For those who did not want to throw down $56.81 plus tax to read every issue of Futures End so far: this is for you. For those who got depressed, downhearted, or disenchanted and dropped the title but want to catch back up: this is for you. For those who didn’t care at all but are suddenly flushed with unquenchable anxiety during Futures End Month: this is for you too.

Dramatic, huh?

This is intended to be a sort of Cliff Notes guide to the main plot points of Futures End; it is not a comprehensive diagnosis or review of the series. Here you will find each storyline covered as if a friend were to describe to you the story of each main character through issue #19. It should go without saying but…

EVERYTHING IN THIS ARTICLE IS UNDER A SPOILER ALERT!

Don’t read anything else if you don’t want to know what happens. If you find a mistake, please post in the comments below. Also, if you’ve read some/most/all of Futures End, how do you feel about this series so far?

Old Friends

Concerning Bruce: 

It begins with Bruce. Thirty-five years from now many of our favorite super beings have been turned into half-cyborg’s controlled by “Brother Eye”. Everything is our world is just awful. The earth is torn apart. Bruce Wayne concocts a plan to travel back in time to put an end to this terrible “future”. He is thwarted by some Brother Eye controlled super bug-like cyborg beings. Terry takes his place after Bruce is wounded (and presumably left for dead) and travels back in time. Unfortunately, a common time-traveling problem occurs (eg.Doc and Marty) and Terry gets sent back only thirty years -five years in our future- where the causes of the chaos in the future have already been put in place. According to Terry, Mr. Terrific’s creation of Brother Eye was seven years prior to Terry’s arrival in the past.

At a later fast-forward in the story, we see that Brother Eye has kept Joker alive (this is 35 years in the future from “now”). He is carried to an operations table where we see that Bruce is also alive after he sent Terry into the past. The cover to #20 teases more of that story line to come.

Batman Beyond

Concerning Terry, Coil, Key, and Plastique:

Terry’s found himself in the past where he shouldn’t belong. At least the A.L.F.R.E.D. (henceforth “Alfred”) program in Terry’s suit can help guide him through this world. Alfred tells Terry that though they are late to the party, they can still make something happen. Brother Eye’s satellite control center is presumably inside Mr. Terrific’s legitimate company’s headquarters called Terrifitech. Terry and Alfred devise a plan to break into it to deactivate the satellite and therefore put an end to Brother Eye’s control in the future.

After an unsuccessful attempt to infiltrate Terrifitech, Terry dons an undercover disguise as a homeless man. He is at the park pushing a cart with a dead cyborg that was accidentally sent back in time with him when he overhears Coil, Key, and Plastique (all criminals at some point) discuss their plans for breaking into Terrifitech. Mr. Terrific, who is on to Terry, approaches him and they brawl. Terry runs away, leaving the dead cyborg, which just so happened to be Plastique’s future self. She gets a good look at it before she too leaves.

Days later, Coil, Key, and Plastique are all in Tim Drake’s bar (who is posing as Cal Corcoran) when Terry walks in to try to get them to work with him to break into Terrifitech. They go back to Key’s place to discuss it further. Plastique dramatically convinces everyone to work with one another, and they do. Terry has Alfred hack into Mr. Terrific’s computer systems to find Brother Eye’s orbit. They will then hack into NORAD and launch a missile to destroy the satellite. Terry double-crossed Key and Coil in the break-in leaving them for the authorities. Plastique, on the other hand, found her future cyborg self that Mr. Terrific kept and was extremely distraught. Instead of handing her over, Terry takes her by the hand and leads her away.

Frankenstein and Lady Amethyst

Concerning Stormwatch and S.H.A.D.E.:

Stormwatch, a group of heroes chosen to protect the earth from great evil, is traveling through the farthest reaches of known space when their ship, The Carrier, is attacked. S.H.A.D.E., led by Father Time in the body of a little girl, recruits Frankenstein, Lady Amethyst, and Dr. Ray Palmer to investigate the attack. They take a ship through the Phantom Zone in order to arrive at the farthest reaches of space faster. They encounter Black Adam among others and fight their way out. Upon arrival to The Carrier, the S.H.A.D.E. enlisted group finds everyone to be dead or missing. Since Frankenstein lost an arm in the Phantom Zone, Ray Palmer chops off Hawkman’s dead arm and attaches it to Frank’s nub. Hawkman, as it turns out, is not dead, and he wants to go searching for a beacon that the Engineer’s missing body is giving off. They locate the beacon coming from what appears to be a small planet when they are attacked by a horde of robots led by the Engineer who is being controlled by Brainiac. It turns out that the planet they think they’re on is actually Brainiac’s master ship, presumably the one that killed Stormwatch. We are left with one of the Storm Lords (the guys who oversee Stormwatch) telling Ray Palmer, who stayed behind while the others went on the search party, they want him to be the new leader of Stormwatch. Palmer tries to use excuses that he isn’t who he used to be. The Storm Lord rep responds ominously with: “Then become something else. Become something better.”

