This week’s issue of FUTURES END introduces two new characters to the series, who appear to be forming an unexpected alliance. I won’t spoil the characters’ identities in this review but I will say that these are two characters that have had very little exposure in the New 52 thus far. Fans of the series will likely be left anxious for next week’s issue, though there are plenty of developments this week to keep any reader satisfied.
While there aren’t as many cliffhangers as last week, this week’s issue continues the trend of introducing new mysteries, at the end of a particular scene. The best example of this would be from Frankenstein’s storyline, as a distress call comes in from Stormwatch even though the entire team should be dead. It’s nice to this troupe, which is commonly associated with horror movies, applied to this storyline’s sci-fi setting. It helps keep the book feeling fresh and exciting, while moving the plot forward.
Writers Brian Azzarello, Keith Gifen, Dan Jurgens, and Jeff Lemire really seem be hitting their stride now with the pacing of these issues. Previous issues had felt slow and uneventful while these recent issues appear to be picking up the slack. It’s nice to see Batman Beyond being proactive with his plans to break into Terrifitech instead of pretending to be homeless for 4 issues. Pacing isn’t the only improvement however. While earlier issues seemed to continually introduce new questions with no answers, recent issues have began to achieve a balance between solving old mysteries and introducing new ones. This balance has elevated Grifter’s storyline to new heights after its dull beginning. This issue introduces a new mysterious threat into Cole Cash’s life, right after last week’s shocking reveal about Cadmus Island. This technique seems to be a great way move the plot forward while also keeping the reader’s interest. Hopefully the writers can learn from this and apply the same principles to other weakening story lines.
The segment of the story that took place in Metropolis felt forced and unnecessary. In previous issues Superman has seemed like a dark and ominous figure. In this issue however, he appears almost dimwitted. The change in demeanor and lack of any significant development definitely make this the low point of the issue. The dialogue Superman uses makes me think that the person under the mask isn’t Clark Kent at all but someone younger. Starting a sentence with “like” and saying “see ya” are tendencies more commonly associated with a younger conversationalist. This makes me believe that Val-Zod could be under the mask since he wasn’t seen in the Cadmus Island prison, last issue.
Artist Aaron Lopresti has a habit of leaving the background out of some panels. While this can help break up a cluttered page, it occasionally makes things confusing for the reader. This is a small nitpick that will probably go unnoticed by most, however.
Overall this was another great issue. It contained all of the great things we’ve come to expect from the series with only a few minor drawbacks. New Characters are introduced and old characters continue to move their plots forward. While there’s very little to complain about, I’m still waiting for that big moment that will push this series past its 4 star average.