We're three issues into this weekly DC megaseries. It started with chaos and violence in the Free Comic Book Day issue 0. There was a lot of action -- and one gloriously creepy moment -- but with the dystopic 35-year future didn't have a lot of emotional weight. And the OMAC cyborgs of various superheroes were creepy, but the possibility of a reset button was far too apparent in the opening scenes -- in fact, that's what the entire series is about.
Issue 1, set merely 5 years into our future, wasn't much of an improvement. Setting four plot threads in motion, the book didn't have much cohesion. Grifter kills some Daemonites masquerading as humans; Brother Eye trounces Stormwatch; Batman Beyond fights one last OMAC-borg, and Ron Raymond and Jason Rusch argue about their responsibilities as Firestorm, leading them to be too late to save Green Arrow's life. But remember, this is a possible future, so a shocking death still doesn't have much weight.
So why, then, did issue 2 suddenly start to click for me? Part of it was the superhero funeral, an event big enough to feel like the issue was about something. We see some heroes inexplicably changed, in the sort of intriguing ways that brought to mind the giant Hawkgirl in 52 (a development that went nowhere, alas). Mr. Terrific is for some reason a Twitter-trending douche. Superman (or Superboy or -girl) is seen in the background in a Wildfire-style containment suit. Animal Man was apparently best friends with Ollie -- he delivers his eulogy. There was an invasion on Earth 2 a while back, and refugees came to Earth 1. Possible futures are at their best when they try to intrigue rather than shock, and that's what's going on here.
Meanwhile, King Farraday is investigating the Grifter killings, Lois Lane gets a mysterious package relating to Oliver Queen, and there's a bartender who seems really disillusioned with superheroes as a whole. Given his hairstyle and the fact that his bar is named The Wounded Duck, I'm guessing he's Tim Drake.
I very nearly didn't pick up issue 2, and if it hadn't been such a light week, I wouldn't have. But suddenly, there are puzzles to solve.Suddenly, I'm invested.
A few neat (to me) revelations in this week's Future's End (#14). We'll see how they all add up:
1) According to Lois, Green Arrow died 13 weeks ago. So although it's not been as strict as 52, this series is progressing somehow in real(ish) time. Individual scenes seem to take place at their own pace, though -- this week's Batman Beyond scene took place only moments after last week's. But the individual storylines seem to have room for ellipses of time here and there.
2) Emiko -- the archer traveling with Barda -- is apparently Green Arrow's sister. Huh, how bout that?
3) An Ugh moment. Little sociopath Fifty-Sue tries to play on Barda & Emiko's sympathies, pretending to be coerced by Slade (after only a moment earlier seeming totally down with fighting them, so it's a lame gambit to begin with). What makes it worse is here line "You wouldn't believe the things he makes me do" -- which seems an in-character implication for Sue to make -- as I said, she's got a sociopathic streak a mile wide -- but it still brings to mind the most unsavory scene of The Judas Contract, considering Terra's age. It's a line I just see no need for, even though it's completely vague.
4) I'm not sure -- the issue isn't entirely clear on this -- but we might be meeting the Earth 2 Lana Lang, as one of the e2 scientists held captive at Cadmus. Her name's Lana, and her look fits, anyway.
5) Lois somehow -- and there's nothing to show us how -- unlocks the pyramid from the mystery box she was sent at the end if issue 2. She gets visions of Earth 2 (lots of its heroes being defeated), including herself as Red Tornado. (Also in this scene, we learn that Clark Kent has been missing for quite some time, and Lois keeps a framed photo of him on her desk.)
There's also some Batman Beyond/heist gang posturing, a fight scene between Barda & Emiko vs Deathstroke & Fifty Sue, and Grifter and Sue learn that there *are* stealth OMACs. Nothing particularly notable about that stuff. Oh, and Red Robin gives the necklace back to his girlfriend and lies about it. Ho hum.
Next issue it looks like we get more Masked Superman, more Frankenstein & Hawkman, and some E2 Hawkgirl! Looking forward to it.
Er, I'm sorry: harmonic convergence! Or, at least, with issue 16, some storylines are beginning to converge.
Most notably, we see that Mister Terrific's uSperes -- or at least the AI he's been talking to -- are connected to Braniac, who's also taken control of the Engineer, in deep space. Worse yet, Mister Terrific *knows* the AI is actually extraterrestrial. So that seems pretty shady.
