Hey Match-heads! Shag here, wishing a warm nuclear welcome to the newest member of the FIRESTORM FAN family — Mr. Tim Wallace! Tim has graciously agreed to provide monthly coverage of DC’s latest weekly event, The New 52: Futures End! Firestorm plays a major role in the series, yet we haven’t focused much on it here. Well, Tim has arrived in the nick of time! Warning, Tim’s entries here will contain SPOILERS for the related issues of The New 52: Futures End. Consider yourself warned! Be sure to follow Tim’s regular work over on his exceptional site, Kord Industries: A Blue Beetle Blog! Get all your Ted Kord, Jaime Reyes, and Dan Garrett goodness there! You can also stalk Tim on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. And now, let’s turn it over to Tim…
Before I get started, I want to thank Shag for allowing me the opportunity to be a guest blogger here at Firestorm Fan! As you may, or may not, know I run Kord Industries: A Blue Beetle Blog. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing it if not for the inspiration and encouragement of Shag and Rob (at Aquaman Shrine). So the fact that Shag trusts me to supply content on his page is quite a compliment.
I’ll be providing recaps and commentary on DC’s “The New 52 Futures End” each month, with a look back at the previous month’s issues. Though I’ve had some mixed feelings about the “New 52” in general, I’ve enjoyed this story so far. The key for me has been to read it like it was an Elseworlds story. These aren’t the heroes I know and love…they’re alternate versions from a world somewhere in DC’s Multiverse. It makes it easier to accept the differences, for me anyway. So without further ado…let’s get started with issues 0-3!
Free Comic Book Day — The New 52: Futures End #0
35 years into the future Brother Eye, a sentient computer, has taken over the Earth and assimilated most of the world’s heroes, turning them into cybernetic monsters. Think “Star Trek’s” Borg or “Doctor Who’s” Cybermen. Those still living that haven’t been converted have banded together to fight with an underground resistance. Among them? The Flash and Captain Cold! How’s that for an odd couple? You know it’s a bleak apocalyptic future when heroes and villains are working together, and it only gets worse. Wonder Woman and Hawk (of Hawk and Dove) show up at the door…only they’ve been assimilated by Brother Eye and are now creating havoc like some kind of insect/Terminator hybrids! The resistance tries to fight, but in no time at all it’s just the Flash left standing. That is, until Frankenstein shows up…working for Brother Eye…though curiously not “infected” with cyber parts like the others. Hmm? Instead Frankie has Black Canary’s head attached to his chest and uses her Canary Cry to take out Barry. It’s pretty clear over the next few pages just how bad the future is. Gotham, Themyscira, Atlantis, and London are all under Brother Eye’s control. In Metropolis John Stewart and Jaime Reyes lead a diversionary attack on a Brother Eye stronghold. Blue Beetle gets taken out by an assimilated Booster Gold. And just when it looks like this couldn’t get worse…it gets “super” bad! Yup, Superman is one of Brother Eye’s creepy cyber-bugs and in no time so is Green Lantern!
Grifter and Amethyst were trying to “disconnect Firestorm”, who apparently has been captured and is being used as a power source, but get taken out by the newly assimilated Green Lantern. Back at the Batcave, Batman and Terry McGinnis (Batman Beyond) decide the only way to fix this now is through traveling back in time to stop Bruce and Mr. Terrific from creating Brother Eye in the first place…so, this is all kind of Batman’s fault!
Before they can activate the time portal they’re attacked by cyber-bugged versions of the International League of Batmen! Bruce loses an arm, and suffers a critical blow to the chest, fighting Knight which leaves the fate of the world in the hands of Terry…but after making the jump Terry realizes he missed his target. He’s five years into our future, and he’s too late!
The New 52: Futures End #01
So five years into the future Terry McGinnis is late to the party. Luckily he’s not alone. He’s got a friend in the form of A.L.F.R.E.D. a snarky talking computer apparently built into the suit by Bruce. He also brought along a Medusa-like “bug” which he dispatches quickly…not realizing someone nearby is watching, and presumably recording, via Google Glass. I bet that comes into play down the road! We cut to “the farthest reaches of space” and the mobile headquarters of Stormwatch, the Carrier. I’m going to be honest…I’ve never read Stormwatch. With that in mind I was a little surprised to see Nina (the female Creature from the Black Lagoon from “Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.”) now called “Mermaid” and Hawkman show up as part of that team. Angie, the robotic Engineer, and the ship are soon infected by Brother Eye. When they can’t access the computer to see what’s happening outside, Apollo flies out into space to check for himself…and is promptly killed! Seeing as these first 2 issues feel like a mash-up of horror and sci-fi clichés you would have thought he’d seen that coming! The unseen threat then targets Stormwatch’s Carrier, before setting its sights on Earth!
Back home, Grifter guns down a family…but its ok. Just before he shoots the little girl it’s implied that they were possessed by…something. The less said the better. Jason Rusch is desperately trying to get in touch with Ronnie Raymond. Firestorm needs to respond to a Justice League distress call…but Ronnie is busy, or getting busy, and is none too pleased when Jason interrupts! It’s interesting…Jason approaches the hero biz with a sense of obligation while Ronnie makes it clear he just wants to have some fun. There’s some serious tension between these two, more than anything we’ve seen before, and they bicker the whole way to Seattle. It seems to me that something happened in the last 5 years…something that makes Ronnie more reluctant to play hero. Eager to respond to the League’s request Jason grabs Ronnie, turning them into our favorite flamehead (donning a new suit that puts me a little in mind of “Tron”).
