Friday, September 4, 2015

Futures End #2

• Brian Azzarello
• Jeff Lemire
• Dan Jurgens
• Keith Giffen
• Jesús Merino
• Dan Green
Art Consultant
• Keith Giffen
• Hi-Fi
• Carlos Mangual
• 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 shows one of Green Arrow's arrowheads shaped like a skull. In the blood spatters around it are the images of various members of the Justice League. I think the Flash is on the inside edge of the left splat. I actually really like this cover. It's simple and effective, portraying the death of Green Arrow in a rather unique way. Of course, the idea of Green Arrow being killed is not at all unique, but that's hardly this cover's fault.

Our story begins with Firestorm heading toward Green Arrow's funeral. Apparently Firestorm could have saved Green Arrow, but one half of the hero, Ronnie Raymond, was busy with one of his "conquests," as the other half, Jason Rusch calls it. Jason, who's just a voice in Ronnie's head when they're Firestorm, blames Ronnie for Green Arrow's death, and Ronnie doesn't want to talk about it.

Some things never change in the DC Universe, and even in the far future of five years from now, all funerals are held in the rain. It is a very strict law. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they waited to hold the funeral until it was a rainy day. All joking aside, the ceremony is a highly publicized event, held out in the middle of the city. All the major news outlets are covering the funeral, which is attended by every superhero imaginable. It seems like only one hero speaks, though, and that is Animal Man, who mentions a recent war that somehow brought the people of Earth 2 to Earth 1. After his speech, Green Arrow's casket is loaded into the hearse. The TV broadcast names Flash as one of the pallbearers, although the art doesn't show it. There is one hero in the back we can barely see, but his costume definitely isn't red. It actually kind of looks like Aquaman. The confirmed pallbearers are Animal Man, Arsenal, Adam Strange, Diggle and Firestorm.

Once the casket is loaded, Arsenal can't contain his rage anymore and confronts Firestorm. Arsenal shares Jason's belief that Firestorm let Green Arrow die, and he says as much in a very forceful way. Jason tries to warn Ronnie not to cause a scene, but Ronnie can't help himself. He tells Arsenal that he was busy with another emergency and he rushed to Green Arrow's side as fast as he can, which Jason knows to be a lie. The Flash, who would normally be a peacekeeper in such a situation, surprisingly calls Firestorm out on his lie, saying all the JLA tracking data, general news accounts and records of Firestorm's power signature confirm that Ronnie and Jason didn't merge until long after Green Arrows distress call went out.

Firestorm is furious that the Justice League is spying on him. But perhaps intimidated by the Flash, Firestorm directs his anger back toward Arsenal. Their argument continues to escalate, but all the other heroes around them are hesitant to intervene with all the cameras watching. Finally, Arsenal punches Firestorm in the face, who responds by punching him back. Jason begs Ronnie to release him so he can explain and apologize, but Ronnie refuses. Luckily, before Firestorm can do anything else, he's stopped by a masked Superman. So Firestorm angrily flies away into the rain, leaving all the viewers at home shocked by the behavior of the world's most powerful heroes.

And of course there are a handful of subplots going on, but none of them involve the Flash, so we'll end things here for now.

The Good:

I really don't know what to make of the Flash' brief appearance in this issue. It's hard to get a read on a guy who only has one line of dialogue. I think Barry could have and should have handled this situation better, but I guess he was pretty emotional after the death of Green Arrow. However, in the New 52, the Flash has had virtually nothing to do with the Green Arrow. I suspect any implication of the Flash's deep friendship with Oliver Queen in this issue has more to do with the CW TV series than anything we've seen in the comics. Of course, it is highly possible to pretend that Barry and Oliver became great buddies during the five-year span from "now" to when this story takes place. So, ultimately, I remain quite neutral on this whole ordeal. More Flash would have been better (as always), but score-wise, I'll just leave this right in the middle.

The Bad:

Aside from the tired cliché of rain at a funeral, I actually enjoyed the main story of this issue. I don't care that I didn't see how Green Arrow died because the fallout from his death is so interesting. It's very telling how nobody came to Firestorm's defense, and how all the other heroes were so image-conscious that they only put forward a minimal effort toward intervening when absolutely necessary. It actually is an intriguing notion. Unfortunately, it is weakened by the multitude of subplots (just in this issue), and the knowledge of how this weekly series will progress. Yes, we did have just one penciller for this issue, but it'll be someone else for the next issue, and someone else for the one after that. And although one writer was a bit more dominant on this issue, someone else will take the reins later on. In all, it's a very frustrating experience.

Final score: 5 out of 10

Next time, we'll jump ahead a few weeks to Futures End #11.

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