Welcome to another edition of Weekly Weeklies. This week we see John Layman’s final arc begin with Batman Eternal #8 and we continue to meander around with different heroes in Futures End #4. Let’s take a look:
WARNING: Spoilers Below
Batman Eternal #8
Lead Writer: John Layman
Corresponding Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Tim Seeley, and Ray Fawkes
Artist: Guillem March
After the sinking of the Iceberg Lounge, Batman declares his own war on Falcone, breaking up several of his operations and businesses. This only makes Falcone angrier and want to show Batman who’s really in charge of Gotham now.
Falcone has Comissioner Forbes set up a trap for Batman. The trap is to basically lure Batman to the police department’s rooftop by using the Bat-Signal to get his attention and then have several of the police officers gun him down.
Batman falls for the very obvious trap, but he has an ally on his side. Jason Bard causes a distraction that allows Batman to slip away, getting a little nod of approval from the hero. Forbes is pissed about this and suspects Bard, but has no evidence. In response to this failed operations, Forbes destroyed the Bat-Signal.
Stephanie Brown is still waiting on her mom to pick her up and take her to safety, but what she doesn’t realize is that her mom is on the side of her father, Cluemaster. Stephanie barely survives a drive-by hit at the payphone where she was calling from.
During the course of Batman’s investigation into Falcone, he discovers where Falcone has been building a large criminal empire: Hong Kong. Batman leaves town and heads there to see what damage he can cause. As he arrives, however, a mysterious woman in a spy outfit and British accent, spots his arrival and wonders what he is up to.
Happily, this issue manages to keep the momentum and excitement that was built up from last issue.
Even though the gang war may be wrapping up, the excitement remains high as Batman fights back against Falcone; it’s mostly in splash pages, but the effect is still there and the intrigue from other storylines only grows. We didn’t get to see any of the other Bat-Family members this time around, but Batman is easily able to carry the weight and displayed tons of great moments that make the issue a joy to read. Plus, the potential from the cliffhanger and the fact that it’ll be immediately followed up next time makes the anticipation that much easier to deal with.
The writing here is still great with the book shifting back to Layman. The characterization, plot points and dialogue are well done and feel natural. Again, the cliffhanger is pretty good and where the story will go next is exciting. Maybe I would have liked to see more follow-up with the other stories that have been building, such a what’s up with Gordon in prison or the nanobot virus, but the story is fine as is. However, one of the best things about the issue is the artwork from Guillem March, who delivers some fantastic looking work on the book. The action is spectacular, the characters look great and have a good range of emotion (especially with Batman), and the coloring is impressive. Another winner for this series.
And this is why I like Harvey Bullock. Doesn’t put with crap.
Futures End #4
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, and Keith Giffen
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Frankenstein breaks into S.H.A.D.E. and demands to know from Father Time (still a Japanese schoolgirl) what the hell was going on with them spying on him. There, he meets the newest member of S.H.A.D.E., Princess Amaya of Gemworld, who looks like she’s been through hell. Lois Lane continues her investigation into a mysterious man who was supposed to have died years ago and Grifter continues to be Grifter.
Father Time wants Frankenstein and Amaya to team up with Dr. Palmer to investigate the recent destruction and slaughter of Stormwatch and figure out what exactly happened. Frankenstein isn’t exactly interested at first, but once he finds out that Nina Mazursky, an old teammate and flame of his, was aboard the ship when it blew up, he joins up for this final mission.
Without a doubt, the mysterious man Lois Lane has investigated is Tim Drake, who has broken away from the superhero world for some reason. Lane decides to find a time to talk to him about it personally.
Former villain named Coil is recruited by villains Plastique (seems like she went under a drastic change in these five years) and Key to help them break into Terrifitech to steal something that could be the greatest score of all times. Coil is adamant about it at first, but he needs the money for his family and to help go straight.
After Grifter finishes up another job, he is contacted by an alien he has been tracking, Faraday. Faraday paralyzes him and tells him he has a special job that needs doing, one that will require Grifter’s special abilities. If he doesn’t agree, he has a way of setting up Grifter as serial killer, making all of those alien killings he has been doing come back on him and make it so it looks like he has been killing humans. D’oh.
Like with the last few issues, we are still in the set up phase of the comic. It finally looks like this issue has all the players in their right spots and tons of interesting challenges before them now. At this point, this is still a very slow going comic. Not a badly written comic mind you, but a slow comic that makes you really want it to pick up the pace. With the first month in the wrapper now, it’s hard not to compare this title to Batman Eternal; that was a weekly comic that was able to make its first entire month incredibly entertaining, fast paced, and exciting while getting almost everything set up. I wish this comic could do that.
Admittedly, the comic is better than last week’s issue on the account of the fact that there seems to be some interesting things going on or about to get going. The potential is higher than before and these storylines that are being buildup or created are intriguing. I wanna see this Frankenstein and Amaya team up, what’s going to happen with Grifter, and what Batman Beyond’s plan is now. The writing is still perfectly fine, the mysteries for what happened between now and then are good, and the artwork is decent (better than the last two issues at least). It just needs to get more exciting and get going, then the book can really soar.
It also has undead bird assassins, nanobot diseases, drugs that give you super power highs, and once was threaten by a woman wearing Lord Deathman’s masks and her army of brainwashed children. Yeah, Gotham is one of those places to avoid.