Grifter

Concerning Grifter, Deathstroke, and Fifty Sue:

Grifter is like Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet in Pulp Fiction. At least, he starts out that way. He has the ability to see through lies and he goes around killing non-human beings that are trying to invade Earth. A man named King Faraday decides he needs Grifter’s abilities. He makes Grifter an offer he can’t refuse. Meanwhile, a small ten-year-old looking girl named Fifty Sue makes her New 52 appearance. She is a product of Cadmus (a genetic testing facility specializing in Earth-2 super beings) experimentation. She is a smart mouthed girl who works alongside Deathstroke who is working for Faraday who appears to be the big man on Cadmus Island. Their goal is to use Grifter’s abilities to find Earth-2 heroes living in secret while Deathstroke and Fifty Sue will bring them back to the island for testing. On Cadmus Island is a prison of sorts for many Earth-2 super beings already captured. Grifter and Fifty Sue get into mischief when they break into the labs of Cadmus to investigate the appearance of Stealth OMACs. OMACs, here, are cyborgs that patrol Cadmus Island and Stealth OMACs are a big no-no. Faraday, Fifty Sue, and Deathstroke all get worked up over it. We learn that E-2s are given an implant that begins to grow unexpectedly. Without warning, the holding cells fly open and E-2s (all with solid white eyes) escape and begin beating anyone that doesn’t have an implant. Fifty Sue is quick to investigate and learns that Brother Eye (a super intelligent consciousness that controls computer systems and, as we know from the far future, those weird cyborg/bug/human things) is controlling the OMACs and E-2s. Brother Eye tells Fifty Sue that it has full control over the island. She brokers a deal with Brother Eye but we do not know yet what Brother Eye wants from her so that it will leave her, Deathstroke and Grifter alone.

Firestorm Not to the Rescue

Concerning Firestorm: 

This will be brief. Firestorm receives an emergency call to help Green Arrow. Ronnie is too busy with a girl to respond. Green Arrow is found dead. Ronnie denies responsibility and keeps Jason hostage as Firestorm. Eventually, though, Ronnie lets him out and they part ways. The Justice League decides they need Firestorm back in action so they hold an intervention. It is unsuccessful and our boys part ways again.

Who is this Guy_

Concerning Lois, Tim, Superman, Ethan Boyer, Purple Guy and Constantine…yikes:

Tim Drake, former Red Robin, is in hiding after his perceived death in the war with Earth-2. He is now Cal Corcoran and he runs a bar called the Wounded Duck. Lois figures out he was Robin, though she hasn’t blown his identity yet. He is even hiding it from his girlfriend. His girlfriend, Madison, was visiting her dad in jail when Rampage, a giant mongrel woman biochemically altered to be strong and brutal yet stupid, breaks in to free Ethan Boyer, a scientist whom she thought could fix her Rampagey-ness. Ethan Boyer just used her as a decoy for the Masked Superman to chase, for Superman wanted to find Boyer. Boyer actually took Rampage and made her worse. Then, in her rampage, she tore through Metropolis. At one point Lois arrives on the scene to see the Masked Superman. She hears him utter, “Shazam” as lightning strikes, exposing her to his secret identity. She is confronted by Stormguard and Shazam, both begging her not to release the secret to the world. They won’t say what happened to the real Superman, but we know where he is. See, Constantine has been on the trail of some primordial evil. In southeast Asia this evil purple guy has emerged from a temple that has an eerily similar design as Pandora’s Box skull. You know, this guy:

Purple Guy

He makes his way eventually into the horn of Africa where out of the desert ground bursts geysers of water…as well as Kal-El. Constantine tries in his own way to convince Clark to come back, that evil of the worst kind is coming, but Clark is too depressed over his actions during the war with Earth-2 that he just can’t bear it.

Concerning Mr. Terrific and Other Story Lines I Didn’t Cover:

Mr. Terrific is a big storyline. He is supposedly responsible (two years ago, mind you) for bringing this mess. He is shown speaking with Brainiac on the regular. He invents a uSphere that is supposed to change the world. Several references are made that insinuate Bruce and his involvement with one another. Emiko Queen, Big Barda, Mister Miracle, and several others make fairly big appearances. Lois Lane’s role is more important than I let on here too. But if it interests you to know more, check out the weekly reviews as they are more in-depth.

Thoughts So Far

It is interesting to go back through all these issues and see how wide and, yes, even deep the story has become. It’s thick, if not jumbled in spots. If you can take several stories in tiny chunks kind of randomly spread out, then this is the series for you. If you are a stickler for hanging on to every word or panel in hopes that it will mean something secret or bigger in the story to come, then this might be the series for you. If, however, you want to feel satisfied after each issue you read, you may not be so happy. This is a long-haul type of situation here: no three-issue story arcs. It’s a long drive from Alabama to California, but if I ever put in the effort, time, and money to go there, I hope it pays off.