would be, and I was giggling throughout the whole book. Having a writing style mesh with ink and color so effortlessly is a hard feat that Harley’s dark humor pulls off with grace-– it makes the read that much more immersive. I understand with Futures End‘s once-offs, it’s difficult to bring a ton of backstory to a single-run story; I just wish it could’ve been a bit longer. Being stranded on an island worked well as it allowed Joker to shape the world around him (or so he thought), and we weren’t constrained within a cityscape with *yawn* rules. How often do you get to make tribesmen dress up as Joker’s most-hated do-gooders just for him to hunt them down? Another thing! Did Sholly Fisch (Action Comics), Amanda Connor (Power Girl) and Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex) decide this was the week to kill off the significant other? With Joker being fed to a volcano deity and Falcone eating the lead of Gotham’s most fearsome underground, Kyle and Quinn receive a new start with less crime-ridden baggage. Catwoman worked so well for me–- in a stark contrast to Harley’s fruity color palette, Sonia (Witchblade) Oback’s gritty, muted tones lend themselves well to the severity of Selina Kyle’s pressing matter of keeping the peace between warring gangs. In your typical purported Italian-mobster fashion, Falcone sets a car bomb up especially for Selina, hoping to take not only her life, but the reigns to their operation. The ever-clever Kyle, however, turns the entire situation around when Falcone notices his offshore bank account is completely depleted, earning himself more than a few begrudged gangster’s bullets. Kyle’s conversation with the Riddler at the end is well-appreciated, tying up loose ends through the Riddler’s sheer genius (he’s so smug). Harley = 4.25/5; Cats = 4/5. – Christine Manzione
Any time a comic makes me start humming It’s the End of the World by R.E.M. is not a bad thing. In this corner, with beautiful — almost painted — artwork from Scott Hampton is Star Spangled War Stories, with a really sharp story by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti (All-Star Western). Futures End SSWS is all about a zombie apocalypse coming to Gotham City and GI Zombie coming to the rescue. Re-read that last sentence and that’s all you really need to know about the book. The whole comic has a feeling of World War Z and 24 to it, with some great little panels and scenes that seriously made me want this to be more than just a one-shot. And in the other corner Andres Guinaldo comes out swinging for our favorite DC magicians, Justice League Dark, with a script by J.M. DeMatteis (Justice League 3000) and Len Wein (Wolverine). The JLD crew is caught in a nameless dimension trying to find their way home. I’m a not big Justice League Dark fan, and this book just did not want me to jump on. The characters felt very 2-dimentional and just weren’t all that captivating. By the end of both books, Star Spangled War Stories did a better job at keeping things tight and suspenseful, while Futures End JLD falls short of making me want more. SSWS #1 = 4/5; JLD #1 = 3/5. – Robert Bexar II
This week in the Technicolor Jewelry Universe, Guy Gardner and Sinestro end up “black and blue”, but not in the traditional sense (Spoilers, by the way!). First up: Red Lanterns. This issue is the equivalent of “I’m all caught up on Netflix, but the series finale is tonight, I guess I’ll see how it ends even though I have no idea how we got here.” This is the kind of ending that’s almost Disney-approved. (Complete with not-so-hidden sexual innuendo). The whole theme of Charles (Swamp Thing) Soule‘s book is “No More Reds” and surprise sur-freakin-prise, they beat the big baddie, then Gardner’s second in command goes crazy angry for like 4 panels before it’s “Happily Ever After.” Honestly, I’m conflicted. It’s a nice wrap-up issue, but this is the happiest issue I’ve read of anything, ironically coming from the angriest book from DC. And wait– isn’t this what we’d eventually want to happen? Either way, if that means at least five more years of Red Lanterns, I’m on board. Now Sinestro on the other hand falls into the category of “what happens when you give a bad guy his own book.” I love Cullen (Magneto) Bunn‘s series, but it’s issues like this that make some of the earlier ones hard to read. The book was one long internal monologue. (75 caption boxes!!) Fortunately, the story made a lot of sense, and would be a fantastic ending to a Sinestro movie or something. He’s so driven to be the leader of a powerful army that he raises his fallen soldiers from the dead, and leads them as Black Lanterns? That’s… I can’t even… Sinestro is such a badass!! And using the short amount of time given, through beautiful use of flashbacks, it all makes sense. I just wish we’d have a little more dialogue and less internal Sinestrologue. So Red Lanterns: Story’s great, ending’s super cliche, Sinestro: Story’s super wordy, ending’s great. Ladies and Gentleman, I think we have a tie = 3.5/5. – Gabe Carrasco
Christy (Fables) Marx delivers in DC’s Birds of Prey: Futures End. Free of Ra’s al Ghul’s control at last, Black Canary claims her rightful place as the head of the League of Assassins; thus, we learn Batgirl has turned against good. The Black Canary liberates women who have been captured and takes then under her care, sometimes making them part of her League of Assassins. This female-driven comic really sets itself apart with the intriguing story line and twist and turns. Throw in some excellent visuals from Robson Rocha (Superboy) and Oclair Albert (Demon Knights), and this one-shot winds up a simple — yet highly enjoyable — comic, with just the right feminist edge. Thank you DC and Christy Marx. Well played. Scott (Superman) Lobdell’s Red Hood and the Outlaws pits Jason Todd in the solo future, as he reveals hints to how the Outlaws and his partners, Starfire and Arsenal, parted ways; this premise also leads to Todd’s new mission of retribution and brutal justice. OK. As if we’ve never read this one before. Nothing “Fresh ‘n Easy” about this comic, which felt more like a recycled bag I use over and over at…the aforementioned grocery store. BOP #1 = 3.25/5; RHATO #1 = 2.25/5. – Eva Ceja
About time, Moody. Booster Gold — DC’s resident time-travelling Hollywood (wannabe) superhero — first caught my eye in the fall of 2007, with a new series from Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz following the 52 aftermath. Dan Jurgens, author of both of these Futures End titles (and the previously reviewed Supes), returns to the character he once created, and it’s only fitting your trusty Monsignor explore these comics with all the blue-and-bright-yellow eyes on The Multiverse. Booster has always been an intrinistic figure in the DC Universe, and Jurgens stop-gaps that visit various Earths and various superheroes (i.e. Kamandi, The Legion, J.L.I., etc.), giving longtime fans of BGizzle what they’ve always enjoyed. Unfortunately, there’s not much room in 22 to explore this hero’s singificant impact 5-years from now without, of course, going way of needless exposition. Jurgens avoids that, but the plethora of artists — despite some hefty names (Brett Booth, Ron Frenz) and the same colorist throughout — may muddle even more confusion. Shame on you, noobs. On the other hand, DJ’s Aquaman & The Others: FE is a more straight-forward tale. Jurgens’ “The Others” comic a.k.a. the complimentary Aquaman title has actually featured more of Arthur Curry than Jeff Parker’s more Mera-based titular version. To Jurg’s defense, we see Mera become the centerpiece of this issue, riding those tides between being loyal to her husband and Xebel. Art also swims! Imagine that. No longer does Aquaman have to explain his throne of H2O to those on land. Sean (X-O Manowar) Chen‘s art was clean enough for the more positive tone of the comic, but I’ll still take Booster’s story with all the importance of DC’s current events that surrounds it. Hey– it’s not often a monthly-themed comic had this much meaning. BG #1 = 3.75/5; A&TO #1 = 3.5/5. – Travis Moody