Sunday, September 6, 2015

Futures End #11

• Brian Azzarello
• Jeff Lemire
• Dan Jurgens
• Keith Giffen
• Georges Jeanty
• Cam Smith
• Hi-Fi
• Taylor Esposito
• Ryan Sook
Assistant Editor
• Kyle Andrukiewicz
• Joey Cavalieri
Group Editor
• Matt Idelson
Superman created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.

Our cover is sort of a continuation of issue #2. Firestorm is now broken up into Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch, and Arsenal is still furious with Ronnie. The Justice League disapprovingly glowers in the background, but once again refuses to really do anything. I think I would like this cover a lot more if the League were all in the same proportion. It's rather odd, and almost alarming, to have the Flash be so randomly big.

This issue actually begins with a bunch of side stories that have nothing to do with the Flash, and of which I know nothing about. So we'll skip to the very end to the small part that does involve Flash.

We begin 22,3000 miles above Earth, at the Justice League Defense Station Omega (they've apparently expanded their satellite presence in the past five years). Ronnie Raymond, who was out drinking and making merry at a strip club, is suddenly teleported to the satellite. The entire Justice League is there, holding a full-blown intervention for the troublesome half of Firestorm. The heroes have even carefully rehearsed their lines.

Flash makes the point that the powerful Firestorm has the responsibility to step up. But Ronnie ignores the scripted speech, and blames Jason for organizing the intervention. But Jason says this wasn't his idea, and he doesn't want to merge with Ronnie to become Firestorm ever again. Wonder Woman urges them to reconsider, but Ronnie is still mad at Jason. Jason tells him that he hasn't told the League anything Ronnie has done.

Arsenal, who has replaced Green Arrow on the team, believes Jason is referring to Firestorm not saving Oliver Queen, and he demands an elaboration. Jason refuses to talk, telling Arsenal to ask Ronnie, which he does quite angrily. Flash reminds them all that they're trying to help bring Firestorm back. Cyborg then very randomly suggests they bring in Zatanna to mind-wipe him, a suggestion Flash immediately shuts down.

Finally, at Aquaman and Superman's urging, Ronnie tells the truth about the night Green Arrow died. Ronnie admits he ignored Jason's calls because he was busy with a girl, but he is quick to add that he "never signed up for a life of 24/7 sacrifice." He also references the great, unseen war, in which he wanted to save Pittsburgh, but was told to focus on Washington and New York instead. Ronnie then refuses all additional offers to talk, and he angrily teleports away, proclaiming that Firestorm is finished forever. Jason follows behind him, telling the League to find a replacement for them.

The Good:

The Flash was more or less back in his peace-keeping role, but this story was way too short to really appreciate this. As it stands, he just stands around and delivers three or four lines in an issue that has very little to do with him.

The Bad:

Out-of-place mind-wipe reference. I don't even know who Cyborg was referring to (Ronnie or Jason), let alone why he would jump to such a strong conclusion so quickly. This is obviously a reference to the powerful, yet controversial Identity Crisis. I loved that story, but the mind wiping did not occur without demanding provocation or without harrowing consequences. It is a dishonor to that masterpiece to refer to it so flippantly

Frustrating format. This series was written by four different people, each essentially telling a separate, disjointed story. They all share the same universe of this future timeline, and they do occasionally intersect. The problem I have, is that I don't care about three of these stories. But one of them (I'm not sure who's writing it) did catch my attention. I have enjoyed these moments with Firestorm and the Justice League. I just wish I didn't have to suffer through all that offer stuff to get to the parts I want. Rather than cramming everything together in one weekly title, DC should have created four monthly titles for the Futures End event — each with its own writer, artist, and set of characters. These separate titles could have had staggered release dates, so it was essentially a weekly, but would give the readers more flexibility in following the story. Those who wanted the weekly experience would still get that at the same price, but a whole new door would be opened up to people like me who only wanted a fourth or half of the story. By taking this all-or-nothing approach, I think DC scared away many potential readers, and shot themselves in the foot, sales-wise.

Final score: 3 out of 10

Next time, we'll check out a couple of the September event books that loosely tie in to the Futures End story, beginning with Justice League United: Futures End #1.

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