The coolest thing about FUTURES END and possibly the only cool thing is it’s really given a lot of creators the chance to shine with having only a single issue to tell part of a story. You learn a lot about a particular writer or artists approach to storytelling during this event, even if it’s likely they don’t have the amount of creative freedom they probably want.
So in WONDER WOMAN – FUTURES END #1 (Soule, Morales, Marzan Jr. & BATT) we handily get reminded that this issue is a one-shot meant to set up the rest of the DC Universe’s possible future. The book takes place over a protracted battle somewhere in one of the gods realms, annotated by the first few pages of the story that showcase Diana locked in combat with almost surreal looking monsters comprised of negative space and shimmering lights.
Just within the first pages of this book you’ll really be able to tell the difference in storytelling between Charles Soule as writer and the last set of creators the book had with Brian Azzarello. How does it actually measure up against the previous creative team? Well…
As always, with three different artists on board this issue I find that’s its generally worthwhile to examine how well the artists are capable of working together. Marzan JR. Takes the lead on this book with an almost painted, Alex Ross inspired art style. In a way, it gives the introduction sequence a look like it might have been one of those old “80 Page Giant Edition!” stories from the 80’s or nineties. I do take issue with the way Wonder Woman’s represented in a few panels, all jutting chest and voluptuously figured – which is certainly not helped by the fact that despite being the God of War, she’s dressed in a tank top and jeans for almost the entire issue.
Where this issue shines is in the banter between Wonder Woman as the God of War and her round table of tactical elites, including a Norsewoman commander, Hades who makes his return and even Napoleon Bonaparte. It’s nice to see Wonder Woman no longer having to fight for respect or admiration, something that Azzarello’s arc slowly built over time and this issue primarily hinges upon.
The battle itself is a good showcase of all three artists skill, with such a long lead-in to the talking parts of the issue you’re well cemented in what’s going on and what’s at stake by the time the first battle is over. I only wish that this wasn’t connected to FUTURE’S END because I really think after Azzarello’s arc is over that with a few artistic changes this sort of thing could be the next big arc for Wonder Woman herself, but I digress.
The biggest question I have for this issue has nothing to do with story. Instead I was immediately drawn to the way Wonder Woman is represented. All of the characters involved in her round-table of battlefield outfits and to a lesser extent all of the soldiers in the issue are wearing period-appropriate outfits. So why does the God of War who, in her own series primarily dresses in a ceremonial battle armor, choose to drop into battle wearing a tank top and jeans?
Confusing outfit decisions aside I feel like this is another example of having three artists on a book be a mark against it rather than for it. The obvious changes from one artist to another become jarring, even if all three artists working on the issue don’t seem to be at the top of their game. There’s some general wonkiness and thrusting chests in the battle scenes – Wonder Woman changes facial proportions about six or seven times through the span of the same scene.
Additionally I just want to note that coming into several of the other FUTURES END series now that this issue has the problem a lot of them do. It is absolutely crammed with dialogue and characters telling and explaining every detail down to the smallest minutiae. Discounting BATMAN AND ROBIN, the best of the Future’s End stories have been the ones that let the mystery of the future alone carry them. WONDER WOMAN brings us in to the middle of a storyarc but explains everything just so we wont feel isolated in the story.
WONDER WOMAN – FUTURES END #1 is going to an opening showing of the second movie in a series while your friend that just “like, totally is in love with these films!” tries to catch you up during the previews.
Maybe I’m not one for the big events, but few and far between are the books that actually succeed at what I think FUTURES END is setting out to try and do.