Comic Review – The New 52: Futures End #48

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

There will be definite spoilers

This week saw the finales of all three of DC Comics’ weekly series, before the Convergence event starts next week. As I have kept up with two of them since the beginning, I’ve decided to review both of them. Futures End started back in May 2014, and throughout its 48 issue run it has been written by the team of Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen. This issue was drawn by Allan Goldman, Freddie Williams II, Andy McDonald and Stephen Thompson, with additional inks from Scott Hanna, colours by Hi-Fi and letters from Tom Napolitano.

Taking over as the new Batman Beyond a couple of issues ago, former Robin Tim Drake (from 5 years in the future of the current DCU) travelled back in time to avert an inter-dimensional incursion and put a stop to the desolate world controlled by the AI Brother Eye 35 years from now (so 30 years from his timepoint). After convincing Brother Eye to self destruct, he returned to his own time to find his girlfriend Madison waiting for him… or so he thought. It turns out he had been sent forward 35 years, finding that this was an illusion, and the nightmare future had still happened. All the heroes, villains and civilians had all still been infected and turned into twisted cyborg puppets by Brother Eye, and Drake was up next. Fortunately a resistance group, including The Atom, Amethyst and an older Madison, turn up to save him, and they all escape into the sewers. The team shows Tim that they have lost, no matter what they have tried, no matter what he or Terry McGinnis did. But he refuses to believe that, leaving the series on a cliffhanger ending staring down a crumbling city overlooked by a Brother Eye-emblazoned moon.

If that didn’t really make a lot of sense, that’s probably because the issue and series as a whole has walked that line a lot over the last 48 issues. I think Futures End had a good premise, a sort of reverse Terminator with Batman Beyond sent back from a horrible world to prevent the terrible mistakes that led to it. And things go wrong, as is standard. But the story got bogged down and dragged out in Earth-2 invasions, Cadmus and somewhat predictably Brainiac, largely starring a cast of relatively less well known characters. I wouldn’t really have a problem with this last point if they had at any point given me a reason to care about what happened to any of them. Futures End could have made a decent (if slightly depressing) mini-series, but the nearly year-long run has been bloated and largely pointless. Especially when it turns out that the entire mission totally failed anyway, thus rendering everything else redundant as it is unlikely that the 5 years from now storylines will be revisited. A more satisfying story may have spent more time in the Brother Eye future, which seems more ripe for a compelling narrative, rather than just the #0 issue, this one and a few scattered moments in between. This final issue is fine overall with regards to the writing (though I remain unclear on who wrote each issue), the dialogue is decent too, but it doesn’t read at all like a culmination of everything before it. It doesn’t even read like a finale, probably because it isn’t one really, just a set up for whatever is coming next.

The art is mostly average, again similar to the entire run. There has rarely been anything particularly spectacular shown off, rather it has always been inconsistent as there seemed to be about four artists on every issue, and never a stylistic reason for it happening (as there was in the final issue of Batman Eternal this week). Again, a mini series or event of this may have gone further and allowed for more consistency in the art by not having to stick to the weekly schedule. Although the last page was pretty good. I just have no idea who drew it.

Futures End was a nice concept pulled down by its own run length and inconsistency. The finale was an average read, with a serviceable story and art and an ending that effectively says what we all know – no matter what you do to try and change things for the better, nothing will change and everything you do is ultimately, crushingly pointless. Fin.

Score: 5 Creepy Hero Statues out of 10

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