Monday, September 21, 2015

Justice League #40


Darkseid War Prologue

Geoff Johns Writer
Kevin Maguire Artist, pages 1-9
Phil Jimenez Artist, pages 10-11
Dan Jurgens Penciller, pages 12-13
Jerry Ordway Pencils and inks, pages 12-13
Scott Kolins Pencils and inks, pages 12-13
Jason Fabok Artist, pages 14-15
Jim Lee Penciller, pages 16-22
Scott Williams Inker, pages 16-22
Brad Anderson Colorist, pages 1-15
Alex Sinclair Colorist, pages 16-22
Rob Leigh Letterer
Jason Fabok & Brad Anderson Cover
Emanuela Lupacchino Movie Poster Variant Cover
Amedeo Turturro Assistant Editor
Brian Cunningham Group Editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.
The New Gods created by Jack Kirby.

So here it is. What I consider to be the formal sendoff of the New 52. And it all starts with a pretty cool cover that is half Darkseid/half Anti-Monitor. The only complaint I have is that the left side is not immediately obvious that it's the Anti-Monitor. You just kind of half to know it's him. We did see the New 52 version of the Anti-Monitor very briefly at the end of Forever Evil, but that's not really going to help people identify him here.



My local comic shop gave me the movie variant, which is based off Magic Mike. I've never seen the film, but I heard it's about male strippers, which makes this cover a little awkward for me. I guess it's a good adaptation, but the idea of the Justice League men stripping is just ... uncomfortable.

Our story begins with Metron the new god waxing poetically about the nature of the universe. He comes to Earth and witnesses a man attempt to become a superhero. The man's name is Wilson Morgan, and two weeks ago, he became one of the few individuals from the Amazo Virus crisis to retain his powers. Wilson tries to use his electrical abilities to save his neighbor's daughter, but he was promptly gunned down by the kidnappers.

Metron's occupation is to observe and watch everything, but never interfere. However, he has interfered several times, including once, years ago, to forge a treaty between New Genesis and Apokolips. Metron suggested Darkseid and Highfather exchange sons — Orion and Scot (who would become Mr. Miracle).

Metron's memories take him to the first time he saw reality truly threatened. The Anti-Monitor nearly destroyed everything, but was stopped in the event called Crisis on Infinite Earths (during which the original Barry Allen sacrificed himself to save the day). The next big threat was called Zero Hour, caused by Hal Jordan possessed by Parallax. The next event, Infinite Crisis, brought back the multiverse, thanks to alternate versions of Superboy and Lex Luthor. And most recently, reality was remade during Flashpoint, which was caused when Barry Allen attempted to travel back in time and prevent Eobard Thawne from killing his mother. The result of that adventure created the New 52.


Metron ends his trip down memory lane and visits the Anti-Monitor on Earth 3, from which the Crime Syndicate escaped. Metron reveals that the Anti-Monitor's real name is Mobius, and he once sat on the all-powerful chair that Metron now controls. Metron begs Mobius to reconsider his latest plans to destroy the universe, saying reality can't survive another crisis. Metron says as they speak, Brainiac is preparing a Convergence of timelines.

Mobius doesn't care, saying he's only interested in being restored to what he once was, and he knows Metron lacks the power to make that possible. Metron warns Mobius that the wrath of Darkseid will befall him. But Mobius likes that idea, saying the death of Darkseid is the key to it all. Metron is then suddenly attacked from behind by a woman who vows to help Mobius kill her father, Darkseid.

The Good:

Fun overview of the crises. This issue tried to do quite bit. It wanted to follow up on a dangling thread from the Amazo Virus, set things up for the Darkseid War, and, more immediately, Convergence. And on a whole, the issue did a fairly decent job juggling all these tasks. The highlight for me was the brief, yet sufficient look at the previous major reality-altering events. This was one instance where a large cast of artists was used effectively. Each event dealt with a different reality, justifying the different artistic styles for each one. And the artists who worked on this issue are some of the biggest names at DC, delivering quality work as always.

The Bad:

Little to no Flash. Scott Kolins did feature the Flash prominently in the Flashpoint segment, awkwardly butting heads with Reverse-Flash. And Jim Lee did sneak Flash into the background of the Darkseid Invasion. But that was all the Flash we saw in this issue. I don't blame this issue for not including more Flash — that's not the story it's telling — but it is worth noting that Grant Morrison's Multiversity had a similar recap of the crises, and said the Flash was "always there at the electric heart of every momentous transformation." As much as I loved Multiversity, I will not review it on this blog, as it was not part of The New 52.

