It’s been about three months since the last big update on Futures End. We are 32 (33 if you count #0) issues in and quite a bit has happened. Like the last update, 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 main story lines boiled down to just the facts from issue #0 through #32. 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?
It begins with Bruce. Thirty-five years from now many of our favorite super beings have been turned into half-cyborgs controlled by “Brother Eye”. Everything in 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 Brother Eye-controlled bug-like cyborg superheroes. 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. Time travel. Math. Just know that Terry hasn’t arrived at the intended time.
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 operating table where we see that Bruce has survived as well. But it’s not going so hot for Bruce. Brother Eye has “mined” Bruce’s mind to figure out how he used time travel. Not only that, though. Brother Eye has created a Bruce Wayne/Joker hybrid. Just look:
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.
Coil and Key get caught by Mister Terrific’s guards and instead of being handed over to the police, Terrific interrogates them to find out who hired them. They tell him “Bruce Wayne”. Terry eventually befriends Plastique and presently they are last seen walking around New York on a date of sorts together.
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. They meet Brainiac and boy is he a big guy. For you.
Meanwhile, one of the Storm Lords (the guys who oversee Stormwatch) tells 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.”
As our search party meets Brainiac, Ray (with the help of Black Adam) comes to rescue them. Ray and Black Adam have made a deal: Adam helps rescue everyone in turn for passage back to Earth. Along with a non-Brainiac controlled Engineer, they make it back to Earth only to be greeted by S.H.A.D.E. who wants to use the Engineer as a weapon against Brainiac.
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 so that it will leave her, Deathstroke, Lana Lang, and Grifter alone.
Fifty Sue leaves the island leaving Grifter, Lana and Deathstroke behind. They see Green Arrow’s Army attack (see Green Arrow below). Deathstroke’s head is ripped off by Fury during the attack. Lana and Grifter escape with Green Arrow’s lot and assume identities as an E2 married couple, Cole and Lana Lang.
Concerning Tim Drake, Lois Lane, Madison Payne, Superman, Constantine…the Works:
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, Madison. (Her story is intertwining a bit, I’ll pick up on that in a second.) Lois and Tim become somewhat understanding of one another and she tells him about a box of clues that was given to her. An arrow, a small pyramid, and some coordinates that lead to the middle of nowhere (she thinks). He tells her to go to the coordinates and she tells him to fess up to Madison about his identity, which doesn’t go so well.
Lois follows his instructions and flies out to the coordinates in the middle of the ocean. She jumps out of a plane and lands on Cadmus island where she sees its destruction by Green Arrow’s Army. She reports on all of it, the mistreatment of E2’s, the destruction of the island, the evil of Cadmus. Yet, she leaves out Green Arrow’s involvement so that the world will think Green Arrow’s still dead.
Rewind a bit. Madison Payne 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 a man named Ethan Boyer, a scientist whom she thought could fix her Rampagey-ness. What we learn is that Ethan Boyer just used Rampage as a decoy for the Masked Superman to chase so he could stay free and out of jail, because Superman wants 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 his secret identity. She is confronted by Stormguard and Shazam, both begging her not to release the secret to the world, but she does. No one’s saying anything about the real Superman, but we know where he is.
See, elsewhere in the pages of Futures End, 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. 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. He seems to get over it when the purple demon attacks Midge, one of Constantine’s pals. Clark fights the purple guy who Constantine calls “the metal angel” and says it was merely a test of Clark’s abilities, that Brainiac, who is a god of sorts, is actually scared of Clark. Clark, Midge and Constantine then leave to search for secret places on Earth where portals exist to other realms where they encounter a Brother Eye -controlled giant blue bear. It’s an odd situation that will take more explanation in later issues, because what we’re left with is confusion. The bear speaks cryptically and blows up.
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.
Jason (one half of Firestorm) is working in a sophisticated science lab with Dr. Yamazake. The doc is a mad man in both senses of the phrase. He’s angry that the Justice League has teleportation technology that they won’t share with the general population, a technology that could have saved his wife had she been able to teleport out of danger which has made him sort of crazy. He and Jason are working together to build a teleporter. Eventually, Dr. Yamazake figures out that Jason and Ronnie are Firestorm and orders Jason out of the lab. Madison, who is friends with both Ronnie and Jason, comes looking for Jason at the lab only to be detained by the crazed doctor and used as a human test subject for his not-so-thoroughly-tested teleporter.
Tim, who hasn’t been able to locate Madison, elicits the help of Ronnie in finding her. They attempt to break into the now heavily guarded lab just after Jason returns to the lab himself. There is a scuffle, Dr. Yamazake turns the machine on with Madison in the tube, ready to be teleported. Ronnie bursts in to save Madison, is hit with an energy blast from the machine, and fails to combine with Jason to form Firestorm. Instead, Madison and Jason combine in the giant explosion and they become Firestorm with Madison’s body being the host. Tim believes Madison to be dead. Ronnie is dead. Dr. Yamazake turns into an invisible Magneto of sorts. At this point in time Firestorm and Dr. Yamazake are both about to converge on the scene of the explosion. A fight is sure to ensue.
Concerning Green Arrow:
Green Arrow fakes his death and is leading an army to combat Cadmus’ terrible handling of Earth-2 heroes. He and a slew of others attack Cadmus Island and blow it up, thinking they’ve destroyed Brother Eye. But we all know Brother Eye isn’t gone yet. We last see Green Arrow chilling out on the beach of his own private island enjoying “retirement” with a mixed drink in hand.
Concerning Mr. Terrific:
Mr. Terrific is a big storyline. He is supposedly responsible (two years ago, mind you) for bringing this mess. He is shown speaking with Brother Eye 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. In fact, both Mister Terrific and Bruce are referred to by Brother Eye is “Father and Other Father”. Bruce doesn’t want Terrific to release the uSphere, but at this point Terrific is on go for releasing it.
There is an incredible amount of information here. I’ve tried boiling it all down but really there are so many different and intertwining story lines that I’ve already ran over 2500 words. If you’re interested in more, check out the weekly reviews as they are more detailed or pick up the first trade paperback. It’s a beast!