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Perhaps the most encompassing on DC’s recent weekly series, Futures End, has recently begun its second month. So it might be the time to go back and delve into an aspect of the series that some might not have fully grasped at first. This is going to touch upon being a review, but the main focus is going to be mainly on what exactly it means for this series to be set “five years later”. A concept such as this is not original to DC’s roster, most famously for the shake-up with the Legion of Super-Heroes decades ago (which also involved Keith Giffen), and was played with once more for the post-Infinite Crisis status quo.
The thing being, however, in those cases at least, that those were more or less legitimate forward jumps. A limited series like 52 would have been used to fill in the gap, but other than that, the years were jumped. It is, quite clearly, not the case with Futures End. Especially given the time travelling shenanigans prevalent in the series from the outset. Futures End comes in alongside already ongoing series. Series set in the now holding shelf space with a series that is more or less showing where these series will be in the future. It’s not even something that’s being ignored as well. Venditti’s run on The Flash with Brett Booth plays directly into it, with the series already undergoing an arc where the two timelines intersect. So at this point everything is straight on careening into this status quo that is being set up.
A status quo that is, quite honestly, sounding not especially interesting. For a series of one shots or maybe a mini, this could float, but as something that is being touted as where things come to be five years later, it feels like more of a whimper. It’s not even the future timeline that Futures End is even being set out to prevent, that’s actually “35 years later”. So, as of the “future present” (time travel creates terms like that), there’s nothing really in place to prevent it. Or, really, it being prevented would be peripheral to the plot, and so when it will be prevented, as these things inevitably are, it will not be as central as it should be.
In fact one only has to look at the upcoming September gimmick month solicits to see their easy way out of this – Futures End: Booster Gold #1. Simple as that. Of course Booster has been said to have his very own role in the main series, he was included on the Futures End teaser image. The thing being that there is already such a various swirl of subplots, only seeming to slow in September, that Booster’s part in all of this might still come out somewhat of left field. Much like how Mandrakk, who was set up, was said to have come out of nowhere in the finale of Final Crisis. This first month has been solely set up and seems to continue that way until at least August.
Regardless, it’s mainly their exit strategy, and the worrisome nature of it, that is the point of contention. Connecting it to the mainline continuity is going to create a bunch of nitpickers. Though, overall, it is not the thing that I think is the most gregarious about Futures End. That would have to be the fact that the story as a whole is set in the aftermath of this crossover between Earth 2 and the main DC Earth. The effects of this long awaited, and pretty much inevitable, crossover are laid out full stock – with more of the effects shown in the upcoming Worlds End weekly series.
With all of this going on already, then what is left for the actual crossover? All that having all of this out right now does is take the wind out the sails for when they really pull that trigger. A long and extended version “been there and done that”. Where would the excitement be in an occurrence that has had two weeklies about it before it even happens? This is the sort of thing that also doubles back on itself. Given that Futures End has given some really large hints as to what happens and what the aftermath is – then if those don’t go as already said it just weakens what draw Futures End had to begin with.
The one-shots themselves compound this since what is the use in doing these one-shots about a future story line that might never get the ongoing to that point, nor will likely be followed up on. Unlike “Zero” and “Villains” Month(s), it’s not exactly that simple to start a new arc with such a conceit, like those such as Dan Didio have said is the plan for the Forever People issue. All that this points to is yet even more time travel shenanigans, and at this point in a story already about time travel it just gets boring and repetitive. It’s the type of situation “enough already” was invented for. Comments and thoughts on this topic would be appreciated below.