Final score: 5 out of 10

After this issue, DC dropped that "The New 52!" logo from all their books and launched the Convergence miniseries, which led directly into Divergence. Very little changed, as far as I can tell, with the exception of DC feeling more free to print wild and goofy titles such as Bat-Mite and Bizarro. Instead of attempting to keep 52 titles in the mainstream continuity, DC has slashed that number down to 24 (and maybe even less than that by now). But these changes are big enough for me to finally, fully justify closing this blog once and for all. Of course, my decision is influenced greatly by my extreme dissatisfaction with the current creative team on The Flash.

This isn't goodbye forever. I still hope to do a complete, final reading order and possibly some profile pages and/or timelines. For what it's worth, of the 159 issues I reviewed on this blog, the average score is 5.15, which I think is right about where it should be. I gave seven issues a perfect score of 10 out of 10 (The Flash #0, 7, 9, 12, 17, 23 and 24). Only one issue got a zero, DC Universe Presents #0. The worst score for an issue of The Flash was #40, which earned one point.

So, anyway, hopefully I'll see you again some time! In the meantime, I encourage you to check out my other blog based on a speedster, BartAllenImpulse.blogspot.com.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Futures End #48


Writers
• Brian Azzarello
• Jeff Lemire
• Dan Jurgens
• Keith Giffen
Pencillers
• Allan Goldman
• Freddie Williams II
• Andy MacDonald
• Stephen Thompson
Inkers
• Scott Hanna
• Freddie Williams II
•Andy MacDonald
• Stephen Thompson
Colors
• Hi-Fi
Letters
• Tom Napolitano
Covers
• Ryan Sook
Assistant Editor
• David Piña
Editor
• Joey Cavalieri
Group Editor
• Matt Idelson
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.

The final cover for this series is the most haunting. Brother Eye's red logo glows ominously in the darkness, implying that the most powerful villain of this yearlong story remains triumphant at the end. And as we'll see, that is exactly what happens.

For the first time in this series, I feel like I've missed something significant by skipping a few issues. To recap, this story began approximately in the year 2047 (according to my timeline), with Brother Eye controlling the world and wiping out the last few remaining heroes one by one. Batman sent his latest protégé, Terry McGinnis, back in time to prevent Brother Eye from ever being activated. But Terry only went 30 years back instead of the necessary 35 years. We didn't see much of Terry in our cursory glance through this series, but in issue #44, we did see him team up with Tim Drake, the former Robin. So apparently, Terry and Tim thought they destroyed Brother Eye, and something happened that required Tim to put on Terry's suit and travel to Terry's time of 2047. And that is where our story begins.

Tim finds himself in a beautiful garden, decorated with giant statues of all of Earth's major superheroes, including the Flash. But Tim quickly learns that he's in a hologram created by Mr. Terrific. Somehow, Tim and Terry failed, and Brother Eye still controls the world, which is in ruins. And since Brother Eye considers Mr. Terrific his father, he has not assimilated him, but keeps him imprisoned, constantly looking for his approval. Tim doesn't have long to come to terms with the reality of the situation and his failure in the past before Brother Eye sends some robotic heroes to assimilate him, including the Flash and Captain Cold.


Luckily, Tim and Mr. Terrific are rescued by a group of mystery fighters, led by the Atom. He takes them to some secret underground tunnels to avoid Brother Eye's detection, and Tim learns that one of the fighters is old girlfriend, who's now 30 years older than him. But he still loves her. Atom then gives the worst non-explanation for why the future didn't change: "Drake changed the timeline and altered events around him — but Terrifitech was a constant that survived, protected by the Eye." Tim is shown how Brother Eye has thoroughly and completely won, but he refuses to accept that, and optimistically vows to keep fighting.

The Good:

Hmm ... well ... I guess I'm glad the robot Flash wasn't a stupid spider-thing. But that really is the only positive I can glean from this disappointment of an issue.

The Bad:

Little to no Flash. This is a Flash blog, and any issue that reduces the Flash to a statue and an evil robot needs to be docked a point.

