Futures End Review: Earth 2 Future’s End #1

Earth2FE

Earth 2: Future’s End #1

Written by Daniel H. Wilson

Art by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, and Pete Pantazis

 

The short of it:

Five years from now Michael Holt is preparing to roll out his U-Sphere’s, talks to ladyfriend/bodyguard Sonia Sato about the God Killing Boom-Sphere’s, and is then refused a ride from a cab driver because Sonia is an E2’er. So they take the copter to see Terry Sloane, who has invented goggles that will tell you which Earth someone is from, and then we (the readers) find out that he built them from Red Tornado’s eyes. Then, on the way out, those goggles (which all the guards have on) all say that Michael is from Earth 2, so they call him a “dryback” and then treat him like an escaped fugitive (despite that he was walking around freely in front of people with the goggles barely a page earlier) while he winds up turning into an escaped fugitive to get away.

Terry Sloane has teamed with his Earth 1 counterpart to discredit Michael Holt and invade his company, because they want the Boom Sphere’s. Michael is broke, doesn’t have a working cell phone, and goes to a church (which is the total atheist thing to do), where a Priest gives him advice that he interprets as “go see Earth 2 Jimmy Olsen”. Jimmy hasn’t talked since getting to Earth 1, but Michael being there makes him chatty enough to open his Rubix Cube to reveal random secrets. Holt breaks into his company and hands over the Boom Sphere’s in exchange for his life back. The Terry Sloane’s quickly turn on each other, because the first person you have to not be able to trust is yourself. E2 Terry wins (obviously) and then promptly finds out that Michael had a failsafe as the Boom Sphere’s sink into the ground to go and be useless and be as quickly forgotten about as they were introduced. Sonia and a bunch of onlookers pelt the surviving Terry with U-Sphere’s until he flees, at which point Michael uses the goggles to see that Terry isn’t from any known Earth. Sonia asks what technology has turned them into, and he tells her heroes.

And then I went and had a cigarette, because after this piece of garbage, I needed one.

 

What I liked:

  • Eddy Barrows does a great job, which should surprise nobody. He’s a highly underutilized star in DC’s stable of artists, as off the top of my head I can’t remember what he’s done since the Nightwing relaunch. He’s also the absolute best part about this otherwise garbage issue
  • Nice to know that, not only is Terry Sloan an asshole, but so is his Earth 1 counterpart.
  • Dupe as a slur for an other-Earth copy. It’s not much, but it amused the Jamie Madrox fan in me.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • It’s almost as if nobody told Wilson what Mr. Terrific’s characterization was going to be in Future’s End, because this is NOT the same jackass that has been standing front and center in the weekly.
  • Not enough, you know, Earth 2.
  • This was some of the most frustrating pacing I’ve seen in a while.
  • Michael Holt is a supposed to be one of the biggest supporters of unity between Earth 1 and Earth 2 people, a big time MLK like celebrity with a Steve Jobs twist. It takes one page and a pair of goggles worn by a known jackass to make everyone turn against him.
  • Earth 1 Terry Sloane wearing a yellow version of Earth 2 Terry’s “Mr. 8″ costume. Terry Sloane on Earth 2 was the eighth wonder, the number had an actual tangible purpose and meaning. Earth 1 Terry Sloane debuts this issue, and isn’t the eighth anything.
  • Tom Taylor has been KILLING it on this book (in part by killing so many characters), so finding out that this issue was handled by a guy I’ve never heard of was a major buzzkill. It really is just Earth 2 in name only.
  • “Dryback” as an anti-Earth 2 slur. Really? They went for “new twist on an old favorite” instead of “original”? This was no “Gooback” from South Park.

 

Final thoughts:

I picked up this issue expecting to see some story about Earth 2 characters either in hiding to evade Cadmus, or dealing with life as a Cadmus prisoner, or even as some sort of traitor. Pretty much anything involving Earth 2 characters, and, given the cover, Red Tornado. What I didn’t expect was a story about Mr. Terrific where he wasn’t an asshole. Like, at all, he’s an honest to God nice guy, like his old JSA chariman version before the reboot. This immediately pulled me out of the issue, and I never fully got back into it.

Red Tornado, Terry Sloane, Jimmy Olsen, and Sonia Sato are the only actual Earth 2 characters in this adventure of the Earth 1 Michael Holt. Sonia is his sidepiece, Terry is the bad guy (duh), Jimmy is in a hospital, and Red Tornado is gutted into pieces. Now, I understand that dismantling the Red Tornado is a right of passage, but given that she was the cover character, and her sole appearance is one page screaming about Sloane taking her eyes?

He has his own helicopter so why in the blue hell was Michael trying to hail a cab? On top of that, he’s loaded! He’s rich, famous, owns a huge company, and has to settle for taking his own helicopter after a cabbie refuses to give a ride to his E2 lady. Yes, I get that putting xenophobia over needed to happen, but how about doing it in a way that actually makes sense?

This book is what happens when you try to mash a full story arc worth of material into a single one shot. At no point during this book did I get a sense of any sort of pacing. It’s just jump after jump and at no point could I figure out the timeline of the issue. Is it a day? Multiple days? Hours? It’s not clear at all.

This rating is entirely based on the art. The story doesn’t work at all for anyone that either A) reads Earth 2 or B) reads Future’s End. I guess there’s an option C) both, but you get the point. This was the third Future’s End one shot that I read this week, and given how important Green Arrow seems like it will be to the plot of the event, and the fact that Aquaman actually tackled the fallout of the five year gap, this issue was REALLY disappointing. If every one shot was a pointless filler I’d be able to try and justify this, but given that it’s an isolated incident, and in an issue that one would think would be critical to a future after a war between Earth’s 1 and 2? There’s no reason Aquaman should have felt more important than this.

Overall: 3/10

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