Futures End has had a bad habit of giving us more issues that cut off before the good stuff than actual issues of said good stuff. It was worse about it in the initial 16-or-so issues. Recently, we’ve been able to get some solid moments even in the more inbetween times. This issue is no exception.
This week’s issue, much like your typical Futures End issue, is split across four storylines. The new Stormwatch has a confrontation with Father Time and his S.H.A.D.E. monstrosities, Fifty Sue is off on a mission for Faraday (now referring to herself as Sequel while wearing Deathstroke’s helmet), Batman Beyond and Plastique musing on time travel and its effect on timelines, and Firestorm still trying to split.
To put it simply, the first half of this was better than the second. But this issue deserves a bit more detail than that.
Stormwatch’s section was filled with great moments. Frankenstein standing up to Father Time for what looks like the last time, Hawkman and Black Adam bonding a bit over killing monsters, and Ray Palmer attempting to take control of S.H.A.D.E. all made for exciting developments that left me itching for more from this plot. Team Stormwatch has gotten nowhere near enough pages in Futures End, and I sincerely hope this changes as Brainiac and the end draw closer.
Fifty Sue has a been a surprising character in this series. More often than not she has been quite divisive on whether she is annoying or somewhat endearing. The recent twists and developments showing her off as more damaged than psychotic were just what she needed. Even when she’s a borderline sociopath, there’s still something connecting us to her. Though, nothing sums it up as humorously as Grifter himself saying “Oh god…it never ends.”
There was nice positive light in the Firestorm where we got a small usage of his/her transmutation powers, which rarely show up. Not entirely sure on the pronoun to be using there.
This time was a rare occasion where the Batman Beyond section was probably the most boring of all. The idea of looking into Terry’s feelings and what he would feel if the future of Futures End #0 was already gone and prevented is interesting, but with so few pages and such a tame setting, it really fell flat. The ending moment where the Plastique-bot was turning on (at least I think that’s what was happening) had little impact in an issue of four cliffhangers.
Firestorm’s plot still feels horridly tedious. I was hoping something good and interesting would come following Ronnie’s death (which was the high-point of their plot line in terms of actual story), but it has just been pages and pages of wondering how to split again. Feels like we cycled back to the early issues where Jason was screaming at Ronnie to let him go.
Futures End #33 hits about the middle ground for issues of the series. Some great parts, but some parts that slip back into old long-standing problems.