Non-ending ending. This is the final issue of a weekly series that lasted an entire year. It seemed like everything was building toward a grand conclusion. But instead, it built toward this strange new reality with Tim Drake as Batman in a horrible dystopian future. DC did launch a new Batman Beyond title after this that takes place in this world, but who would that really appeal to? Fans of Batman Beyond would surely want to see Terry McGinnis, right? And which fans of Tim Drake would want to see an older version of himself flung further in the future? I don't get it.

Nothing matters. The whole conceit of this series presented a concept and a string of stories that simply do not matter. Everything takes place in an alternate future to begin with, meaning that nothing that happened in this series can affect what's happening in the current continuity. And this issue further compounded the problem by showing that no matter what anyone did in any of these issues, Brother Eye still won in the end. And that was the whole point of the series. Who cares that Superman saved New York from Brainiac, or that Martian Manhunter kept Captain Atom imprisoned on Mars? Brother Eye still wins and kills everybody. The only element of this series that was mildly intriguing (from a current continuity standpoint) was the constant references and hints to a big war that happened five years ago. But even this element was weakened by the incredibly vague references to the war, and the constant assertions that what was currently happening was worse than anything they saw during the war. So you're not going to tell me anything about this war, except for the fact that Brainiac lifting New York into the sky was worse than that war. Why should I get excited for it?

Final score: 2 out of 10

Next time will be my final review on this blog. I will cover what I consider to be the official sendoff of The New 52, Justice League #40.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Futures End #44


Writers
• Brian Azzarello
• Jeff Lemire
• Dan Jurgens
• Keith Giffen
Artists
• Patrick Zircher
• Andy MacDonald
Colors
• Hi-Fi
Letters
• Corey Breen
Cover
• Ryan Sook
Assistant Editor
• David Piña
Editor
• Joey Cavalieri
Group Editor
• Matt Idelson
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.

Once again, we get another stellar cover by Sook. Superman is holding New York City on his shoulders, which is exactly what happens in this issue. I love the colors and the emotion. Say what you want to about Futures End, but at least it had good covers.

Even though we skipped a few issues, it doesn't seem like we missed much. Brainiac is still lifting New York high into the sky, and the entire Justice League is trying to stop him. Well, actually most of the heroes are trying to protect people from collapsing buildings, which is all the Flash does in this issue.


And that's all we see of him in this issue. So here are the rest of the highlights: Terry McGinnis, the Batman from the future, teams up with Tim Drake, the former Robin. But Terry was actually too late to stop Brother Eye, since Batman, Mr. Terrific and the Atom activated the unbelievably super-powerful computer to take down Brainiac's defenses. Atom then shrinks down Brainiac and imprisons him in a small ball, while Superman catches the falling city.

The Good:

Well, I guess it was nice to see how and why Brother Eye was activated. Superman catching the city was interesting and exciting, but not particularly original. And the fight with Brainiac could have been a lot better if more heroes were involved. There were a whole bunch of them here, but just like the Flash, all they did was protect random citizens from falling debris.

The Bad:

Little to no Flash. Futures End was a weekly series written and drawn by a committee. From issue to issue, you never knew how the art was going to be, or who the story would focus on. But there were two things you could always count on: A solid cover by Ryan Sook, and the Flash to be undervalued. At least we didn't see Flash get his butt kicked by some random villain this time, but all we saw him do was save one guy out of a falling building. There is so much more he can do, but none of these writers were interested in exploring that.

Redundant action. When the New 52 started, Grant Morrison took over Action Comics, which featured an early version of Superman wearing jeans and a T-shirt. His first major adventure was saving Metropolis from Brainiac. This issue presented the exact same scenario, and nobody mentioned it. There was a lot of references to Superman's role in the unseen war five years ago, but not a single person remembered Superman and Brainiac doing the exact. Same. Thing. Eleven years ago. If you're going to repeat the past (that's in the same continuity), then you should at least mention it.

Final score: 3 out of 10

Next time, we'll wrap up this futuristic nonsense with Futures End #48.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Futures End #40


Writers
• Brian Azzarello
• Jeff Lemire
• Dan Jurgens
• Keith Giffen
Artist
• Patrick Zircher
Colors
• Hi-Fi
Letters
• Corey Breen
Cover
• Ryan Sook
Assistant Editor
• David Piña
Editor
• Joey Cavalieri
Group Editor
• Matt Idelson
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.

