The New 52: Futures End FCBD Special Edition #0
by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, and Keith Giffen
Edited by Joey Cavalieri
Cover Artist: Ryan Sook
Review by Drew Bittner
DC Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: B00JVCNZXM
Date: 07 May 2014 List Price FREE Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The future is not what it used to be.
[Editor's NOTE: The sidebar lists the issues read for this review. You can follow the links to see what the covers look like and details on writers and artists for that particular issue. All of these issue have the same review which is an overview of the comics that were read for this particular review.]
Thirty five years from now, humanity is nearly extinct. Every living human has been "seeded" with technology by the horrific Brother Eye, which controls everything. Only a tiny few remain--but even the Flash and Captain Cold cannot withstand an augmented and monstrous ex-hero, and Batman himself faces his last battle in the Batcave. Only an insanely dangerous plan has a chance of success: sending someone back in time to stop Brother Eye from ever being built.
And thus Batman's student, Terry McGinnis (Batman Beyond) ends up five years from now, struggling to fight a future that has already been set in motion.
This is the basic premise of The New 52: Futures End, a DC Comics event that gives readers a peek at what might lie in store for our heroes (and villains) years down the road. And boy, is there a lot to unpack...
One of the biggest "yet to comes" is a war between DC's main Earth (Prime Earth) and Earth 2, which sees the deaths of many. In this near-future, there is some friction between the refugees (or Twos) and the natives (the Ones). Lois Lane, in this time, is a world-famous news blogger who has been put on the trail of a believed-dead hero who's now a bartender--but what is his role and why is she seeking him out?
Firestorm is a mess; Ronnie Raymond neglects his responsibilities with catastrophic consequences, then virtually imprisons his "co-pilot" Jason Rusch to forestall being blamed for a hero's death. At the same time, Mr. Terrific unveils a startling new technology--the uSphere--which seems to have sinister applications (or at least potential); he is also Terry's primary target, having been one of Brother Eye's primary architects. The other, of course, is Batman.
The Frankenstein Monster, meanwhile, is pulled back into the ranks of SHADO by the Machiavellian Father Time (now embodied as a young girl) and sent with the Atom and others to investigate the annihilation of StormWatch. Their voyage will take them through the Phantom Zone...and into conflict with Black Adam.
Finally, Cole Cash (aka Grifter) is brought down on a mission by King Faraday, a mysterious agent, who drafts him into a private enterprise centered on Cadmus Island--soon to become a focal point for a lot of what's going wrong in this future timeline. Given that Grifter has waged a one-man war on an alien invasion, could this be something that makes Brother Eye inevitable?
Faraday's other errand, keeping an eye on Lois Lane, doesn't fare as well when he is grabbed by the Masked Superman, an unknown individual wearing a variant on Superman's costume with his face hidden behind a helmet. Faraday is warned to stay away from Lois Lane...and he takes the warning seriously. Clearly, this is not your familiar and friendly Superman. So who is he and what is he doing, five years in the future?
Unfolding over the course of weekly installments and tie-ins, Futures End is a big, ambitious story of good intentions gone wrong and idealism subverted by malice. The dystopian future, where heroes like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and even Superman are terrifying cyborg puppets of Brother Eye, is one of the nastiest concocted by a major comics publisher--it's worthy of nightmares, when the implications are considered. A writing team that includes veterans like Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire and more serves to keep the stories running on course, with artists including Ethan van Sciver, Patrick Zircher, Aaron Lopresti, Art Thibert, Dan Jurgens, Mark Irwin and many more providing strong visuals.
DC Comics seems to be laying the groundwork for a number of future events (no pun intended), including a possible celebration of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, the mega-series that completely revamped DC continuity back in 1985. Setting the stage for a cross-worlds war, the reintroduction of the Anti-Monitor (who was the major villain in Crisis), and many unexplained deaths and disappearances, there are a lot of moving parts here.
Tautly rendered, the story is barely begun through the Free Comic Book Day kickoff and the first six installments (which are summarized above). DC is putting some real firepower into this tale, which could reveal the blueprint for the publisher's output for the foreseeable future. If only on that basis (and that's not the only one, believe me), this seems well worth a reader's time.