Comic Review – The New 52: Futures End #14

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of his favourite one, with potential minor spoilers.

I thought I would finally do a review of Futures End this week, as I have been reading it for 3 1/2 months now and everything else I’ve bought this week is eiither part of the Superman: Doomed event, or a series I have already reviewed. Also, I know, third DC comics review in a row. I’m sorry, next one with be creator owned or Marvel, I promise (don’t hold me to that, money is tight). Futures End is the second weekly DC book this year, the first being Batman Eternal and the last being Earth 2: World’s End. Writing duties are apparently split (unclearly) between Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen (more on that later), with pencils from Aaron Lapresti, inks from Art Thibert, colours by Hi-Fi and letters from Taylor Esposito.

Futures End is set (mostly) 5 years into the future of the current DC universe. The story started in the Free Comic Book Day Futures End #0, 35 years from the present day. In a bleak apocalyptic future, Brother Eye (a sentient satellite) has taken over and converted most of the world’s heroes and villains into grotesque cyborg-zombie creations, having achieved near complete control of the globe. The last remaining heroes mount a final desperate attempt to thwart him, it fails, leaving Batman (of course) to his backup plan – travel back in time to the present day, to prevent this from ever happening. However, Brother Eye’s forces arrive and wound Bruce before transport is ready, forcing him to send back Terry McGinnis (Batman Beyond) in his stead. Unfortunately, things go awry and Terry arrives 5 years too late, with things already in motion that will lead to the terrible future his is trying to prevent.

Issue #14 picks up with Big Barda and Emiko facing off against Deathstroke and Fifty Sue, agents for Cadmus trying to round up ‘unregistered super-powered alternate Earth fugitives’. We also see some more from Grifter and Fifty Sue (apparently she can be in two places at once) investigating the stealth OMAC on Cadmus island, there is a small check in Terry and the folks he plans on breaking into Terrifitech with, but this thread doesn’t really move forward a lot (considering it is ultimately what I would consider the main plot), and an even smaller catch up with Cal (ex-Red Robin). The main revelation comes right at the end, with Lois Lane being shown a mysterious vision of an alternate world or strange future. Not a lot is really made clear from it, it is more a cliffhanger ending that all of the Futures End issues seem to end on. There is also a nice little tease about what is going on with Superman which should be pretty interesting.

The writing in this issue is fine, and while the dialogue is a bit shaky at points it isn’t too noticeable (though I am getting  a bit bored of all the references to ‘the war’ that happened at some point in the 5 years with Earth 2). The quality of both the story and dialogue has varied greatly from issue to issue,  with it being particularly bad in a couple of them. Writing duties are split between 4 well known writers, and we don’t know who is writing each but it doesn’t make for a totally cohesive experience.  The art is pretty good here, with the action in particular looking nice. Occasionally the faces are a bit off, in particular the first panel with Cal in it. That is not what a beard looks like on someone’s face., especially as the amount of it changes in the next panel.

Overall I am enjoying the story, but I care a great deal less about some story arcs (for example, Grifter’s internment on Cadmus Island) than I do others (I find Cal’s story and beard oddly compelling, plus I really could do with more from the 35 years in the future era) so find it frustrating when an issue focusses more on something that, at the moment, doesn’t seem to be advancing the plot much at all. I’m also not completely clear on why everyone needs to be a dick in the future. I feel like if this was a monthly comic, with each of the many story threads (some of which don’t appear at all in this issue) moving at the same pace in between issues, I would have dropped it by now. The story moves at a decent pace as a weekly book, but the drawback to that is that you are shelling out for it much more often. This issue was fairly average, some have been borderline terrible while some have been particularly good.  I’m going to stick with it, mainly because I am invested at this stage and want to see how it all plays out. Next month are the one-shot Futures End comics for each of the regular monthly DC books, to see where each of the characters are in 5 years. If you don’t really care about DC books, or are only really interested in a few characters, maybe give the series a miss. If you are interested in what that is all about and aren’t already reading it, check out Futures End. I think it should be relatively easy to pick up from any issue, but back issues are probably quite easy to find anyway (or go digital).

Score: 6 OMACs out of 10

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