One of the few positives for this Futures End series has been the Ryan Sook covers. I think all of them have been pretty solid and detailed. This issue's cover shows a gigantic Brainiac robot wreaking havoc, and it looks really good. That's about all I can say about it. It looks good, so let's get on with the story and find out what's happening.

As with all these issues, there's a lot going on that doesn't involve the Flash, so I'll just skip ahead to the small parts that do include him. We're 22,300 miles above Earth, and Flash has been summoned to a Justice League meeting. Cyborg and Wonder Woman are the only other founding members present — the rest are a bunch of randoms we don't care about. Cyborg reports that their deep space monitor system is going nuts, but he can't find anything out of the ordinary. This makes Flash complain about going to all the trouble of teleporting up there for a false alarm.


Before too long, the Justice League encounter the remaining members of Stormwatch — the Atom, Hawkman, and a robot named Engineer. Flash asks Ray Palmer if he triggered their alert, but Atom says it was Brainiac. The Atom tries to explain more about Brainiac, but Engineer becomes possessed and attacks her teammates. She delivers an ominous message to the Justice League: "He is here, and you will be the first witnesses to his coming ..."

Strange objects start raining on New York City, causing widespread destruction and pandemonium. Engineer leaves the Stormwatch ship to join her new master, and the Justice League saves Atom and Hawkman. Wonder Woman alerts Cyborg to the destruction in Manhattan, and he sends her and Flash down to deal with it. The masked Superman (who's really Captain Marvel in disguise) also wants to go to New York, but Cyborg tells him and the new female Firestorm to stay behind and guard Dr. Polaris. Cyborg then takes Hawkman and Atom out to chase after Engineer and try to stop Brainiac up in space.

From the satellite, Firestorm can see that Brainiac is literally trying to cut Manhattan off from the rest of the world. A large force field envelopes the whole city, and Brainiac's spheres form the giant robot we saw on the cover. Meanwhile, the real Superman is flying in to save the day.

The Good:

Well, I guess it's nice to have something big happening. Of course, Brainiac trying to steal a city is nothing original. We've already seen him do it once before in the New 52 (during Grant Morrison's run on Action Comics). And since I have read so few of these issues, there's a lot of stuff here that means nothing to me.

The Bad:

Rather petty Flash. Oh, poor Flash! You had to teleport all the way up to the Watchtower! Geez. I really hate this watered-down version of the Flash. All he did in this issue was complain and ask one question. He was sent to New York to battle Brainiac, but we didn't get to see any of that. Also, how on Earth is Cyborg giving orders to Flash and Wonder Woman?

Final score: 4 out of 10

Next time, we'll skip ahead to Futures End #44.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Justice League: Futures End #1


Home World: Part 2 of 2

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Jed Dougherty
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover: Mike McKone with Eltaeb
Editor: Rickey Purdin
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.

Continuing our 3-D cover series, or rather concluding it, is an image of the Justice League of the future, contrasted with the Justice League of the present.


I find it interesting that Cyborg and the Flash are the only two constants. It makes me happy to see Flash having the integrity and loyalty to keep working with the League, even though most of the original members have been replaced by completely worthless nobodies. And I'm serious about that nobody part. If you don't recognize those guys on the cover, don't worry about it. They don't matter.

Our story picks right up where we left off with the prison revolt on Mars. Mongul has the Flash in his clutches, and Captain Atom has been revealed as the mastermind behind this attempted escape.


The heroes tell Captain Atom he can't leave, because he apparently killed millions of people two years. Atom tries to explain that he only did that to save billions of lives, but they don't care. Gorilla Grodd, who has telepathically subdued Martian Manhunter, reminds Captain Atom that their deal was to free all the villains. So Captain Atom breaks out of the prison by simply growing to a hundred feet tall and smashing out of the building.

Seeing Captain Atom out in the open, Mongul tells him that he's changed his mind. Mongul intends to be the only prisoner to escape. And why shouldn't he be so bold? He just single-handedly wasted the Justice League. Captain Atom does not take this betrayal lightly, and he blasts Mongul, possibly killing him. Flash asks Cyborg what they should do, and Cyborg says they keep fighting, no matter what.

