JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED – FUTURES END #1

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[ FUTURE BARGAIN BIN ]
Never put off today what you can put off for five years time. That's the attitude Jeff Lemire and Jed Dougherty have taken this September, 2014, in celebration of DC's month long series of time travelling shenanigans. Oh, dear! What a palava!!

To QUOTE Marty McFly: “What happens to us in the future? Do we become assholes or something?”

THE STORY:
The story? The story is irrelevant. Ever since rebooting the universe in September, 2011, DC has celebrated each September with an interruption to your regularly scheduled monthly series. First it was the zero issues. Then it was the villains month. And now it's the Futures End one-shots.

Justice League United, just like the other one-shots, takes us five years in to the future. And by 'the future', I of course mean 'a possible future'. In the intervening years, the JLU has been torn apart, the “real” Justice League has rotated its roster a bit and established a Fortress of Justice in New Mexico, and -- oh yeah -- they've done something that the general public may not approve of. And it's gone horribly, horribly wrong.

In short, this isn't really a JLU issue. It's part one of a “two part one-shot” together with the Justice League Future's End that comes out . . . uh . . . came out . . . will have already been released by the time this review is published (Hopefully), But I haven't read it yet. If in the future you could let my current self know how it is, (was?) then the 'past me' would really appreciate it (maybe).

My head already hurts. And we haven't even mentioned Booster Gold yet. Ahhhh!!!!

THE GOOD:
In case you didn't get the gist yet, this isn't really a JLU tale. This is a 'Justice League of a possible five years from now' tale. What we get out of Jeff Lemire is the destiny of the currently JLU characters should the end of Future's End not involve tempus peregrinus ex machina. It's interesting, especially if the reasons given as to why most of the team isn't available are actually the end point -- or pseudo-end point -- of the upcoming JLU issues. Unfortunately, it's all just conversation between the characters who are there.

What we do get that's kind of awesome is the first answers on where Miiyahbin's powers come from. They are tied to the earth of her homeland, which she can tote around the universe with her, and vary based on the season back home.

THE BAD:
And this point brings us quite nicely onto the inconsistencies presented across all these Future's End one-shots. In this case, we learn that it's currently winter in Canada. And although we're tied to the Future's End timeline that takes place after Future's End #2, we haven't seen snow or signs of winter in any of the regular weekly series. In fact, we see a couple of girls sunbathing on their rooftop in New York City. So to enjoy this issue, let's all just roll with the assumption that it's at least a few months later than Future's End #2. And before the inevitable reveal to the characters of a certain fact that the audience was made privy to last week.

And we've got the whole question of this... errr... 'thing' that the heroes have done on Mars. And yet Future's End shows us that The Phantom Zone is no longer Superman's private prison. What determines who goes to the Phantom Zone and who goes to Mars? Sure, maybe Byth and Mongul are in their own category, but what differentiates Killer Frost, Count Vertigo, and Blockbuster from Black Adam?

The Mechaneer.

The Mechaneer.

The Mechaneer. Soooooo bad.

THE MUSIC:
Technically, every space comic should be read while listening to Man . . . Or Astroman? I think it's in the Magna Carta. Today, we'll travel back in time (because why not?) to 1995 and enjoy their possible future hit “Tomorrow Plus X.” L'chaim!




THE COMPARISON:
Well, this issue was mostly about Miiyahbin giving us an update on where all the other members of the JLU are and why they can't help her. (Except for Hawkman -- you need to be reading Future's End to be in the know on that. Or ask nicely for a spoiler in the comments below, hint-hint!).  But it's also an excuse for this possible future Justice League, save for Wonder Woman, Arsenal, and Superman (Supermen? And are Batman and Wildfire Justice Leaguers?) to go bounding off for Mars. And very quickly ascertain with Mon Calamari-like timing that... 'it's a trap!'.

THE CONCLUSION:
For those who haven't been following it, Future's End is a weekly series that opens with Terry McGinnis (Batman “Beyond”) fleeing a future 35 years from “now” where the Earth is overrun by Brother Eye assimilated superhuman cyborgs. He lands in the wrong time, still five years from “now” where Superman wears a mask, the Teen Titans are dead, Grifter hunts the aliens that walk amung us, and Ray Palmer works for S.H.A.D.E. And of course, Terry is seven years too late for his mission to prevent that future by killing Mister Terrific before he and Bruce Wayne launch Brother Eye.

Well, there you go. I've spoiled issues 0 and 1 for you. Now go catch up to this week. It's good stuff, despite the absurdity of time travel based “possible future” tales. And now you know why almost every title across DC's New 52 (plus Booster Gold) is taking a break this month to jump five years in to a possible future and give us a glimpse of where our heroes might be.

Some, like Green Arrow, tie in quite tightly to the Future's End weekly. Some, like Green Lantern Corps, are so isolated from Future's End events that it doesn't matter. Some, like World's Finest, directly contradict Future's End. And most, like all the Bat-family titles, are just ambiguous enough to raise the question of whether or not we're dealing with the same possible future as Futures End.

And that's where Justice League United Futures End falls -- just ambiguous enough. We see Stormguard is on the Justice League and we make mention to the great hero gathering of issue 2, but is this really the same possible future as Futures End? Does it matter? Probably not.

The bottom line is that you can read this comic without knowing anything about Futures End, but why would you want to? And if you are reading Futures End, it doesn't add anything. Nor does it present an interesting and compelling story in it's own right. (If you want that, grab Batgirl, Constantine, or Grayson Futures End, in that order.)

This is not a terrible book. It's a decent read and has decent art, but there's nothing spectacular about it. For those of us following JLU on a monthly basis, it adds nothing. If you came here looking for an opinion on whether to buy it or not, I'd say only if you're really in to JLU and Justice League, and then only if you've already checked out the ongoing Future's End weekly, and Batgirl, Constantine, and Grayson one-shots. If not, your money is better spent there.

*** Just reading and writing and rambling in the back of the Joker's old Ho-Home-On-Wheels... Keath.