The cover: It’s only the second week of the Futures End crossover one-shots, but this image from Howard Porter and Hi-Fi is the best cover yet, with the 3D Motion being exceptional. Looked at from one angle, Beautiful Dreamer lies in bed, reaching out for Mark Moonrider emerging from a cloud of mist above her. When looked at from a different perspective, Dreamer has turned away trying to pretend that Moonrider isn’t there, because he’s transformed into a skeleton about to grasp her. Beautiful artwork and dynamic colors. This should be used as an example for how these motion covers should be composed and carried out. Overall grade: A+
The story: This story begins with a scream of “Dreamer. No!” as Mark Moonrider wakes in an underground complex before Beautiful Dreamer. They are both in the Cadmus Singularity, a place where the New Gods sought to survive after the Second Green Lantern War. This throwaway line had my interest perk up instantly! But Mark’s story leaves this tasty future tidbit to focus on his current state. “Before I Wake” by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen is a perfectly encapsulated tale. You don’t need to know anything about Infinity Man and the Forever People to enjoy it. Though if you do you’ll enjoy it even more, and perhaps foresee the ending. Even after being brought up to speed by Dreamer, Mark feels as though she’s holding something back. Where are Bear and Vykin? Dreamer continues to walk away from him and when confronted she cries saying, “…I don’t think I can handle being hurt by you again.” There’s the return of one my favorite New 52 characters on Page 11 that had my heart skip a beat. What this character been up to? What has happened while Mark’s been asleep? How are enemies getting into the Singularity? You have to read this to find out, and it’s a perfectly crafted one-shot. Overall grade: A+
The art: The pencils on this book are by Philip Tan and the inks are by Jason Paz. The enclosed setting creates a nice tension on the book that mirrors Mark’s lost behavior. The long shots down corridors make the facility seem like the appropriate ghost town where danger could be lurking in any corner. Mark and Dreamer look good, with both emoting fear, anger, and sadness so clearly that dialogue is not needed to recognize their emotional states. The book is definitely theirs with the final six pages being wonderfully dramatic. All that was missing was matching music as I read them. The villains of the issue were too complicated. I can’t decide if it was the angle they were drawn at or the coloring on their costumes, but they were so garish I couldn’t get a definite picture of them. The character that appears on 11 looked fantastic, albeit a bit more sullen than shown in his own series. Overall grade: B
The colors: I ran hot and cold on Romulo Fajardo’s work on this issue. This book looks unlike any comic I’ve read of late because of the coloring. The first page explodes in a classic Jack Kirby combo of art and photographs with the colors lighting it perfectly. Dreamer and Mark are well colored, but it’s like looking at the colors on a painting, not the flat surface of a comic book. For example, check out the second and third panels on Page 3. These look more like brush strokes on a canvas more than the traditional colors on a book. The interiors of the Singularity are also colored in the same way. This provides an amazing amount of depth to the corridors. As I stated in the art review, I couldn’t tell if it was the art or the colors that made the villains look overdone. Whichever it was, it was too much. When energy or electricity is blasted at or from someone, the colors are incredibly strong. They make the art much more powerful. However, sometimes that brush work is just too heavy, which took me out of the story. Overall grade: B
The letters: Dialogue and narration (the same font), opening titles, screams, and sound effects were created by Travis Lanham. They’re fine, but I wanted there to be some minor differentiation between the dialogue and narration. Overall grade: B
The final line: Superior story with okay visuals. One of the better Futures End crossovers. Overall grade: B+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.