Due to going on a vacation towards the end of July, I fell behind on Future’s End, and that kind of sucked in part because this is a highly rated series for me. It is a complex story being weaved together by no less than four writers and covering dozens of characters, so it is kind of easy to get lost but the weekly schedule helps quite a bit with that. At this point in the series, I’m looking for a sense of interconnectedness and the feeling that things are moving forwards towards some kind of a resolution. That resolution might not arrive for another month, or even two months, but that’s what I want, and fortunately, Future’s End #13-16 provide exactly that.
These four issues deal with the many secrets being kept from the many characters in this series. Such as what is really happening in the subbasement levels of Cadmus Island, or who sent Lois Lane a bunch of artifacts that have led her to uncovering some big secrets and even come face-to-face with a stark reality of her alternate life on Earth 2, or what is going on with the masked Superman and why he acts like a jock these days, or the reality of who killed Stormwatch back in the opening issues. The writers turn out some fairly good material here, and with artists like Patrick Zircher, Art Thibert, Scot Eaton and Jesus Merino, the artwork is in good hands here.
There are a hell of a lot of ongoing plots in these four issues, and the writers alternate between them all so there is never more than 3-5 arcs in any one issue. I like that approach but at this point in the series I am also looking for some simplification of the process, some sign that all these disparate stories aren’t really disparate at all. Reading issues back to back helps with that too, as I just did to refresh myself on what happened in the previous three issues. You get to pick up on some more subtleties and the overall experience tends to be better too.
Usually, I’d cover each issue separately within a big review like this, but given the fact that there is so much going on, that’s not feasible. Suffice to say that in almost all the stories the writers are on top form with the characters, especially with the new ones. Lana Lang makes an appearance on Cadmus Island, as an Earth-2 collaborator working for Faraday, and she runs into Cole Cash aka Grifter and Fifty Sue. The latter is a really oddball character, one I’m not sure about, but can’t stop reading about, and she definitely has a lot of appeal I think because of her fractured personality, or so it appears. Big Barda and Emiko’s team-up is also one to give a shout-out to, one because I love Big Barda as a character and two, Emiko totally kicks ass when she and her new friend are confronted by none other than Deathstroke and Fifty Sue. Makes for some riveting reading.
And others, like Michael Holt, Cole Cash, Tim Drake, Terry McGinnis, Frankenstein, Hawkman, Lois Lane, Amethyst, etc are also on top-form here. There are bits of interconnectedness between all of them, and they are becoming more and more apparent through the issues. For example, Lois Lane’s arc seems set to intersecting with what is happening on Cadmus Island with Lana and Cole. John Constantine’s investigations look set to intersect with what is happening with Hawkman, Amethyst and Frankenstein. And of course, Terry and Michael are going to meet-up at some point too, and it isn’t going to be pretty at all, especially not with the connections to the death of Stormwatch.
In these four issues, if there are any plots that gave me a pause and/or confused me, I didn’t get what Plastique is up to. Before, she took Terry down and then later she wants back in on his plans for a heist into Terrifitech. She’s a true maverick and I don’t get what she is doing here, or what her connection to Terry is since there have been hints previously that Terry has run into her in the future and that there’s a big secret there. And of course, Fifty Sue plain confuses me at all points. She is all over the place and she’s really, really odd!
On issue #13 we have Patrick with colourist Hi-Fi and letterer Carlos M. Mangual. Issue #14 brings in Aaron Lopresti as penciller with Art Thibert as inker, with Taylor Esposito replacing Carlos. These three are then replaced by Scot Eaton, Drew Geraci and Dezi Sienty respectively, with Jesus Merino as penciller and Dan Green as inker on Future’s End #16 with Carlos coming back. Four art teams, four different styles, and yet everything gels together really well. Of course, all four of Ryan Sook’s covers are beyond awesome, especially the one for issues #14 and #15, which are simply amazing.
I don’t really have any criticisms of the creative teams, other than the fact that there are occasionally some discrepancies in the characters from one issue to another, and I would have liked for that to not have been the case. Sometimes even within an issue there can be discrepancies and that kind of takes the wind out of the sails. But by and large, the artwork is pretty damn good.
A new issue is coming out today, and I’m very excited for it since I’m hoping that some of the recent cliffhangers are addressed here, such as the one with Lois Lane and Superman.