One of the many big problems with a line-wide crossover is that books that have no business being dragged into someone else's story find themselves in it for a month or so. It's all the worse when it's a brand-new title; right as the comic is trying to establish itself and build up some sort of rhythm, along comes the crossover. That's why I found myself so surprised with "Infinity Man and the Forever People: Futures End" by Dan DiDio, Keith Giffen, Philip Tan and Jason Paz. For a book that should have never been dragged into "Futures End," it instead uses the crossover in a surprisingly elegant way.
The book focuses on just two of the members of the team, Mark and Dreamer, alive in a far-off removed location called the Cadmus Singularity. DiDio and Giffen quietly build in a lot of potential future history for the DC Universe; a war involving the Lanterns, the New Gods somehow being involved, and a neutral zone being constructed. But if you strip all of that away, "Infinity Man and the Forever People: Futures End" is really a character study on Mark and Dreamer; readers learn how they interact when the rest of the team isn't around, and how they'd react to suddenly being isolated from everyone and everything else in the universe.
As the book progresses, you might guess where DiDio and Giffen's story is heading in "Infinity Man and the Forever People: Futures End." That's actually not only all right, I think it's very deliberate. The reader's supposed to figure out what's happening a step ahead of its characters, here, and what people might identify as the big "twist" is in fact only the first part of the conclusion. It's a dark and slightly distressing comic when you think about it, and I have to commend DiDio and Giffen for not being afraid to head down that path with these characters.
Tan's pencils work for this particular story; I don't think I'd want to see him as the regular artist for "Infinity Man and the Forever People," but given the tone and direction of the "Futures End" tie-in, this is exactly the look that we should have. It's a dark and gloomy look at the world of the Forever People, with a lot of crosshatching and grimacing on faces. The Parademons look genuinely demonic under Tan's pencil, here, and it suits the dystopia nature of "Futures End." Even the technology of the Cadmus Singularity comes across as cold and impersonal, fitting in with DiDio and Giffen's conception.
"Infinity Man and the Forever People: Futures End" was a nice surprise; this isn't the sort of story you'd want in the title every month, but it's a smart way to take the obligatory tie-in and make it something different. It's a deliberately uneasy, grim future for the Forever People, one that makes one suspect more than ever that the timeline of "Futures End" will eventually be erased when it's all said and done. Either way, though, this is a smart approach to handle this one-shot.