When they finally arrive though (about 20-25min late per one of the bystanders they encounter) they find Oliver Queen’s lab devastated! Ronnie compares it to a war zone…and wars have casualties…this one’s is Green Arrow!
The New 52: Futures End #02
Firestorm flies from New York to Seattle, while Ronnie and Jason continue to bicker. Jason firmly believes that it was Ronnie’s selfish actions that are responsible for Green Arrow’s demise. Ronnie argues instead, “Oliver died because half the waterfront blew up. NOT because of ME.” Jason still thinks it was due to them arriving too late and thinks when they connect with the League at Ollie’s funeral they should own up to it. Mr. Terrific and his entourage enjoy a limo ride to the somber affair, while checking online trends which all seem to focus on Green Arrow’s death and the absence of Batman. A traffic jam gives Mr. Terrific an opportunity to create his own online buzz as he decides to walk the rest of the way…right into the cameras and microphones of the media. They question his motives, point out he didn’t seem close to the fallen hero, but he continues walking…right into the path of Aquaman! There’s some bad blood between them, and neither seems to appreciate how the other operates. We get a quick flash to New York, where Batman Beyond realizes he needs to get into TerrificTech headquarters to stop Brother Eye, already orbiting the Earth, from coming online. Back at the funeral Animal Man gives a heartfelt speech about his teammate, highlighting the fact that he was just a man, no magic weapons or super powers, who fought for the people. A very solid piece of writing!
A quick flash to King Farraday working with the Charlotte, NC police and having a mysterious conversation (via an earpiece) with someone about a “person of interest”. Before anyone gets too comfortable in any one setting, things return to the funeral and get very uncomfortable! Well, technically we start by watching the funeral of Green Arrow on TV in a bar called “The Wounded Duck”. As we see Animal Man, Firestorm, Arsenal, Flash, Adam Strange and Mr. Diggle carry the coffin to the hearse the bartender lets us know “They’ve got their secrets and skeletons just like everyone else. MORE in fact.” He’s onto something, because at that moment Arsenal calls out Firestorm for not being there when Ollie needed him. Jason tries keeping Ronnie calm, but Ronnie just digs himself deeper claiming he was late because of another emergency.
Even as Jason begs him not to lie, the Flash reveals they already know that Firestorm wasn’t dealing with anything! They’ve used their JLA member tracking data to uncover that not only were there not any emergencies, based on Firestorm’s own energy signature they know Raymond and Rusch didn’t even merge until long after the call for back-up went out! Fists start to fly as other heroes and the media look on, all the while Jason begs Ronnie to change back and let him out so he can apologize. Ronnie is too busy hitting and being hit by Arsenal to pay any attention though…until the mysterious masked Superman breaks things up. Finally, as Lois Lane puts the finishing touches on her story back at her apartment a mysterious package is delivered. One with an arrow tip, a green pyramid, a “Wounded Duck” matchbook, and a note telling Lois to come alone…
The New 52: Futures End #03
Somewhere in the snow covered wilderness of Canada a wondering Eskimo is attacked by a polar bear! A large figure swings a mighty sword and quickly puts an end to the bear. Instead of thanks though, the young Eskimo screams and runs after discovering his savior is Frankenstein! Suddenly a small robot crab bursts from the bear, and the monster makes quick work of it too. In its metallic remains he finds a clue though…S.H.A.D.E. His former employers are behind this! Flying high above New York Jason continues to plead with Ronnie to let him out. It’s been days now! Ronnie refuses saying the only reason Jason wants out is so he can stab Ronnie in the back by telling the JLA and the world that he’s responsible for Green Arrow’s death. The conversation is cut short though when Ronnie spots trouble…two girls on a rooftop trying to get some sun on a cloudy day. Luckily Firestorm is around and can provide a little light for the occasion…and earn the favor of the “damsels in distress”.
Grifter checks in with his assistant Justin, who’s been holding an unknown creature hostage and trying to get information. While reviewing the files they’ve put together Grifter sees a man we met last issues…King Faraday. They know he’s been following Grifter, just not why. At TerrifiTech headquarters Mr. Terrific works out while reviewing security footage. He watches the attempted break in of Batman Beyond. His assistant believes this guy “looks like he’s one of Batman’s”, but Holt isn’t so sure.
He’s more concerned that the intruder didn’t get anywhere near the uSphere project. Over at “The Wounded Duck” a guy walks in bragging about the money he won from a celebrity death pool. He got a lot from Green Arrow’s death, but even more a couple years ago when Wonder Girl was killed. The bartender promptly decks him and his friend and throws them out. It’s then that bar patron Lois Lane uses her skills as a reporter to connect some dots…the bartender is the believed to be dead Red Robin!
Shag here again. Thanks to Tim for this fantastic coverage! Next month Tim will return with further coverage of, The New 52: Futures End! Let us know what you think of this new weekly series in the comments.
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