New 52 Futures End #1
w. Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens & Keith Giffen
a. Patrick Zircher
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
First, I enjoyed the Futures End FCBD #0, and it really got me primed for this weekly New 52 event book set 5 years in the future. Second, The cast of writers behind this book have all been prime movers in the New 52 Universe and have deep knowledge of the inner functions of the DC landscape. Third, no one does bombastic over the top comic action like Patrick Zircher (who has Giffen as a credited “Art Consultant”) and no one does better glossy, movie poster-esque style covers like Ryan Sook. What’s not to like??
Futures End is DC’s summer event book, culminating in a company wide, lenticular-cover-enhanced, crossover this September. 35 years in the future, humanity is at the brink of extinction due to Brother Eye and his OMAC virus. With most heroes forcibly converted to OMACs under his control, the surviving members put together a plan to alter the past, and prevent the rise of Brother Eye.
When the situation goes awry (see FCBD #0), Batman Beyond travels back in time to stop the apocalypse he barely escaped, but falls short of his intended time. Now he’s stuck 5 years from the current DC time, and 7 years too late to stop Brother Eye’s creation. The domination of earth by Brother Eye has already begun with taking out the planet’s early warning system, the team known as Stormwatch (with Hawkman and Mermaid as new members! ). The Carrier, Stormwatch’s mile long spaceship, has had its A.I. overridden by Brother Eye’s virus, leaving the team to his mercy (of which he has none!).
The Future of the New 52 is a dark place for our heroes; Grifter once again on his own, hunting down Daemonites disguised as humans and the relationship between Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch is very strained. The two men, who together make up the being known as Firestorm, are barely on talking terms, with Ronnie seeming to want nothing to do with Jason. The two are late to respond to a JLA alert signal because of their inability to get along, having dire results: The finale of Futures End #1 is the death of a Justice Leaguer!
The New 52 Futures End, has one of those comic books tropes I love the most- time travel catastrophes, but with this creative team at the helm, and the scope this weekly book seems like it is undertaking is what makes it so cool, rather than the same ol’ same ol’. Jump in and get all time-travelly!
It also features this beauty as a variant cover, John Romita jr.’s first published work for DC!
Original Sin #1
w. Jason Aaron
a. Mike Deodato
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because this why I read comics! A cosmic murder mystery on the moon, two group of heroes searching for a killer, the secret histories of the Marvel Universe ready to be revealed!
This is an epic event book in the making, which is no surprise given the creative team behind it. I can not stress enough the staggering amount of talent these two guys bring to the table. Jason Aaron’s imagination knows no bounds, his work on Thor encompassed nine realms and three timelines, and his ability to write characteristically believable dialogue is amazing. Every character sounds exactly like they should, and say things that character would say, how they would say it, to the point you can read the dialogue without looking at who is saying it, an know exactly who is speaking or thinking. Go ahead, try it!
Deodato is a comic artist’s artist. The man can just draw! He instills drama and intrigue in each and every panel ( this is the second time in his career I’ve seen him draw people sitting around a table at a diner having coffee, filled with more intensity and skill than most artists pull off in two page spreads ! ), and much like Aaron’s dialogue, Deodato renders everyone exactly as they should look, and no two people look-alike or seem generic. This is a book to watch just on the talent alone.
When Thor finds the Watcher’s (for the skinny on the Watcher, pick up Original Sin #0 by Waid & Cheung, I highly recommend it!) home base on the moon a smoking ruin, he calls in the Avengers for support. Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, Wolverine and a reluctant Nick Fury arrive…… at the scene of a Murder!
The Watcher, enigmatic cosmic being who watched over humanity since it’s inception is dead! Assassinated! His eyes torn from his skull! Cap convinces Nick Fury to come out of retirement to led the investigation, but Fury has a warning for Cap and the Avengers. Given the limited amount of people who knew of his existence, plus the access to a gun capable of killing a being of such power, this investigation could lead down some dark paths.
Meanwhile, a mysterious figure recruits Black Panther to lead his own investigation, going as far as to assemble teams of heroes for Black Panther to lead. The King of Wakanda teams with Ant-Man and the White Queen, following a lead on the killer that has them traveling to the center of the earth, while Winter Soldier and Moon Knight pick up a hitch-hiking Gamora in space and head on their own secret mission and the unlikely duo of Doctor Strange and the Punisher head…..elsewhere.
Aaron and Deodato are putting out some pretty cool concepts,with a large cast of characters and interesting locales in this sci-fi murder mystery mini series, and you’d be crazy to miss it. If all the auxillary stuff and crossovers scares you or annoys you, just don’t get it. Trust me this creative will give you enough to think about! You’ll be sorry if you pass this one up it. It’s going to be up there with Secret Wars and Infinity Gauntlet in terms of shear awesomeness!
w. Garth Ennis
a. Fecundo Percio
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because Ennis shows he still has his chops in this sci-fi space horror from Avatar. For the first time in centuries of space travel, humanity has finally made contact with another race. A mining colony ship, with a skeleton crew and scores of miners in stasis pods, has collided with an alien vessel while traveling through a warp field.
The two ships merged incongruously, as both tried to occupy the same space-time. Now,with sections of their ship cut off from them, the crew must explore the seemingly empty alien ship to find other survivors (most of the sleeping miners were vented into space), and search for away to survive. Percio’s art is shady and detailed, perfect for a space story, and imaginative when it comes to the designs of both ships. The clunky, boxy, greyish human one and the sleek curved golden alien vessel are perfectly juxtaposed in design, leading to clear delineations where one ship ends and another begins. Then there are the creatures, which are original and alien looking.
Ennis is at the top of his game. His characters are real people and his science is unflappable. The story might be moving slower than previous Ennis tales,but its at the benefit of gaining in-depth writing with serious thought behind the characters actions. When you realize you’re actually OUTSIDE of your own spaceship, but still within the confines of another, you might freak out a bit. If a deceased cephalopod alien in a preservation tube had a post-mortem abortion in your face, you might need to lay down and zone out for a bit. This hard, visceral sci fi. It’s not Independence Day or Armageddon, it’s more Alien, Event Horizon or Pandorum. Read this book, if you’re brave enough!
The Woods #1
w. James Tynion IV
a. Michael Dialynas
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Solely because of James Tynion IV. I followed Scott Snyder’s partner protegé through all his work at DC and enjoyed his writing skills. This was the first thing I saw him do outside of the DC banner, and I figured good writers are better writers when unleashed from corporate character stories. This titled proved it.
As the usual teenage shenanigans (streaking, college worries, crushes and ostracization ) unfold at Bay Point Preparatory High School in Milwaukee on an average day, a blinding white flash of light changes everything.
The entire school, students and faculty included has been transported… to some place unimaginable. When the students venture outside and see a ringed planet hanging in the sky, then attacked by a flock of giant spider-bat-things, they realize quickly they definitely aren’t on Earth!
As the faculty gathers the students into the school building, to what they believe is safety, one loner student communes with an alien pyramid found nearby. He is told the only way to safety is in the center of the dense, dark, alien woods that surround the school. He recruits a few friends and fellow outcasts, and then is joined by another once the securities of the school fails and a child dies, and the five head of into the woods. When they do, the alien pyramid begins tracking them. What does Initiating Test Protocol mean?? Guess we will find out next issue!
Tynion has a big idea here, and it’s playing out nice. He quickly develops distinct characters and builds their personalities in a well in short period of time. And the Lord of the Flies in Space concept is unique and intelligently written. A clue on the first page gives you an idea where this is going, and when it happened before. Check this book out and get hooked.
See Ya Next Week Folks!