Cyborg tries to reason with Captain Atom ... while also blasting him in the chest. Flash says Captain Atom may be beyond reason, and he somehow runs up Captain Atom's body to try to punch him in the chin. But Captain Atom mocks Flash, telling him he's out of his depth, and bends space and time on a quantum level to grasp Flash in his hand before he even moves. Atom then constantly manipulates the Speed Force molecules around Flash to paralyze him. Captain Atom continues to easily fight off the Justice League, all while demanding to have the force field surrounding Mars be lowered.

Back inside the prison, the other heroes ask Grodd how he could team up with Captain Atom. Grodd says it was a better alternative to being abandoned on Mars and mentally controlled by Martian Manhunter, which, according to him, was a fate worse than death. But after years of persistence, Grodd was finally able to break the Manhunter's control. But as Grodd fights these random heroes, the inexplicably powerful Equinox manages to freeze Grodd's head (possibly killing him?). With Grodd out of the picture, Martian Manhunter is able to slowly regain his senses.

Above, the fight continues, and Captain Atom is joined by even more prisoners. Flash takes on Count Vertigo, and is soundly defeated. One of the random heroes, Vostok, points out to Cyborg that Flash needs assistance, and Flash says, "I think I'm going to speed hurl." So Cyborg blasts Vertigo to save the fastest, yet suddenly weakest, man in the world.

Seeing that all his allies have fallen, including Grodd, Captain Atom decides on another tactic. He announced he will self-destruct, destroying Mars and everyone on it in order to destroy the force field. Atom doesn't fear death, since he knows his atoms will eventually find one another. But before Captain Atom can blow himself up, Martian Manhunter regains control of the situation. For some reason, he disguised himself as Equinox (to apparently distract Captain Atom), and then he places the former hero in a telepathic illusion of his childhood home in Clyde, Maine, where Captain Atom is human again.

With Captain Atom in a blissful trance, he returns to his normal size. Cyborg points out the destroyed prison, but Martian Manhunter says it can be rebuilt. Equinox suggests Martian Manhunter come home with them, but he says he is home, and the prisoners need him.

The Good:

I liked the idea of this prison, how the revolt came to be, and Captain Atom's role in it. But nothing was developed enough for me. As soon as the story got going, it ended. And each confrontation was very one-sided, making all the fighting extremely brief. This two-part story was really too big for just two parts. To fully explore the intricacies between Martian Manhunter, Gorilla Grodd and Captain Atom, this story really could have used five or six issues.

The Bad:

Pathetic Flash. This is the weakest, most worthless version of the Flash I have ever scene. In this issue, he is soundly, and immediately defeated by three separate villains. He does nothing of value or creative with his powers, doesn't say anything significant, and ultimately only serves a hindrance to the Justice League. He drops some stupid, out-of-place lines, and constantly looks to Cyborg for advice. Are we sure this is the same Barry Allen who's been operating as the Flash for the past 11 years? Because this worthless little loser sure feels like a rookie superhero wannabe.

Troubling Grodd. Have you ever read a comic that included Batman and Scarecrow, but the two of them never appear on the same page or even acknowledge each other? Of course you haven't! So why did that just happen to Flash and Grodd? If you're going to go to all the trouble of bringing Flash to Mars to stop a revolt largely orchestrated by Grodd, then you had better make sure we at least get a brief interaction between these two rivals. Omitting this confrontation is simply unacceptable. As for the other aspects of Grodd in this issue, I'm kind of torn on. And I think the biggest problem results from the uncertainty of Grodd's powers in the New 52. Does he or does he not have super speed? It depends on who's writing the story and what they want Grodd to do. The incredible inconsistency of the character is troubling, especially since he's one of the Flash's main villains.

Frustrating format. When I took my sabbatical from The Flash, I added Justice League to my pull list to keep an eye on the New 52. This issue interrupted an already delayed and slow-moving story about Lex Luthor joining the Justice League. So instead of getting something about Luthor, Captain Cold and Shazam, I got this completely random story from five years in the future that only includes Cyborg and Flash. And to make matters worse, this was the second part of a two-part story, but nowhere in this issue does it tell me where to find the first part. A simple, small editor's note would have helped tremendously. And although there are some interesting ideas being tossed around in this Futures End storyline, I don't care too much about what happens since it's all taking place in an alternate future. And I especially don't like having this alternate future storyline interrupting the current narrative.

