We take a break from our delayed Justice League series to answer the call of Futures End month. Here, Jeff Lemire (co-writer of Futures End) takes us on a far-out and heady journey five years into the future. It is a big departure from the Justice League as we know it. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman are all absent. For you old farts that’s a deal breaker there. For those of you who love B-list heroes, it might be your cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, several of our favorite heroes (Flash, Cyborg, Martian Manhunter) do star in this issue. What essentially takes the wind out of my sails for this issue is two things: 1) This issue is the “Part Two” of Justice League United: Futures End #1. I don’t read JLU (however I picked up this Futures End issue) so I wasn’t keen on all the nuances I’m sure were present. 2) Coupled with this being a JLU tie-in, it is a Futures End tie-in that I can take or leave easily without worrying how wrong or good it was.
Part one in JLU went something like this. Equinox hears a distress signal from Martian Manhunter. She goes to the Justice League for help. Cyborg, now the leader of the Justice League, decides they need to heed the call. Martian Manhunter is serving as a warden of sorts on Mars that holds a bunch of baddies that couldn’t be contained on Earth. The prison on Mars has a bunch of security measures, one that maintains a massive forcefield around the planet. As the League plus Equinox land on Mars, several prisoners attack them. Equinox finds J’onn in the basement being held mentally in check by Grodd and Captain Atom. They brought the League to Mars so Captain Atom and whoever else he wants to take with him can escape.
This brings us to the issue at hand. The story opens up with what I see as a direct reference to Futures End #19. This might be a spoiler if you’re reading that series. In that issue, Ray Palmer (Atom) is told he must be the new leader of Stormwatch. He says he is not the man he used to be, and is told that he must, “…become something else. Become something better.” Hop back into Justice League and we see the same reference, this time made by Captain Atom. He is lamenting his position as prisoner on this martian prison, how he’s become something like other evil people. He says, “I used to be something else. Something better…” You’ve got Ray Palmer -who is Atom- being told to become something better and you have Captain Atom recalling how he was something else, something better. I don’t know what’s behind it, but I like it. Like some weird symmetry or something. Regardless, that was my favorite part of the issue.
The entire issue hinges on the fact that Captain Atom is ridiculously powerful and anyone else’s attempts to combat him are futile. We are treated to treatises on how he can bend time and space and quantum this and that…I know many readers enjoy that sort of thing, but it’s not my favorite type of material. We are told constantly how weak everyone else is and how Captain Atom will kill everyone on the planet if they don’t let him get through the force field to escape which they aren’t willing to do. The tension is weaker than our heroes attacks. Is it a spoiler if I say what happens at the conclusion? I suppose.
- Equinox, Martian Manhunter, and Captain Atom are all characters you’d love to be reading about.
- Superman’s near-godlike strength doesn’t bother you.
- You‘ve already purchased Justice League United: Futures End #1 and wanted to know what happened.
This is not exactly what I wanted from Justice League during Futures End month. I could appreciate Lemire’s love for the characters, but I feel like it’s somewhat out of place in these pages. It isn’t an incredibly flawed story; it just doesn’t blow me away.