Future’s End #23-24 (Comics Review)

Though Future’s End has been one of my favourite series of this year, some of the recent decisions story-wise have made me feel as if the writers are more intent on just prolonging the inevitable and also because the long run is kind of taking its toll on me. Except for an odd title here and there, especially Future’s End #22, the title has been great, but I think some cracks are beginning to show and I would love it if the writers got the series back on track with characters who’ve been missing for a while, and for the “proper” storylines to come back to the fore.

In Future’s End #23 and #24 we see the tale of the survivors of Stormwatch and the reluctant recruits of SHADE as they continue to battle against the power of Brainiac and his legions of robots. We also see, at the same time, the troubles that Tim Draka is having in his love life and how Madison is struggling to get over his past as a Teen Titan, a dead one no less. And in the midst of this we also get to touch base with some characters we haven’t seen in a while, like Fury, Scott Free, Constantine and Superman in some really amazing sequences, both in terms of the story and the art.

Recently we got to find out the “truth” behind the future of Future’s End when Connor Hawke, Red Arrow from Earth 2, and Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow of Earth Prime explained to Big Barda and some of the other heroes just what the hell had been going on in Earth Prime since the war with Apokolips and Earth 2 some years back, and why Oliver faked his own death. Following death, we are now touching base with a lot of heroes, both in space and on Earth as the story ramps forward and even get to take a side-tour into the future thirty-five years from the present timeline where Michael Holt is the sole surviving superhero in a world ruled by Brother Eye.

Though the nature of this series is quite cyclical in that certain characters disappear for a while and don’t show up until much later, and it all rotates to one degree or another, in Future’s End #23 and #24 we get some solid progression of the story where characters like Atom, Hawkman, Engineer, Amethyst, Frankenstein, Tim Drake, Constantine, Superman, and Future-Michael Holt are concerned. It is all an intricate web of stories and I think that after the negative blimp of Future’s End #22, the series is getting back on track with some back-to-back stories.

And, the best thing of all was when we saw some nice bonding moments between Scott Free aka Mister Miracle and Fury, Wonder Woman’s daughter, both from Earth 2 who have been kept imprisoned on Cadmus Island for several years now, since the end of the war. Fury is a character I’ve become quite interested in thanks to James Robinson’s run on Earth 2 and in Future’s End #24 we see some great scenes with her and Scott. They are characters who haven’t made a presence in the series for a good while now, especially Fury, and it is nice to see them back.

Most importantly though, given everything that has happened with Superman of late in the series, and in the Future’s End: Action Comics #1 one-shot from last month, we are finally getting to see the old side of the Man of Steel. Him and Constantine have been missing for a good long while, waiting their turn in the rotation, so it has been a somewhat frustrating wait, but they are back now, and things are looking on the up and up. If there’s any real false note in either issue, it is Constantine’s reaction to the parasitic villain who has been a background villain for a while now, mysterious and creepy. I just didn’t buy Constantine’s reactions and thought it was all a rather dull moment for someone like him.

Aaron Lopresti, Art Thibert, Hi-Fi, Taylor Esposito and Ryan Sook are the art team on Future’s End #23, with Jesus Merino and Dan Green replacing the first two as artist and inker respectively. At this point in the series, all the artists are punching above their weight, quite significantly so, and there isn’t a bad moment in either issue, visuals wise. The action with Brainiac and Stormwatch is grand in scope, and the scenes with Fury and Scott Free look incredibly real, thanks to the beating they’ve taken recently. And poor Tim and Madison, their expressions around each other speak volumes about how they feel about each other and the artists certainly get these two right.

Let’s hope this resurgent goodness continues!

Rating: 8.5/10

More Future’s End#0-1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13-16, #17-20, #21, #22.

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