Final score: 2 out of 10

Next time, we'll jump ahead toward the end of this storyline with Futures End #40.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Justice League United: Futures End #1


Home World: Part 1 of 2

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Jed Dougherty
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Cover: Mike McKone with Eltaeb
Editor: Rickey Purdin
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Supergirl based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.

In September 2014, all New 52 titles took a break from their regular stories to jump ahead five years in the future. All these Futures End tie-ins also came with 3-D covers that were actually a nice improvement over the 3-D covers of 2013. Of course, the digital version of these comics only give you the "future" version of each cover, but in this case, I have the physical copy and can show you the "present" version of the cover.


The effect is pretty cool, but you have to carefully, painstakingly tilt the comic at just the right degree to fully appreciate each separate image. Most of the time, you get both images at the same time, messily bleeding over each other.

The Flash plays a rather small role in this issue, so let's skip ahead to the part where he does show up, at the Fortress of Justice in New Mexico (kind of a weird place for Earth-based headquarters, but whatever). Cyborg has hastily summoned a meeting, but Flash is the only original Justice League member to show up — Wonder Woman and Superman are apparently busy elsewhere. Cyborg summoned the meeting because Equinox, the woman who's front and center in both covers, has received a telepathic distress call from Martian Manhunter at the Mars-based super-villain prison. Cyborg's tried to contact the prison, but to no avail.

One of the new members of the League is quite upset to learn about this secret prison on Mars. Flash explains that it was Martian Manhunter's idea after a particularly bad Despero attack in New York. Cyborg elaborates that Mars is abandoned, and the Justice League teamed up with Terrifitech, the Queen Foundation and S.H.A.D.E. to construct the facility, which was built with state-of-the art technology, plus is protected by a powerful force field that covers the entire planet of Mars. But the biggest security measure is the prison's warden, Martian Manhunter himself, who is telepathically keeping all the prisoners docile.

There is the smallest amount of outrage at the revelation of this unethical behavior, but everyone is mostly worried about what they should do about Martian Manhunter's distress call. Flash says Cyborg is the leader and he should make the call. Cyborg points out that none of the prison's alarms have been triggered, but the lack of response from J'onn J'onzz is enough of a reason for the team to take a trip to Mars. So they load up the Justice League battlecruiser and take the short journey to the red planet.

Flash brings up Green Arrow's recent funeral, and one of the new heroes complains about Batman's absence. Flash angrily says that Batman has his reasons for staying quiet and they should all respect that. The suddenly awkward conversation mercifully comes to an end when the spaceship arrives at Mars. After punching in the codes to pass through the force field, Cyborg lands the craft about a mile away from the gulag. Flash conducts a high-speed loop of the perimeter, and reports that it's all quiet. Cyborg actually answers with "Too quiet."

Equinox then gets another telepathic message from J'onn. He says he's being blocked by a powerful telepath, but before he can say who the leader of the prison revolt is, the link is broken. Our heroes then arrive at the front door of the prison, where they're met by Killer Frost, Mongul, Blockbuster and Mechaneer. Cyborg orders them to protect the ship, since it's the only thing that can pass through the planet's force field.


Flash takes on Mongul, but is actually caught by the super villain in a chokehold. Equinox, meanwhile, actually freezes Killer Frost, because her powers apparently are based on the current climate of Canada, which conveniently happens to be winter right now. Equinox gets inside the prison and finds Martian Manhunter, who is chained at the feet of Gorilla Grodd. J'onn tells Equinox she was tricked to come here, and Grodd reveals that the leader of the revolt is the worst killer the universe has ever known, Captain Atom.

The Good:

There are some interesting concepts here, notably the idea of a super-villain prison on Mars and Captain Atom being its top prisoner. But there wasn't enough time to fully explore these ideas. Captain Atom will obviously come into play in part two, but in this issue, I really would have liked a more thorough discussion on the ethics of such a prison existing.

The Bad:

Weakened Flash. We see these too often with the Flash in a group setting. It seems like the writer isn't sure what to do with him, so he relegates the Flash to the background and severely weakens him. The Flash just ran circles around Mongul, which did nothing, then he was promptly caught by him. How? I'm not really sure what the New 52 Mongul can do, but it feels like a bit of a stretch to have him handle the Flash so easily. I also wasn't thrilled with how Flash referred to Cyborg as the leader of the Justice League, mainly because that never came across as being the case in the other Futures End titles. If anything, Flash and Cyborg should have been co-leaders on this mission, since they were the only original members present.

