Future’s End: Batwing and Detective Comics (Comics Preview)

There are a lot of titles in the New 52 that I haven’t gotten around to reading as yet, either because I’m already swamped with others that I’m more invested in, or because I don’t find them interesting enough. Batwing is one such title. It had a rough start, far as I can tell, and then it got soft-rebooted when a new creative came on board in the second year. And my interest has definitely peaked in recent months. With Detective Comics however, I only started reading it last year, and I haven’t really caught up with the first year-and-a-half’s worth of issues, though I’ve wanted to.

This month’s Future’s End event helps me with the former and solidifies my belief in the latter. With Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti as writers and Eduardo Pansica as artist, Future’s End: Batwing #1 is another great offering from DC this month, setting a great tone for the publisher this month, right off the start. And with Detective Comics, writer Brian Buccellato does something rather unique in concept, even as the trio of artists on the issue deliver something truly wonderful. The former is a very self-contained story while the latter ends abruptly, but I liked both issues well enough.

FE - Batwing - Detective ComicsI’m not all that familiar with Luke Fox as Batwing. The son of Lucius Fox, one of Bruce Wayne and Batman’s strongest supporters within Gotham and also an integral component of the New 52 version of Batman-centric mythology, Luke Fox seems to have emerged as a strong hero in his own right from what I can tell. In the pages of the weekly series Batman: Eternal he comes across really well and is a character I’ve enjoyed reading about.

In Jimmy and Justin’s latest issue, we really get to see a very kickass and emotional side of the character. The two writers start off really strong by presenting a compelling hook for the story, and they end on a great note as well, showing that the kickass hero has a soft, vulnerable side to him as well. Gotta love that. I expected this to be a great issue and the writers certainly didn’t disappoint me. And the big twist in the second half of the issue was something that really entertained and wowed me. I didn’t expect anything like it, and it was a pleasant surprise.

Joining penciller Eduardo on the issue are Júlio Ferreira and J.P. Mayer on inks, Chris Sotomayor on the colours and Dezi Sienty on the letters with Dan Panosian on the cover. The art was great here. The artists all get to really show off their wares in this issue, especially given all the different and freaky villains who are the antagonists in the issue or even Batwing’s own supporting cast. Great clash of colours and uniforms and… forms. Good stuff.

Rating: 9/10

In Detective Comics, Brian Buccellato does something very different from the norm. The villain known as Calendar Man has seemingly taken control of Gotham’s vast power supplies and he holds the city hostage, demanding that the man who destroyed his family be surrendered to him. Consequences of not meeting his decision: he causes a full blackout in Gotham on the 10th anniversary  (I think it is the 10th) of the massive event known as Zero Year, in which the Riddler did much the same. Naturally, Batman is there to make sure that the Calendar Man doesn’t succeed and in order to take down the C-lister, Batman seeks the help of the Riddler himself, the man who designed the intricate defenses of Arkham Island in the first place.

There’s a lot to like here. In Future’s End, Batman hasn’t really made an appearance and his absence is one of the big question marks of the series. This one-shot doesn’t really answer that question either, sadly, but Brian Buccellato does still a great story nonetheless. He is one of the writer-artists on Detective Comics, working with Francis Manapul, so he has a great handle on Batman himself, even though this is a Batman in a world set 5 years after the events of Detective Comics. He nails the character really well and while his Riddler doesn’t really have the deviousness or layered personality of Scott Snyder’s Riddler from Batman, he is still a great villain.

And really, the twist at the end of the story is gold. I loved that ending, even though I thought that the ending was too abrupt and that Batman’s actions didn’t quite jive with what I had in mind or what it seemed Brian was building up to. But it is forgivable because the rest of the issue is so damn good, and that’s what I choose to focus on more. It could have been tighter I suppose, but not by much.

There are three pencillers on this issue: Scott Hepburn and Cliff Richards share roughly half the workload while Fabrizio Fiorentino does a single page, the seventh, which I thought was a rather weird breakdown. Each artist has a distinct style to his art, more so since colours are down by both Brian (first half) and by Lee Loughridge (second half). Lots of combinations here really, and while I think that the art suffers a bit from too many cooks in the kitchen, it does come out really well if all taken together. The dark and the crazy holds sway, as expected. And I do rather like the fantastic cover by Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson, one of my favourites of all the Future’s End one-shots that I’ve read so far.

Recommended certainly.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Detective Comics#19-24, #23.4, #27, #28, #29, #30, #31.

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Posted on September 8, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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