Review: NEW 52: FUTURES END #48

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NEW 52: FUTURES END #48
Written by Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire, Brian Azzarello, and Keith Giffen
Art by Allan Goldman, Freddie Williams II, Andy MacDonald, Stephen Thompson, and many more
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: April 1, 2015

The End has finally arrived.

As Tim Drake, propelled into the future by a self-destructing Brother Eye, meets his fate 35 years down the DC Universe’s timeline, we are introduced to the world to come. Is it utopia? Is it the Great Disaster? What becomes of Batman Beyond?

One of the things that’s been so interesting about Futures End is its unpredictability. What seemed at first like a disparate mish-mosh of also-ran characters evolved into a beautifully choreographed patchwork of heroes. Storylines coalesced and intertwined. Who you thought was minor became major. And brand new characters took on a brilliant life of their own.

And with this final issue, Jurgens and company deliver a return to the world of issue #0, bringing the series to its close much like it opened — with a world of possibility to explore and seemingly overwhelming darkness. The only difference? A year later, I’m deeply invested in these characters, and am utterly buoyed by how the series wraps (and what it means for June’s Batman Beyond launch).

Without spoiling the end to the series, it’s fair to say there’s a lot of open questions here. But in the grand tradition of future science fiction masterpieces like Planet of the Apes and Kamandi the Last Boy, the writers have sufficiently satisfied the narrative at hand and left a lot of possibility on the table. Much like its ancestor, 52, Futures End has really been about exploration and expansion, so its conclusion relies on that spirit aggressively.

Like its weekly twin in Earth 2: World’s End, Futures End #48 features multiple pencillers and inkers, breaking apart the single issue. Unlike Earth 2, however, these artists were extremely well chosen, and their work blends so beautifully to make a single issue that holds my attention unbroken until the very end. DC holds Stephen Thompson for the conclusion of the issue — its most emotional moments — and deservedly so. The amount of grief, relief, and exhaustion Thompson is able to communicate makes for a stunning conclusion.

Andy MacDonald’s fight scenes are equally as energetic as his facial expressions are amusing. And across the board, all four art teams capture the figure of Batman Beyond as central to every scene, carrying him through with strong emphasis and clean line. What this issue does more than anything, frankly, is put me on the edge of my seat for Tim to hopefully to keep the black suit and red bat in the coming months, unless a swap is in order in the pages of Convergence — the very place this timeline will be seen next.

It’s difficult to properly express why this issue worked so magically without ruining its final moments for you, but here’s a quick try: Futures End #48 gave priority to emotional beats over physical ones, brought the series full circle without losing what made it special along the way, and opened up what will hopefully be a fascinating stage of further exploration. A proper send off to the New 52 branding, this issue is undoubtedly my favorite of the week. Here’s to what’s on the horizon. Eye can’t wait.

The Verdict: 10/10

 

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7 Comments

  1. SJ Mitchell said:

    They better not retcon this with Convergence. Tim deserves his own series and Future’s End only confirms that. As long as nothing changes…I’m VERY excited for Batman Beyond in June!!

  2. donny said:

    I am total lost as to how you enjoyed this comic but to each their own I guess. For me, this entire series was pointless and insulting. I read this series for free and I still feel as though I was cheated. This is the kind of book that makes me sad to be a comic fan. I saw no exploration or expansion in this book as we literally end up right where we started. In fact I have to ask, is you’r review is an April fool’s joke?
    I’m mostly upset with the way DC continues to treat the Wildstorm characters. It’s clear they just don’t care about them. I love Voodoo and Grifter but they served no point in this story whatsoever. The conclusion to their plot line was laughable and incoherent. I see this book as a giant f-you to the fans. No wonder it ended on April fool’s day. This book gets a 0/10 from me.

  3. Matt SantoriGriffith said:

    Taken as a huge adventure starring Terry McGinnis and Tim Drake, the series works beautifully. Sure, it doesn’t end happily, but neither did Planet of the Apes — a huge classic and much loved film — that the variant cover echoes. I’m not as much a fan of the Wildstorm characters, so I can see if you are how it might be taken differently. But as a fan of future stories, particularly starring offbeat characters that got great moments to shine, I loved this series. A great successor to (although not quite as good as) the weekly series 52.

  4. Harry Coulson said:

    I’m beginning to doubt that Junes batman beyond leads of FE 48 as the cover of issue one shows an aging superman and in FE Superman is assimilated by bro eye, so I’m beginning to think it will be retconned during convergence, who knows maybe Tim will still be BB, but I’d only like tim to continue as BB only if it follows FE, if not I would much rather terry to return as batman.

  5. SJ Mitchell said:

    While the inclusion of an aged Superman does raise questions, it’s quite possible that while Tim didn’t ‘FIX’ the future, he may have altered it enough to allow the appearance of heroes that initially fell as a result of Brother Eye.

  6. Harry Coulson said:

    I wish, i thought that would be the case until i realised the brother eye form of superman is in the issue 48 meaning the superman had been assimilated anyway.

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