If you don’t know what it is then you’re in for a crazy freaking ride, but if you’ve been following the release of Futures End closely you get about what you expected, which is still pretty cool.
Futures End #0 is DC Comics most talked about Free Comic Book Day release. It’s the prelude to an all-new weekly series that takes place 5 years in the future of the DC Universe, but you don’t need to worry about that yet because issue #0 takes place several DECADES into the even more distant future where things are at their most dire. It’s a time travel book with an apocalypse that must be prevented at all costs. One that introduces Terry McGinnis of Batman Beyond fame into the main DC continuity for the first time before sending him back into the past to stop the horrifying events we see unfold in this very issue. How much this Terry has in common with the character we saw in the Batman Beyond animated series is yet to be seen. There are certainly a number of similarities and differences between the show and the comic already and it definitely has nothing to do with the ongoing Batman Beyond 2.0 comic by Kyle Higgins and Thony Silas.
What happens in Futures End #0? It’s a Free Comic book day title so it’s obviously meant to have a tremendous “wow” factor and broad appeal that makes everyone want to see more so I can guarantee you an lot of shock value. A lot of it. This prelude is basically Cameo, Shocking death, Cameo, Shocking death, Cameo, Shocking Death, etc. etc. The world has been taken over by Brother Eye whose minions infect one living creature after another. He claims to be anti-flesh but the transformation of his army always leaves the upper body mostly intact. Basically this is just done so readers can identify the fallen heroes, but it stuck out to me since its a visual that goes against Brother Eye’s repeated goals. So prepare yourself to see countless DC characters with half robot bodies speaking in ones and zeroes. The best of the converted is Frankenstein, but I won’t spoil what he does. It’s far and away my favorite moment from the book that actually made me go “whoa.”
But it’s not just Batman Beyond against the world. The comic features a resistance movement, but they are all terribly inept or at least nerfed by the creative team in order to make the robots and the threat of Brother Eye look all the more terrifying. I mean, Flash should be able to dodge this stuff and Blue Beetle’s scarab armor should put up a little more of a fight, right? A lot of the cameos are kind of inconsistent. John Stewart looks only middle aged yet Flash and Bruce are ancient. Many of the half-robot-heroes don’t look like they’ve aged in decades. Batman Beyond himself looks just like you’d expect only it’s not the stylized Bruce Timm/Darwyn Cooke version, but a slightly more realistic take like what you’ve seen in video games like Arkham City or Injustice: Gods Among Us. Basically, it’s a suit that looks really cool until he opens his mouth. Actually seeing teeth and a tongue within the Batman Beyond uniform is bizarre and off-putting. Bruce, on the other hand, doesn’t appear quite as decrepit as we’ve seen in the cartoon and it looks as though he’s wearing the armor from Superman Unchained!
Other than a few minor inconsistencies in the ages of many of the DC heroes making a cameo, the artwork by a team of interchanging artists is exceptionally good. You’d think that the frequent change in style would disrupt the flow of the book, but the events at hand are so hectic that the frequent shift in the imagery actually added to the sense of unease. Yes, there are absolutely some pages that out perform others, but overall I think it’s a visually engaging comic.
- The line from Bruce before he says so long to Terry, “I mean… we’re talking about killing a man here.” has me a little on guard. Bruce sending Terry back in time to kill someone? I don’t know. Perhaps one of the big reasons this leaves such a bad taste in my mouth is that we’re talking about Batman Beyond and when I think Batman Beyond I naturally think of the Justice League Unlimited episode “Epilogue” which featured a flashback with Bruce and a child named Ace who was on the verge of slaughtering countless innocent lives if someone didn’t move in and murder her first. Batman volunteered, but he didn’t kill her. It wasn’t even an option. He found another way. It’s one of the greatest examples of Batman’s commitment to the “no kill rule.” Batman always finds another way and I forever associate that idea with the Bruce of Batman Beyond.
- It’s a free comic, just how much convincing do you honestly need?
It’ll build hype for sure! This free #0 issue should successfully hook readers into coming back this Wednesday to see what happens next to Terry McGinnis. It doesn’t feature a whole lot of surprises if you already knew what the premise of the weekly series is, but it’s a quality comic that holds a lot of promise for the weeks to come. If you missed Free Comic Book Day, check out comixology.com around the 14th for a free digital version, but don’t stress out too much. It’s a #0 issue so I’m sure everything of importance will be covered again in full in the #1 issue. Futures End #1 comes out 5/7 and will have a brand new issue every week for the next year.