“You cannot fuck the future. The future fucks you, sir.” That’s from Deadwood, or, if you prefer in some slightly other words, Saturday Night Fever. Part of me keeps waiting for the reversal of that sentiment to be said by Terry McGinnis when BatJoker shows up: “The future won’t end me. I’m going to end the future.” That’s his mission: to fuck the future. It’s funny how many superhero stories involve that being central to the premise despite them being limited to changing the future, not stopping it. The future always happens, even if everyone is dead. And there are so many futures in Futures End to fuck us all.
In 35 years, Brother Eye will rule the world and Terry McGinnis will be sent back to stop him. He will arrive too late, five years from now. He will do nothing of consequence. Brother Eye will seemingly be destroyed by other people not at all influenced by anything McGinnis does. He’s pretty useless, I guess. His discussion with Plastique is interesting in how depressing he makes escaping a dystopian future and not actually having to do anything to prevent it sound. Sure, he wanted to save the world, but he didn’t have to. Except, of course, that makes no sense. If he didn’t do anything or influence any actions, then how was his future thwarted? Shouldn’t it have happened anyway? As we see, Brother Eye isn’t actually dead, so nothing has been stopped yet. The future isn’t done fucking young Mr. McGinnis.
The most depressing part of his self-pity is that he somehow sees nothing else for him. He’s still Batman from the future, except his depressing origin seemingly didn’t happen. What a funny criticism of superheroes: without tragedy and pain, they will do nothing. We all knew that already, but to have it reinforced yet again never fails to warm my heart. For a genre so focused on showing us how selfless and wonderful people can be, it sure does like to remind us that no one does anything without a reason, be it self-interest, self-loathing, or some misguided notion of vengeance against the world. Really, the future fucks them, so they decide to fuck the future. Pathetic. He’s just another loser in a pervert suit. And make no mistake, they don’t get more ‘pervert suit’ than Terry’s costume. It also looks like he’s half ready to go steal a bite to eat with Plastique... What the hell, eh? They must have something big planned for Terry, because, thus far, he’s been my nominee for Most Useless Character of 2014. But, by WWE booking logic, he’s winning the title from Brother Eye and Brian Azzarello is a wrestling fan (and the man seemingly behind much of the Terry material).
I try to always be aware of the title of the comic, too. The word is plural for a reason. Brother Eye will be stopped and the 35-years-from-now future will end. But, what about the five-years-from-now future? How will it end? How will it be wiped from the face of continuity? It will. It will never happen. They may all be imaginary stories, but one in particular happened in the minds of us all... yet, five years from now, there will be DC superhero comics. And they won’t look too different from this. You can’t fuck the future.
What I can’t figure out is if the future depicted five years from now never happening counts as fucking us. The idea that this is a weekly series depicting events that will never ‘happen’ is a strange one to consider, especially in this strange world of corporate superhero comics where everything seems split into two groups: Comics That Count and You Must Read to Understand Anything, or Comics That Barely Seem like They’re Published by the Same Company at All. Anything in between dies a slow, horrible death of apathy. Futures End does not depict a future Nu52DCU that will ever count and it is very much a comic that seems like the sort of comic that DC publishes right now. Does that place it in the middle despite DC doing everything they can to act like it’s very important and everyone must read it? At this point, it feels like its primary role is as a prologue to the shit they’re pumping out as fill-ins while they move across the country. April 2015 is the future and it looks like it’s thinking about fucking us. That’s not what the quote I led off was talking about, but here we are.