Futures End #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

A few years into the future of the DCU a war has crippled humanity and left the majority of the Earth’s heroes missing or dead. Brother Eye patrols the skies and has assimilated most of the populace to a hive mind fueled by interplanetary domination and destruction. Batman Beyond will have to travel back to a time where he can effectively dispose of Mister Terrific, the creator of the Brother Eye, and hopefully bring a better future to his timeline. Coordinates and calculations are mixed up and Batman Beyond is sent to a timestream where his nightmare world is already brewing and unfortunately there is no way out. With the destruction of Stormwatch, the hunter Grifter on the prowl, and the death of a Justice Leaguer, it seems as though the future is inescapable.

In the tradition of weekly series like the post-Infinite Crisis “52”, the pre-Final Crisis “Countdown” and the post-Blackest Night “Brightest Day”, DC has assembled a team of writers and a slew of talented artists to tell a universe spanning, ensemble cast, continuity tethering story that ties the destinies of the entire line’s characters together. With lower tiered heroes coming out of the woodwork and fighting for a better world, Futures End is an expansive and exciting action comic that promises a new chapter every week and a glimpse into what the New 52 will look like in a few years.

The conceit of the plot is a very popular one in comics, being the exact story behind Age of Ultron, Days of Future Past as well as countless films and other stories. Now I am of the opinion that there are no tired stories, simply tired ways of telling them, and Futures End, although having a very familiar feel, promises to be an interesting and thrilling journey for DC diehard fans and hopefully have a new spin on a story that we have all read or seen before. I say “DC diehard fans” simply because as much as I would love to see everyone jump on this book and enjoy it in its cosmic, ‘dystopian action’ fun, I’m fairly confident that only a handful of fans will find anything interesting about OMACs taking over the world and having Firestorm and Grifter on the front lines of the war. Much in the same way that I doubt anyone who wasn’t already a fan of Boston Brand, Nth metal or the Martian Manhunter would have had much interest in Brightest Day as it was being released. Futures End will truly be a series for DC completists who fawned over all the apocryphal Kirby nods that lined the panels of Final Crisis and continually reread Crisis on Infinite Earths every few months… So me

One thing I think DC has done really well here is assemble a team of writers that will compliment each other’s work. The dark, gritty, crime chops of Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets) will hopefully lend themselves to this universe hopping epic. His style has so far been an excellent addition to the world of Wonder Woman, which his initial involvement in was one that seemed to take a lot of people by surprise but has since produced one of the few consistently excellent New 52 titles since its inception. Jeff Lemire (Underwater Welder, Sweet Tooth) having come off a long Animal Man run at DC is certainly establishing himself as one of the more important worldbuilders at the publisher and his growth as a mainstream writer has begun to define itself with Green Arrow and now Futures End. In addition to these two writers DC has paired comic legends Dan Jurgens (Booster Gold, Death of Superman) & Keith Giffen (Justice League International) along for the ride which should give the book a reigned in feel as their many years in the superhero genre and major event storytelling provides an experience that the book would benefit from. Not to mention Giffen’s involvement as the breakdown artist of 52, another of DC’s weekly titles from years back.

Patrick Zircher starts us off in issue one with his slick and action heavy art style and he will soon be joined by the likes of Dan Jurgens doing a few pages coming up, Aaron Lopresti, Jesus Merino, Ethan Van Sciver who worked on the #0 issue, Ryan Sook doing gorgeous covers and many more to be announced as the cycling artist team. The list of names attached to the book is great news for long time DC fans and I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else brings to the book.

It should be noted that without having read the Free Comic Book Day #0 issue before Futures End #1 you will be completely lost so make sure to grab a copy and check it out if your LCS still has some left over.

Futures End is an ambitious project in the New 52 that has some familiar if not identical story elements to comics before it but so far has produced an exciting first issue. One that will see me return next week to follow along as some obscure D listers attempt to rewrite their destiny.

Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior

Follow him on Twitter @Ghost_Factory

Listen to his music Ghostfactory.Bandcamp.Com or the Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast www.GeekStampede.com