There are 17 issues left now and this is the beginning of the final breather, I assume, before we head into that final stretch where it comes to a head with Brainiac and Brother Eye. This week, we’re given a quieter issue that follows up on the two recently resolved plots: the Firestorm/Madison/Red Robin plot and the Green Arrow/Cadmus/Earth 2 heroes plot. Neither plot is fully resolved, because nothing is ever fully resolved and the resolutions created new plots to be resolved. It’s the never-ending battle for a reason. We’ve already looked at the solicitations for what’s coming next (barring the final five issues) and it didn’t seem like we get down to business again, really, until January. There’s still some work to fit the various disparate threads into something coherent before they can converge properly.
The biggest connection that needs to be made is the one between Brainiac and Brother Eye. Is Brother Eye simply an aspect of Brainiac? Will they form an alliance? Will the weakening of Earth at the hands of Brainiac result in Brother Eye’s rule of the planet? These are the two big antagonists of the series and, thus far, beyond similar red word balloons, there hasn’t been a connection drawn. While the ‘real’ Brainiac does not necessarily seem to be an artificial lifeform, his aspects and creations do appear to be them, so there is that connection. It’s a tenuous one, but could be the way in. The early images focused on Brainiac, but the ending images and text were Brother Eye... I’m betting on Brother Eye revealing that he survived after Brainiac has been defeated. The solicits don’t back me up entirely there, but those are hard to read as completely truthful (or truthful in the obvious way). Unless Brother Eye’s victory is dependent upon Brainiac and he is basically an overseer for the planet under Brainiac.
Every other plot relates to those two, so, without seeing how Brainiac and Brother Eye connect, it’s hard to see how every other plot will come together. There are some that are easy to track: the Superman/John Constantine one and the Stormwatch/SHADE one both tie in very explicitly to Brainiac, while the Batman Beyond/Batman/Mr. Terrific one tie into Brother Eye. It will be how the two plots in the former wind up connecting when the time comes, and how the various elements contained the latter wind up connecting with one another that will prove interesting. It seems like the elements of the Batman Beyond/Batman/Mr. Terrific plot have been circling one another forever and desperately need a complete issue devoted to them to get them into workable shape for the final push. We still don’t know if Tim Drake will factor in, how the future BatJoker will influence things, and if Terry’s mission will be revealed to Batman and Mr. Terrific – and how they will respond. Of the big plots that have loose ends to wrap up before we see more plots converge and combine, this is the one that has the most left open, I think.
Other loose ends include the new Firestorm, Fifty Sue, Superman/Shazam, Grifter, the role of the Earth 2 heroes, King Faraday and Rock... Those are all kind of wild cards that could wind up playing roles again or not. I assume the new Firestorm and Fifty Sue will, but could easily see Grifter or the Earth 2 heroes shunted aside for whatever reason. Really, these are the loose ends from the resolved plots. The inner mechanics of those plots have been dealt with, leaving the leftovers to somehow work their ways into the Brainiac/Brother Eye stuff. It seems like they’ve been resolved to this degree solely for the various survivors to be ready for what comes next. That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if the Batman Beyond/Batman/Mr. Terrific plot isn’t given the full issue/resolution treatment soon.
The biggest loose end plot is the only one that hasn’t shown up in Futures End proper and that’s the role of Booster Gold. We saw Brainiac trying to gain access to his headquarter (which exist outside of space and time) in Futures End: Booster Gold #1 and still have yet to see the character in the pages of the weekly series. Given his appearance in the initial teaser image and the direct connection to Brainiac, it seems like his role will be large. I wonder if it will work, though, given his late entry into the series when it happens. Unless he shows up soon, whatever he does to help save the day may feel like a deus ex machina more than anything. Or, he won’t help save the day and will be a puppet of Brainiac. After all, he didn’t look like he standing too strong in that one-shot... Will he be another aspect/tool of Brainiac?
Another question that I want some answers to: what does the title mean? The comic is called Futures End (well, technically, it’s The New 52: Futures End, but I’ve never used it) and we haven’t been given a clear indication of what that’s supposed to indicate. We’ve seen two possible futures for the Nu52DCU in that the entire series either takes place “Five years from now” or “35 years from now.” Will this series undo not just the “35 years from now” future, but the “Five years from now” one as well? Given that the end of this series goes right into Convergence and there’s talk of major shakeups on DC books after that project, are we talking about a major shakeup of the Nu52DCU as a whole? Is the defeat of Brainiac that big? Is the willingness to explore the pre-New 52 worlds a sign that this one is at an end? I doubt it, but it’s DC, so who knows...
There’s a lot of story left to tell in Futures End and we look to be in a place where various plots and characters are being positioned for the arrival of Brainiac and/or Brother Eye. So far, they’ve managed to resolve some of their plots in natural, organic ways, and I hope that continues. Otherwise, we’re in for some clunky, mechanical issues where the necessities of plot manoeuvring will be painfully obvious. At one time, I would have expected that from this comic, but it’s really come around over the course of October and November, and I’m excited for what’s coming next.