Rage. Disappoint. Dumbfoundedness. Let down. These are but a few emotions that seeped from the depths of my soul after reading DC Comic’s big weekly event from 2014-2015, Future’s End. Although a bit behind, I decided to wait for the event to settle and read the event in a full weekend sitting. Here’s my one major question…
WHY DID FUTURE’S END HAVE TO HAPPEN?!?
A few major goals coming out of the event were:
- Explore the past, the present, and the future’s of the current status quo of comics.
- Refresh long-standing characters and give them life beyond the weekly series.
- Introduce fan-favorite Terry McGuinness (Batman Beyond) into the main universe (New52)
As I address these issues, I can’t express the following enough:
SPOILER ALERT FOR FUTURE’S END!
As an alternative future for an already blossoming new continuity, Future’s End saw many recognizable heroes in a disastrous future ruled by Brother Eye, an entity bent of regulating and destroying the current world. Darkseid’s army from Apokolips invaded Earth Prime (along with Earth 2) and Earth Prime hosts the refugees from the destroyed Earth 2. This becomes a point of conflict along with the growing conflicts between heroes and vigilantes, government agents versus soldiers of fortune, magic versus science, and lastly, the impact of new heroes versus the legacy of heroes from the past. While some characters attain noteworthy growth throughout the developing narrative, there are plenty of missed opportunities with characters like Mr. Terrific going from calculating to a moron with no control, Grifter constantly questioning his place and essentially being stuck on an island for most of the story, and King Faraday’s role as a secret agent/behind the scenes character leaves him a one-note character. The story’s overall ambition is to be applauded, but the large cast of characters, the multiple, convoluted storylines, and the slew of artists and writers that take over the story, mixing things too abruptly.
Like I said, the event takes liberties with some of the well-established characters and giving them refreshing new overhauls. Alfred becomes a captivating snarky AI that is lodged in Batman Beyond’s ear, Firestorm changes hosts to a new female form that shares experience and passion, and Shazam, the hero who takes over for a long-lost Superman. What makes these developments upsetting is tied to Batman Beyond’s both inclusion and separation from the New52.
What happens to Batman Beyond is that he becomes the main focus of the event, as he and Alfred are the only ones who traveled to the past (from 35 years into the dying future to 5 years from the New52 current day). As he works to stop the era he came from (the future world from the beloved DC Animated Universe), Terry McGuiness ends up losing his life in a last-ditch effort to save the heroes around him. Tim Drake, a hero who gave up crime-fighting after seeing the Teen Titans decimated, sees Terry’s heroics and decides to follow his path and don the cowl to prevent the apocalypse from the future. Unfortunately, Tim ultimately fails, as he only partly destroys Brother Eye, setting up for a new future where the old future is gone, the new future loses all of the characters established over the past year, and we lose the great Terry McGuiness. While Future’s End is aptly named, it fails to make a lasting impact, we lose an important character who never gets his shot in the main continuity, and the rich world developed over the course of a year is all lost.
What’s worse is that the title has led me down a road to narcissism, as I wonder why weekly titles should exist in the first place. Does the tight schedule give creators more of a challenge? Does the large cast benefit from being together every week? I’ve been interested in other events, but the large weekly comics could not be more unappealing. The possibilities for incredible story-telling are outweighed by the large commitment. Some stories are told in single comics that last 6 issues and have incredible lasting effects for the characters, while some events have no singular point after 12, after 20, after 50+ issues. It’s incredibly disheartening to buy into these stories with great premises when they have a potential to let you down week after week after week.
It may be my huge love for Batman Beyond and how game changing the comic and show have been to me, but when great writers and artist take change to give a hero the spotlight they deserve and the last thing they leave readers with is his death, it makes it hard to believe that the writers really knew what they were doing. For now, I have to tread carefully, as good weeklys are still being made with great fan reception, such as Batman & Robin Eternal. But as for now, I’m not ready for that commitment. Let us know what you think in the comments below or via our Facebook and Twitter pages!
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