Future’s End: Action Comics and Aquaman (Comics Review)

When I heard about the New 52 version of Action Comics, I was rather surprised. It seemed as if DC wanted to have two Superboy ongoing titles without calling them both Superboy. And the fact is that while the title has been less problematic than the mainline Superman title, it too has suffered from some really questionable decisions. I haven’t really read anything here, apart from a random issue here and there. On the other hand, Aquaman has been among my favourite titles from the get go. First with Geoff Johns and then with Jeff Parker as writer, Aquaman is consistent and awesome week after week.

And yet, sometimes things don’t really work out as you expect them to. I picked up Future’s End: Action Comics #1 on a whim this week, wanting to see what kind of a story would be told here, and I was pleasantly surprised. Confused as hell too, but pleasantly surprised because it was way better than I expected on all levels. In contrast, Future’s End: Aquaman #1 has been a bomb for me because of the narrative liberties taken here, among other things. Quite a difference between the latest issues of these two titles, and I’d say that it showcases the ever-changing nature of comics in many ways.

FE - Action Comics - AquamanFuture’s End: Action Comics #1 deals with the concept of what would normal people do if they discovered that they had one of Superman’s powers: whether flight or super-strength or super-toughness. With Sholly Fisch behind the story and script, this one-shot issue definitely has to be one of the best of September’s one-shots from DC thus far. This one is about hope and learning lessons about life and finding your courage among other things. And it also forces Clark Kent to ask himself a very important question, something that is going to become relevant because of what recently happened in Future’s End #18.

Sholly introduces the Sand Superman here, a manifestation of Superman’s soul, who can temporarily impart normal people with one of Superman’s powers. This issue beautifully charts a day in the life of three regular people who are confronted by something really terrible, and find out that they do have some power. What they do with said power is the big question here, and I’d say that Sholly Fisch really does a great job with all the characters.

Of course, Superman/Clark Kent is also here aplenty, and Sholly’s characterization felt right on point. He is an icon, a source of inspiration to millions, tens of millions. That’s what Sholly focuses on here, and what I loved the most.

Pascal Alixe and Vicente Cifuentes are on penciling duties here with Pete Pantazis on colours and Carlos M. Mangual on letters. The art has a very rough quality to it, but it is undeniable that the final result is pretty striking in itself. There’s some internal inconsistency though (kind of very small, but it is there), and I think the overall result could have been better.

Still, I loved it, to be honest!

Rating: 9/10

Taking place five years from the ongoing storyline in Aquaman, this one-shot focuses on Aquaman as he continues to work towards improving relations between the surface-dwellers and the people of Atlanis. The war with Earth 2 has left some big scars on Atlantis, not the least of which is that Xebel is now destroyed with the survivors leaving near Atlantis as refugees. Mera and Arthur have gone their separate ways now and the latter has taken up with his old friend Ya’wara. Arthur has begun the Atlantis Island project as well, which is one where he aims to establish a visible land-bound outpost for his kingdom, so that his people become actual people to the surface-dwellers who have largely ignored Atlantis’ many plights in the wake of the war.

I’ll say this from the get go: this was a dumb issue. All the way. Dan Jurgens essentially ruins thirty-seven issues worth of development for Mera and Arthur and Vulko through his story here. The cover says it all really, and since I mentioned Vulko I should also mention that he once again does something really, really stupid. Dan Jurgens basically revives a cliche and he botches the execution so that the final product is just way too bad.

That’s really all I can say for it too since I’m really, really disappointed by the events of this issue. Because as if the botched execution wasn’t enough, characters like Sayeh and Joshua talk in a frustratingly cryptic manner, which creates more questions than are answered. And the big twist in the end? I waned something original and what Dan Jurgens presents is anything but.

Alvaro Martinez is the penciller here, with Raul Fernandez on inks, Chris Sotomayor on colours and Taylor Esposito on the letters. The cover is by Yvel Guichet, Jason Gorder and Garry Henderson. The art here was okay. It is very different from what can be found within the pages of Aquaman, and there were times when I really didn’t like it, such as how Mera and Arthur are drawn or even Vulko and Tula. Too… weird, I suppose you could say. Not what I was expecting at all.

This issue had the potential to be so much more, and I’m saddened that Jeff Parker didn’t write it, or that there was no Paul Pelletier here. With them, this would have been a great issue, but sadly that is most assuredly not the case.

Rating: 2/10

More Action Comics #23.1, #23.4.

More Aquaman#0-12, #13-15, #16-21, #22-23, #23.1, #23.2, Annual 2013, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31, #32, Annual 2014, #33-34; (Aquaman and the Others) #1.

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Posted on September 7, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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