See, my problem is that I keep trying to find cohesion where there is none. Thematically, there are throughlines, perhaps, but they are often tenuous and, quite frankly, rely on me making small leaps to bring them all together. And that was when I was only writing about Futures End. Now that we have entered September and there’s the line-wide “Futures End” event, finding cohesion, even on a thematic level, is damn near impossible. We’re only in the second week and I’m not at all sure what DC intended with this month. Some titles hint at the events of the weekly series, most contradict part of them, and a few are focused enough to at least provide an issue for the monthly readers of the title to buy. If, you know, its issue this month is actually done by the regular creative team, which is iffy at best. Last year’s “Villain Month” line of books were at least willing to divorce themselves from the regular line, to do their own thing and, in a few rare cases, actually worry about the regular monthly readers. Hell, many titles had numerous one-shots under their banner, while a bunch of regular monthlies just skipped a month. There seemed to be plan there. This time around, I can’t see it.
One would hope that I could at least bring in the regular Futures End themes: the effect of technology, what being a superhero means, and what a post-war world is like to live in. Those are the main ideas that the weekly series revolves around. If you squint hard enough, you can blur the superhero one to a broader ‘the conflicts of differing priorities’ and that almost seems to apply across the comics I’ve read this week. But, isn’t that almost all fiction? The lines are drawn a bit more thickly in superhero comics, sure…
I have stuck to the one-shots that are either written by one of the Futures End co-writers or feature characters from the weekly series (oh, and Infinity Man and the Forever People since I buy that every month and one of its co-writers wrote this issue), and that approach has brought me very little cohesion. You’d think it would. If there was a group of comics that would seem to form its own little group this month, it would be them. Two weeks in and there have been, perhaps, three (maybe four) of the one-shots that seem even quasi-related to the weekly series. Last week’s Green Arrow issue was the only explicit tie-in with this week’s World’s Finest playing a similar role, acting as a prequel to some of the events of the weekly, showing how Power Girl wound up on Cadmus Island only to become a pawn of Brother Eye. That one almost worked for me given the animosity Fifty Sue shows Power Girl in the one-shot and the way she treats the Brother Eye controlled version in issue 19 this week. Last week’s Earth 2 and Action Comics (which I got this week) and this week’s Constantine share some characters from the weekly, but either flat-out contract their portrayal there or work on a parallel tangent that has no relation to the weekly. (Is anything learned about Superman in Action Comics that we didn’t already know from the weekly?)
Constantine can’t even be placed within the framework of the weekly series so far. Does it take place before it? At some point during it? He appears infrequently enough that it could be either, although most likely before. After recently reading the first two volumes of Constantine, the issue held a minor bit of interest as a quasi-reader of the monthly; it nonetheless seems like an opportunity to expand on his periodic appearances in the weekly was missed. Hell, there was little to necessarily distinguish this issue from one taking place in the present Nu52DCU. So, what’s the point?
There’s the hope that the issues that don’t tie into the weekly series will at least appeal to the readers of the monthly comic they’re depicting five years hence (and, judging from what people say, the Grayson one succeeded), which is something I can see happening with Justice League United. Taking place well after that version of the team disbanded, it’s a part ‘getting the gang back together’ (except not really) and telling a big Justice League story that continues into next week’s Futures End: Justice League #1. The disappointment there, for me, comes from Jeff Lemire not delivering something that expands on the appearances of the League in Futures End in a way that reflects the plots of that series. Much like I said about last week’s Aquaman issue, written by Dan Jurgens, maybe the second part of the story will do what I’m hoping.
Aside from Constantine (where I’ve only read the first 12 issues in trades), Infinity Man and the Forever People is the only title this month that I’m buying that I’m reading as a regular reader of the monthly. It’s the fourth issue of the series we’ve gotten (with the fourth penciller!), so it’s still very much in the early stages of the title, particularly since this version of the Forever People is a reworked one from the Kirby originals. It’s a decent ghost story that suffers from Dan DiDio’s heavy-handed writing (and the cover kind of giving away the ending) and there may be some connections to the weekly series. It’s hard to say given the number of contradictions the one-shots have provided. Something it does that’s hard to ignore is, after three issues, it gives a doomed vision of the group of characters we’re following. While few people honestly believe that this is a future of the Nu52DCU that will ever be reached, it’s a little odd to get a future where the group is splintered (possibly mostly dead) and one of its members obsessively uses her powers to stay with her dead boyfriend in a manner that’s not at all real. Oh, how Kirby’s bright, optimistic flower children have fallen…
My one hope for an issue that will augment Futures End is the Booster Gold one-shot in two weeks (and maybe the Superman one) and that’s only because he appeared in the teaser image for the weekly and has yet to make an appearance (that I’ve caught). Even if it does do what I want, that makes how many titles out of 40 with the words “Futures End” on the cover that actually relate to Futures End?
Again: what’s the point?
Was it only for the 3D covers?
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