With school coming to a close and summer vacation just around the corner, major comics publishers DC and Marvel have begun their big summer events in 2014. In DC’s “Future’s End,” the future Batman (Terry McGinnis of Batman Beyond fame) travels to the past in order to prevent the evil computer program Brother Eye from taking over the world. Unfortunately, he’s five years too late. Marvel’s “Original Sin” revolves around the death of the mysterious Watcher.
While “Future’s End” has a lot going for it, the four issues that have been released don’t quite deserve the hype it’s gotten. As the series progresses, however, it could certainly find its footing. The art is generally good, but the evil hero-robot hybrids in the first issue are too strange and outlandish to be believable. The cyborgs—and the series as a whole—feel like something out of the 1990’s. It’s far more gimmicky than the typical comic book fare today, and the contrast is jarring. Hopefully, the tone will improve over time. Most of the characters are very good with the exception of Brother Eye (who is hopelessly generic) and Firestorm. While I’ve never liked Firestorm as a character, he’s particularly atrocious here; both perpetual party boy Ronnie Raymond and scholar Jason Rusch are less interesting than cardboard. Their dialogue is insipid and their role in the plot is uninspired; an identical plot thread was used in the 2010 event Brightest Day and was far more effective. He ruins a poignant funeral scene in the second issue and is guaranteed to give the reader a headache every time he appears. Terry McGinnis himself hasn’t been developed enough yet to get a feel for his character, but at this point in the story he seems to be fairly likeable and a decent protagonist. Standout characters include the monster killer Grifter, Lois Lane and supposedly heroic mastermind Mr. Terrific. With a plethora of animated digital covers and other extras, “Future’s End” will probably be a good series to follow.
\Only two issues of “Original Sin” have been released, and the first issue—a Free Comic Book Day tie-in—is interesting but isn’t related to the main plot. The series is written by the phenomenal Jason Aaron of Wolverine and the X-Men fame, and has excellent dialogue and panel placement. The art looks like a series of paintings—it’s beautiful. Except for the strange coloring on the spacesuits several characters wear in a couple panels, the art is perfect. Unfortunately, some elements are a little jarring—the Avengers go to the moon in a convertible and the second half of the issue features some very strange creatures called Mindless Ones whose presence distracts from the murder-mystery tone of the first half. The character introductions are excellent and aside from the aforementioned strange elements the issue is excellent.