Final score: 4 out of 10

Next time, we conclude this story in Justice League: Futures End #1.

Futures End #11


Writers
• Brian Azzarello
• Jeff Lemire
• Dan Jurgens
• Keith Giffen
Penciller
• Georges Jeanty
Inker
• Cam Smith
Colors
• Hi-Fi
Letters
• Taylor Esposito
Cover
• Ryan Sook
Assistant Editor
• Kyle Andrukiewicz
Editor
• Joey Cavalieri
Group Editor
• Matt Idelson
Superman created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.

Our cover is sort of a continuation of issue #2. Firestorm is now broken up into Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch, and Arsenal is still furious with Ronnie. The Justice League disapprovingly glowers in the background, but once again refuses to really do anything. I think I would like this cover a lot more if the League were all in the same proportion. It's rather odd, and almost alarming, to have the Flash be so randomly big.

This issue actually begins with a bunch of side stories that have nothing to do with the Flash, and of which I know nothing about. So we'll skip to the very end to the small part that does involve Flash.

We begin 22,3000 miles above Earth, at the Justice League Defense Station Omega (they've apparently expanded their satellite presence in the past five years). Ronnie Raymond, who was out drinking and making merry at a strip club, is suddenly teleported to the satellite. The entire Justice League is there, holding a full-blown intervention for the troublesome half of Firestorm. The heroes have even carefully rehearsed their lines.


Flash makes the point that the powerful Firestorm has the responsibility to step up. But Ronnie ignores the scripted speech, and blames Jason for organizing the intervention. But Jason says this wasn't his idea, and he doesn't want to merge with Ronnie to become Firestorm ever again. Wonder Woman urges them to reconsider, but Ronnie is still mad at Jason. Jason tells him that he hasn't told the League anything Ronnie has done.

Arsenal, who has replaced Green Arrow on the team, believes Jason is referring to Firestorm not saving Oliver Queen, and he demands an elaboration. Jason refuses to talk, telling Arsenal to ask Ronnie, which he does quite angrily. Flash reminds them all that they're trying to help bring Firestorm back. Cyborg then very randomly suggests they bring in Zatanna to mind-wipe him, a suggestion Flash immediately shuts down.

Finally, at Aquaman and Superman's urging, Ronnie tells the truth about the night Green Arrow died. Ronnie admits he ignored Jason's calls because he was busy with a girl, but he is quick to add that he "never signed up for a life of 24/7 sacrifice." He also references the great, unseen war, in which he wanted to save Pittsburgh, but was told to focus on Washington and New York instead. Ronnie then refuses all additional offers to talk, and he angrily teleports away, proclaiming that Firestorm is finished forever. Jason follows behind him, telling the League to find a replacement for them.

The Good:

The Flash was more or less back in his peace-keeping role, but this story was way too short to really appreciate this. As it stands, he just stands around and delivers three or four lines in an issue that has very little to do with him.

The Bad:

Out-of-place mind-wipe reference. I don't even know who Cyborg was referring to (Ronnie or Jason), let alone why he would jump to such a strong conclusion so quickly. This is obviously a reference to the powerful, yet controversial Identity Crisis. I loved that story, but the mind wiping did not occur without demanding provocation or without harrowing consequences. It is a dishonor to that masterpiece to refer to it so flippantly

Frustrating format. This series was written by four different people, each essentially telling a separate, disjointed story. They all share the same universe of this future timeline, and they do occasionally intersect. The problem I have, is that I don't care about three of these stories. But one of them (I'm not sure who's writing it) did catch my attention. I have enjoyed these moments with Firestorm and the Justice League. I just wish I didn't have to suffer through all that offer stuff to get to the parts I want. Rather than cramming everything together in one weekly title, DC should have created four monthly titles for the Futures End event — each with its own writer, artist, and set of characters. These separate titles could have had staggered release dates, so it was essentially a weekly, but would give the readers more flexibility in following the story. Those who wanted the weekly experience would still get that at the same price, but a whole new door would be opened up to people like me who only wanted a fourth or half of the story. By taking this all-or-nothing approach, I think DC scared away many potential readers, and shot themselves in the foot, sales-wise.

Final score: 3 out of 10

Next time, we'll check out a couple of the September event books that loosely tie in to the Futures End story, beginning with Justice League United: Futures End #1.