Ah, the smell of another Weekly Weeklies. Time for some more fun with our two books.
This week, Dustin Nguyen is back on artwork while Ray Fawkes takes lead writing duties in Batman Eternal #15.
Over in Futures End #11, the future Justice League needs to have a little talk with former Firestorm member, Raymond. All of this and more in these stories, so let’s not waste any more time and get into it.
WARNING: Spoilers Below
Batman Eternal #15
Lead Writer: Ray Fawkes
Corresponding Writers: Scott Snyder, John Layman, Tim Seeley and James Tynion IV
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Batwing and Jim Corrigan enter Arkham Asylum to find out what the dark magic is that Corrigan has been sensing coming out of the place. A simple look around and it’s discovered the place is in shambles on the inside, guards are dead, and the patients are an absolute wreck (well besides Magpie just hanging out behind the secretary desk). What caused this devastation?
As they approach Tokyo, Red Robin confronts Harper Row about her stowing away onboard his plane. She wants to help, especially since the Sergei individual caused her brother to be hospitalized, and she has a costume and everything. Tim refuses and locks her up in his plane as he takes off.
Batwing and Corrigan continue searching Arkham, discovering a mysterious code and blood funneling up from the floor and into the ceiling inside of Scarecrow’s room. The two of them head further below and discover that the blood is coming from Scarecrow himself, whose slowly being drained as he is suspended in the air by some unknown force. Corrigan recognizes what this is (something called the Pylon) and then they are both attacked by some strange zombie looking creatures.
Jason Bard continues cleaning up the streets with the police, trying to work by the book more so than usual. Batman compliments him on his fine work and the two shake hands (this doesn’t match up with last issue though strangely enough).
As Batwing and Corrigan fight off the creatures, Batwing calls out for him to change into the Spectre to fight them off, but he can’t or won’t for some reason. As such, Batwing is dragged through the floors by the monstrosities.
In Rio De Janeiro, Batgirl and Red Hood locate Dr. Mangaravite to figure out who he performed surgery on; however, Batwoman is surprisingly already there and beating the guy up for information, since the guy’s boss has connections to the Crime Bible and stolen technology that the DEO was looking for.
Batwing is dragged hundreds of feet below the Aslyum and dropped to the ground with a severely damaged suit. As he tries to get up, the Joker’s Daughter confronts him. Meanwhile, Corrigan is dragged away by the monsters to their boss/leader, someone called Mister Bygone. He has some very special plans for him.
The thing about the past two arcs by John Layman and then James Tynion IV was that the story had a lot more focus; they had a main storyline going on with some minor plotlines building up as well (such as Stephanie Brown or Julia Pennyworth). This issue was like that as well, but some of the transitions between scenes felt awkward and not well handled; as a result the story felt more jumbled and trying to do too much at once — coincidentally how Futures End feels at points.
That being said, outside of the two pages with Bard, the stories presented here are pretty good. The main focus, or at least the storyline that advanced the most this issue, was with Batwing and Jim Corrigan investigating what’s going on in Arkham Asylum. It’s a very good story and interplay between them is excellent. Really helping along with it is Dustin Nguyen’s artwork, who absolutely nails the creepiness and horror tone going on in this storyline, while also getting fun and more superhero-y stuff going on with the rest the cast. It really is a good looking issue and I’m glad he’ll be doing the next two issues.
Well, I got this mask from a dude named Grifter. He said there was a mistake with his laundry and he didn’t want it anymore.
Futures End #11
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, and Keith Giffen
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Grifter has been missing for several weeks now and his associate Justin has been wondering where the hell he disappeared to. Tired of waiting, he leaves the safe house (after killing the evil alien they’ve been holding hostage for awhile) and shacks up at Voodoo’s place for the time being. Meanwhile, the S.H.A.D.E. team, minus Dr. Palmer, goes to investigate the mysterious Stormwatch beacon that Hawkman heard from. Is it another fellow survivor of Stormwatch or something far worse?
According to Princess Amethyst, Gemworld was taken over by a powerful mystic who used the invasion a couple of years ago as a cover. She was unfortunately, unable to stop anything. As she relays this story to Frankenstein, their ship loses power as they approach the planet where the signal was coming from and crash land there.
Mr. Terrific is interviewed by a major news station about Batman Beyond breaking into his business and wants the public to help locate him so that he doesn’t steal the uSphere technology. However, Mr. Terrific’s real reason is that believes he is a threat after examining that cyborg and realizing how dangerous that technology is.
Somewhere in the Madagascar Sea, a freight ship encounters a small sailing vessel that has that Red Tornado looking android from issue #8 on it. The android jumps abroad and starts slaughtering the entire crew.
At the Justice League Defense Station Omega, the JL brings Raymond aboard the station to finally confront him head on about his behavior. He tells him how he is tired of being Firestorm and how much it has cost him in the past. It ultimately ends with both him and also Jason saying that Firestorm is finished and that the Justice League should find a replacement for him.
During the Firestorm scene, Cyborg actually suggests that Zatanna should try mind-wiping him to help him forget the past, which Flash says is an awful idea. He’s pretty much right, since that sort of crap resulted in Identity Crisis in the previous universe.
Just when I think we are moving forward, the story stumbles around with little direction and very little forward movement at all. I’ve heard some complaints that Batman Eternal is beginning to suffer from the same problem and maybe some storylines aren’t moving as quickly as others (I mean, we just finally got back to that Arkham Aslyum storyline), but here’s the thing: Batman Eternal has something that Futures End lacks and that’s excitement (also the storylines often feel like they are going somewhere). Futures End has a lot of intrigue, which continues here to various effect, but that’s not enough.
The biggest thing with this issue is following up on the Firestorm fallout and getting to see Raymond continue to be a douche about everything. The story attempts to give Raymond some more depth with his past pain, but he continues to be an unlikeable and irritating jackass. The other storylines manage to have more depth to them with their characters, but they get less panel time in comparison. Other than the artwork for the issue, which was done by the artist who did that Joker’s Daughter issue from last year (what a “wonderful” surprise) and was just plain as hell, there’s nothing else to say. Just so mediocre and disappointing. I’m just really hoping this all ultimately comes together in the end.
Oh hello Voodoo. Which rock did DC pull you out from under?