Deathstroke is back on Cadmus, working with Fifty Sue, Farraday and E2 Lana Lang in trying to figure out the stealth OMAC problem -- mostly marking time there, though Sue gets some fun dialogue.
We get to meet Stormguard, a new Captain America type figure who was a hero of the war with Earth-2. The deal he busts has a connection to the criminal geneticist Ethan Boyer, whom Rampage broke out of prison and whom Superman has been trying to track down. (As far as I can tell, Boyer is a new character from this series.)
Meanwhile, Superman fights Rampage some more, as Lois rushes to the scene... along with a leaping figure in a red sweatshirt who's most likely the former Tim Drake. We also see the bottom of Superman's facemask smashed away, and learn:
a) He has a face, so he's not Wildfire (a really out-there guess that would have been awesome -- and talk about hiding in plain sight!)
b) He's a white guy. So he's not the Earth-2 Val-Zod, either. (Which his tough-guy dialogue seemed to point away from, anyway.)
From what I recall, issue 17 is when this Superman's ID is revealed. Any final guesses?
Sounds like the name of a late 60s rock group. Didn't they play at Woodstock?
Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:
Okay, issue 19 has just shipped, and we've discovered both who the Masked Superman is -- spoilers, it's Shazam -- and also we've learned where Clark is, too. Spoilers, he;'s farming in a small village on the Horn of Africa. And at the end of the issue, we see that Lois has decided to run the story of the Shazam deception. (Good for her!)
We've seen Braniac start to make a move, and discover that he's the threat Stormwatch is intended to face. (And that Ray Palmer has been appointed to new leader of Stormwatch, against his will.)
We've seen Batman Beyond break into Terrifitech with his team of crooks, and then betray them -- well, most of them -- to Mister Terrific's security team.
We've seen the Earth-2 captives on Cadmus Island turn against their captors, under the control of Brother Eye. (Which may be a pawn of Braniac? I'm not sure.) And we know that Green Arrow is in fact alive, and planning a secret assault on the island with the help of his half sister Emiko, some Outsiders, Big Barda, and a few others.
A lot's happened. I don't know who else is reading this series, but I'm very glad I am. I'm having a blast.
Also: Of the Futures End tie-ins I've picked up, the only ones that seem really relevant to this story are Green Arrow, Earth 2, and (possibly) Swamp Thing. The Batgirl story is totally unrelated, as far as I can tell, but absolutely wonderful as a stand-alone.
I'm kinda sad that the Earth 2 heroes are so useless through most of this, but I'm going to hang in there until the end I think.
Yeah, they've been captured so far. and now they're drones. I think we'll see some changes to that soon, though.
In any event, they'll be getting their own weekly next month, so we'll soon be seeing a lot of them.
I haven't been reading Future's End, but I am getting some review copies of the standalone issues. I've only read a couple, and was surprised by how easily I caught on to what was going on. (I had NO idea what was going in the early issues of Future's End.)
Some of the tie-in books have been really good; I think the two parter that starts in Justice League United and ends in JLA should be a lot of fun. It's shaping up that way.
And Batgirl. Whoa, what a story. IMO, it's a contender for single issue of the year.
Okay, as superhero/villain names go, naming a superstrong British duo Banger and Mash is pretty inspired.
I liked it, but man is this a slow moving plot.
ComiXology is having a sale they're calling "The Road to Convergence" and it includes Future's End 1-43 and World's End 1-21. I was wondering if they're worth buying. I only skimmed this thread a bit because I want to avoid spoilers but what I've taken from the discussion here (plus reviews of the book on Amazon) lead me to believe that Future's End is worth reading.
What about World's End, though? I've only been able to find reviews of specific issues, not an opinion on the series as a whole. Since I'm trying to avoid those ol' spoilers, I haven't read those reviews. What say you, Knights of this Round Table? Is it worth reading, too?
I followed it for awhile, mostly because it followed a number of my favorite characters (Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Earth 2 Superman), but I started lapsing. I've also really lapsed on Batman Eternal, but somehow I'm still buying that one. I think World's End and Future's End somehow seemed more daunting.
Sorry, when I started this response, I thought it was going to be more helpful...