Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Future's End #1 & #2 - A Review

After reading the lackluster Future's End #0 (which DC Comics released on Free Comic Book Day this year), I fully intended to give this series a miss.  I've had my fill of stories involving dark futures, the heroes failing to save the day and enough angst and ennui to fill a dozen Morrisey albums.  The fact that the story - at its most basic level - was a blatant rip-off of X-Men: Days Of Future Past didn't help matters.

Still, I happened to read a preview of Future's End #2 and learned that it would involve the funeral of Green Arrow.  Being as big a fan of Oliver Queen as I am, that was enough to pique my curiosity.  So I picked up the first two issues last weekend to see what I might see.

Not much, as it turns out.

Future's End #1 combines the worst aspects of Countdown and Brightest Day.  Specifically, we get to see a lot of heroes die horrible, random deaths and we get to see Ronnie Raymond act like an incompetent, entitled douche-bag.  Why DC Comics keeps forcing the unnatural Ronnie Raymond/Jason Rusch partnership is beyond me.  I don't know anyone who likes this version of Firestorm and the low sales figures/cancellation of the New 52 Firestorm series would seem to bear out that idea that more people hated it than not.

Indeed, Roy Harper says it best in Future's End #2 when he calls Raymond "a liar... As well as a fraud -- phony -- and a complete and total coward."  And he is not wrong.  Raymond is directly responsible for Oliver Queen's death and his actions in this issue do nothing to endear him to the reader.  Yet I somehow think we are meant to sympathize with Ronnie, because all he wanted to do was sleep with his girlfriend while on the clock at his day job as Oliver Queen was radioing for him, specifically, to help avert a disaster.

This doesn't work.  At all.

What does work is the funeral sequence, which has a hint of Jeff Lemire's writing about it.  There are so many wonderful, subtle details revealed here.  Roy Harper in a red costume modeled on Green Arrow's uniform.  Black Canary crying in the background.  And Animal Man's eulogy, in which he talks about Oliver Queen leading the rebellion against a second Apokoliptian invasion.

Now THAT is a comic I want to read!  Alas, that's the biggest problem with this series and - in many ways - much of the New 52 line so far.  We keep getting teased about stories that are far more interesting in abstract than the stories we've been given.

I want to see Green Arrow fighting alien invaders with nothing but sheer chutzpah and a madman's arsenal of trick arrows.  I want to see how Roy Harper became his staunchest defender and why Dinah Lance cries the hardest at his death.  But most of all, I want a story where the heroes are fighting villains instead of each other.

This is not that story.  Maybe Justice League United will become that story in the future?

I hope so.  I'd really like to read that story.

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