By Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen, and Patrick Zircher
We have yet to see the conclusion of the New 52’s first big event series, Forever Evil, yet here we are as DC launches straight into the next major event. The weekly series Futures End, which actually kicked off last week in the Free Comic Book Day release, started with a flash-forward 35 years into the future. This issue starts right where Futures End #0 left off. It opens with Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis, battling a Brother Eye bot that traveled through time with him to five years from “now.” He quickly handles the bot, and then we’re taken on a quick tour to corners near and far of the DC Universe.
We touch base with a whole series of B-listers, such as Stormwatch (with Hawkman on the team, give me that book!), Firestorm, and Grifter, who is infinitely more interesting here in just a few pages then he was in his own monthly book. This issue is all about establishing who will be the featured heroes in this series. The team of writers presents a wide array of story elements that will play out over the next year or so. The plot is a bit disjointed, by design. Readers probably feel slightly lost, but that establishes a hook of some sorts. The readers want to know more about this new status quo. That being said, would that hook be better if we were given new information about characters we’ve grown to love? Or is this series better off using fringe characters to give us perspective to the future of DC? I suppose that’s something we’ll have to wait for September to see, when DC will have a tie in to Futures End for every monthly comic book.
Patrick Zircher is given the opportunity here to have free will with the future of DC. He beautifully mixes static and tame close-up shots to help establish this new timeline with progressively more tense (and fun) layouts. Zircher shows movement in ways that feel natural, as do his designs. For lack of better phrasing, Zircher utilizes the medium of comics awesomely, adding to the story rather than just being background fodder. His art is the highlight of the issue.
Tell me if you’ve heard this before. Dystopian future ruled by robots, heroes must time travel to solve the problem before the source of such pain and misery began. Yeah, thought so. It’s a big hurdle for the writers to clear. The talent to do so is there. Jeff Lemire and Brian Azzarello might be the two best writers DC has on its roster (okay Snyder, Soule, and Venditti aren’t too bad either). Those names draw you to the book. There are flashes of Lemire’s and Azzarello’s writing, particularly some sharp dialogue, but overall the writing is a little flat, which is more likely to happen when establishing a foundation. With this being a future we’ll probably never actually see, it’s a bit of an Elseworlds tale. That’s not a bad thing, although wasn’t the point of the New 52 a chance to freshen up the entire line?