NOTE: I’m going to spoil the final page of the previous issue, there’s no way around it. If you plan on reading issue #1, turn back now.
So the last issue ended with Firestorm showing up too late to save Green Arrow and now all of our heroes must attend the funeral. I say all, but whose to say, really? Futures End takes place 5 years in the New 52’s future and while there are some familiar faces in attendance there are also some noticeable absences and a number of new characters who should have people talking.
The funeral proves to be a dramatic one with a eulogy from Animal Man that frames Green Arrow as a true hero and the conscience of the Justice League. But as soon as he’s finished with the emotional goodbye and we’ve seen our last flashback of bearded Ollie being a champion for good, the mood begins to change as Firestorm is confronted for his behavior in the events that lead to Green Arrow’s death. See, the Justice League knows Firestorm could have made it to Ollie in time and they, especially Arsenal, want answers. It’s a solid issue overall with plenty of content to discuss, but it’s the Green Arrow fans who will find chapter 2 the most rewarding.
I found Animal Man to be an odd choice for the eulogizer, but Jeff Lemire, who co-wrote this issue, is also handling the current Justice League United series that stars both Animal Man and Green Arrow and he hints at the relationship of these two characters growing over the course of their partnership on that team. The funeral scene could have an impact on longtime Green Arrow fans, but with no build up to his downfall and the death happening on the very last page of the last issue it all feels so sudden that it didn’t really engage me as much emotionally as it probably should have. What did hit home was that Green Arrow was a great man and Firestorm is deeply flawed, and I’m actually starting to find the character interesting as a result. I still don’t like the character design, but the inner conflict he has is intriguing what with one half of him being a stereotypical jock and the other half being a a stereotypical nerd always at odds. However, I can see their constant bickering growing tiresome in the future. Wouldn’t the guys who make up Firestorm be more interesting if they weren’t just opposites, but rivals? Imagine if one was a good guy and one was a bad guy– a superhero who is his own arch enemy. They’re always at war, one trying to over-power the other so that he can become Firestorm and conquer/save the world. Each guy can have his own team of companions who have to try and figure out a way to separate/defend Firestorm anytime the opposing side takes control. Just a thought.
There are also two or three other subplots going on in the comic, but they aren’t given much attention and are easily forgotten among the drama and flashy cameos of the funeral– speaking of flashy, we are finally introduced to Mr. Terrific who is being portrayed as kind of an arrogant Tony Stark-like character and I can see that being divisive among fans, but are there really that many Mr. Terrific fans out there? Character needed an overhaul. The other storylines are divided between one that adds greater mystery and another that doesn’t advance what mystery has already been established: 1) Batman Beyond is shown briefly, but he’s really not covering much ground at all. For a guy who traveled back in time to stop the apocalypse he’s taking his sweet time. 2) There’s a conspiracy unfolding regarding Terrific’s enterprise, but it didn’t quite fit with the rest of the narrative and was rather jarring when those pages cropped up. Lots of questions are raised about what exactly is going on and who these people are, but answers won’t come until later. Thankfully, it’s a weekly book so we’ll get more very soon. The name of the man in these scenes will ring a bell to some and it does appear that his role will tie into Grifter’s journey. 3) There is a bartender shown very briefly who seems to have some history with superheroes but it’s impossible to tell who it could be right away. He has a square jaw, black hair, and blue eyes– that doesn’t exactly narrow the list of suspects down at all, does it? I must say, I’m liking the way Futures End signs off each issue with the 2 page credits that give you a collage glimpsing what’s to come. It makes it seem more epic than the standard way of doing things that Eternal has been presenting with its closing page.
The artwork by Jesus Morino is decent, but I would’ve liked to have seen more of a flourish during the eulogy. Future’s End is a dark and depressing book, alright, but during the eulogy flashbacks it would have been nice to have seen something more optimistic and inspiring to match the heartfelt words of Buddy Baker. There’s nothing technically wrong with the visuals, but I suppose I was looking for more light in that moment and some specific image that would really stand out. The two-page spread of the city in morning came closest to achieving this.
One criticism I have for the issue as a whole is the passage of time seems mismanaged to me, but perhaps it’s just a mistake of the coloring. We saw Terry warp to nighttime New York City at the end of issue #0. Then, during issue #1 he was making his way across the city at night still, but it was daytime in the Firestorm subplot, right? Now Green Arrow is dead, a day or two has passed and we’re having a funeral in the daytime and yet Terry McGinnis is still making his way across New York City at night.
- You’re a fan of Green Arrow
- You want to start following a band of DC heroes you wouldn’t read about otherwise– this is what I’m enjoying most
- You want to get in on the ground floor of DC’s next major event. Look for all New 52 titles to have their own special “Futures End #1” edition with 3D cover this September
- Batman Beyond is now a part of the main continuity and that’s enough reason for you to tune in
I’m finding Futures End to be a pretty consistent read so far and since all I ever read is Batman stuff anymore it’s nice to see so many lower-tier DC heroes involved in a storyline as important as this.