For Free Comic Book Day this year readers were treated to a starter issue for DC Comic’s new big event for the year, “Futures End”. This series deals with the future of the DC Universe (DCU), starting 35 years in the future, before returning to the closer 5 years in the future. The series, announced in December of 2013, deals with an apocalypse that threatens the entire universe.
The initial entry to the series is somewhat confusing, beginning at the tail end of a war between the remaining heroes and villains against “the bugs”, cyborgs controlled by Brother Eye. The stakes are clearly high as heroes and villains, worn down and haggard looking, team up to protect the remaining humans. Frankenstein, whom I had always considered a bit playerin even the new DCU, appears as one of the few of the cyborgs to retain his own personality. He then makes a horrifying reveal of Black Canary’s face grafted to his chest before using her sonic scream to disintegrate the Flash.
We are then shown the whole Earth including Gotham, Themyscira, and Atlantis are all controlled by bugs as well as littered with the corpses of a number of heroes and villains such as Green Lantern and Deathstroke. In Metropolis, Superman is revealed to have been thought dead until he appears, assimilating the remaining heroes trying to shut down Eye’s power. As Grifter is eliminated he radios “tell Bruce we failed.”
We then jump to Wayne Manor where we see Batman Beyond (Terry McGuiness) informing Batman (Bruce Wayne) about the the failed plan. Bruce is determined to travel back in time with a special bracelet to stop it all from happening, which Terry has trouble wrapping his head around and strikes me as odd given the universe they live in. Before they can, the bugs break in, cutting off Bruce’s arm. Terry rushes to his side telling him to hang on, to which Bruce sardonically replies “with what Terry?” He then instructs Terry to go in his place, warning him not to contact past versions of either Batman or Superman, saying they will stop him. Bruce watches as the remaining enemies close in and Terry makes the jump, claiming in a moment of strange regret for the Dark Knight, “This is not why I lived. To die like this…” When Terry arrives, his suit’s system, “A.L.F.R.E.D.”, (whose voice I imagine somewhere between Paul Bettany’s J.A.R.V.I.S. from the Iron Man films and Clive Revill’s Alfred from Batman the Animated Series) informs him that he landed 5 years ahead of the target date, and that the event they were traveling back to prevent has already begun.
Overall a pretty good entry into the new story. It’s unusual to see so many of the DCU characters, from lesser known ones as well as the big players, appear so desperate. Really sets a dark tone for the series that I’m excited to see more of. I hope that as time goes on we get more info of the time between the five years ahead and the thirty-five years as well as what’s between now and the five year jump. It will also be interesting to watch a character like Terry McGuiness not just interact with more current DCU members, but also deal with being in a time where he’s not surrounded by war.
Issue #0 of New 52: Futures End is available for free on Comixology.