Written by Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire & Brian Azzarello/ Art by Art Thibert, Aaron Lopresti
Last week’s issue received a below average rating because of the uneven pacing and lack of focus on the slew of stories within. Issue no. 23 is an immediate improvement from that. This time around, the book touched on key stories and got to a good stopping point in each before moving on to the next for a rushed update.
This week picks up right where we left off, with Black Adam coming to the rescue to take on giant-sized Braniac. That led to a visually pleasing fight scene full of war cries after weeks of seeing Frankenstein, Amethyst and Hawkman locked in a cage.
We then get a typical, theatrical DC-esque romance scene where Tim Drake–er, Cal Corcoran, as he chooses to go by now–tries to do some damage control after his girlfriend finds out his truth. She leaves anyway and battles with the idea of wanting to go back to him only to be swept away by another man as Tim watches from the shadows. Very fitting for a former disciple of Batman, their stalk levels are all God-like.
The biggest “WTF?!?!” moment of the issue came at the very end. 30 years in the future we check in on Brother Eye talking to Mr. Terrific about his other “father,” Bruce Wayne. Looking for some sort of backwards approval from Mr. Terrific, Brother Eye did something to Batman that I never thought possible.
If this was part of actual canon and not part of a future that will probably be ultimately avoided in the first place I’d be PISSED. But given that this probably won’t stick it’s really cool to see.
Ever since the first issue, DC’s Future’s End series has succeeded in addressing those “what-if” situations that we never even knew we were curious about through the window of a hypothetical not-so-distant future. Aside from issue no. 0 where we saw that most of the elderly Justice League had been transformed into homicidal hero-android hybrids, issue no. 23 may have pushed the envelope more than any other book in the series.
Also make sure you check out the still shots located at the back of the book to show what’s possibly yet to come.
This issue was pretty Batman-centric, which admittedly wins me over some. But it’s also good story-telling and left me wanting to see what happens next week for the right reasons. I’ll give this issue an 8/10.