Future’s End: Grayson and Green Arrow (Comics Review)
September is the month when all DC ongoing titles take a 5-year leap forward into the time of Future’s End, the currently weekly comic that is being written by Jeff Lemire, Keith Giffen, Brian Azzarello and Dan Jurgens. It is a future in which Terry McGinnis aka Batman Beyond has traveled back in time to stop the rise of a machine intelligence on Earth that will see the planet and humanity reduced to abominable servitors. Each issue is going to be a one-shot I believe, without lasting effects on the various titles. It is definitely something that I’ve been kid of looking forward to for a while, though my excitement is tempered by the gimmick of it all.
Part of the first-wave of titles for the month, Future’s End: Grayson #1 and Future’s End: Green Arrow #1 do two very different things with the ongoing meta-story and both are excellent as far as I can tell. In the former, we see how Dick Grayson ends up making a fatal mistake in the future, tired of everything around him, and in the latter we get a prequel to Future’s End #1, in which Green Arrow aka Oliver Queen. Tom King in the former and Jeff Lemire in the latter, they both do a damn good job of building up the mystery entire, and I loved the way they presented the characters. It also helped that the art teams in both issues were at their best and that they reall got across the emotional resonance of the respective stories.
Future’s End: Grayson #1 sees Dick Grayson aka Agent 37 of SPYRAL working for the Russians during the war with Earth 2 and Parademons. Grayson and Helena Bertinelli apparently are both sent by SPYRAL to work for Russian President Anatoli Knyazev, who once used to be the supervillain known as the Beast, or KGBeast. It is certainly a bold vision for the future of Dick Grayson, but also rather bleak. After all, Tom King’s script starts off by killing Grayson by hanging on the very first page, and every page after that is a story told in reverse as the writer takes us through the events that made Grayson do what he did to deserve a hanging.
Tom King and Tim Seeley have been doing something really exciting with Grayson since the title’s debut a few months ago, and it has definitely become one of my most anticipated reads of any given month now. Following the end of Forever Evil that saw Dick fake his own death with Batman’s collusion in order to disappear and start a new life of his own, I’ve been really excited what the character has gone through. While I’m not sure what the meta-narrative effect is going to be of killing Dick Grayson twice in a single year, and I’m really not sure whether this was a good move, the script itself is great, on its own.
The reverse-order of the story also works really well since it keeps you guessing and it shows how Dick changed over the course of his assignment in Russia and how his relationship with Helena Bertinelli also changed as a result and what his specific moral betrayal of her cost her in the end. Well done indeed. The only thing that I didn’t like was the obvious, in-the-face romance between the two of them, although I do get the point of it. Just not something to my tastes.
The art team is made up of penciller Stephen Mooney, colourist Jeromy Cox, letterer Carlos M. Mangual and cover artist Andrew Robinson. The art team is a bit different from that of the regular title, and I found that a bit jarring in the beginning. Especially since Mooney’s Helena and Dick are very different to how well Mikel Janin has portrayed them, but still, his characterwork is almost on point throughout and the colours are also good. Again, a bit too bleak, but easily digestible in the end.
On the other hand, Future’s End: Green Arrow #1 is a direct tie-in to Future’s End and it actually does present some background to what has happened in that title, what with the death of Green Arrow in the very first issue of the weekly series, something that led to some serious dysfunctionality and infighting between the members of the Justice League. Really regrettable, all that. But now thanks to this title a LOT of things are falling into place. We see how Emiko became Green Arrow and how dedicate she is to her role. Everything that happens in the pages of this comic is background info to the main series, but it is also awesome in a lot of ways because this is Jeff Lemire after all, one of DC’s top writers right now, in my estimation.
There is an ensemble cast in this issue of the main characters from Jeff’s run on Green Arrow proper, and even a few guest characters from the recent Outsiders War story arc, and I really liked how well Jeff dealt with each character. He let them all shine, one by one, and he did each of them justice in a way that I didn’t expect. Sure, the star of this issue is Oliver Queen of course and I loved every single moment with him, but I loved that Jeff devoted some time to the others. And the fact that this issue was very much about new beginnings, death and rebirth more like.
The twists in this issue are many, and each is attractive and awesome. I dare say that only Jeff Lemire could have pulled off something like this. I haven’t kept up with the regular series all that well, more because of the holiday I took recently and all the traveling I was doing, but this issue gives me a great excuse to stick with it and get back on track, because Emiko as Green Arrow was amazing. And the best part is that she is Green Arrow. Not She-Arrow or Arsenal or Red Arrow or anything. She is Green Arrow. She is a legacy character, heck yeah, but she rocks all the same because she is not identified by her gender or anything. Much like how in Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye both Kate Bishop and Clint Barton are Hawkeye. All a matter of shared identity. This is a small thing of course, but oh so important as well!
Oh and the Vertigo Cult? Haha, that was awesome too.
The art team on this title is the same as the art team on the regular title: Andrea Sorrentino, Marcelo Maiolo and Dezi Sienty with Andrea and Marcelo working on that amazing cover. Given the lack of change in the art team, there really isn’t anything I can say here that isn’t different from what I’ve said before. Except maybe that Oliver Queen with a full beard looks weird and kickass at the same time. And Naomi’s costume as the vigilante Dart was also nice. In fact, she and Emiko are a team here in this issue, and I loved seeing the two of them together in a fight against the Vertigo Cult.
The team is firing on all cylinders as usual and it is glorious.
Posted on September 5, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Agent 37, Anatoli Knyazev, Andrea Sorrentino, Andrew Robinson, Batman Beyond, Brainiac, Carlos M. Mangual, Comics, Comics Review, DC Comics, Death of a Superhero, Dezi Sienty, Dick Grayson, Emiko, Emiko Queen, Espionage, Female Protagonists, Female Spies, Female Superheroes, Female Warriors, Future's End, Grayson, Green Arrow, Helena Bertinelli, Jeff Lemire, Jeromy Cox, KGBeast, Marcelo Maiolo, Naomi Singh, Oliver Queen, Outsiders War, Review, Review Central, Shado, SPYRAL, Stephen Mooney, Superheroes, Superspy, Supervillains, Terry McGinnis, The Outsiders, Tim Seeley, Time Travel, Tom King, Warrior Women, Women in Comics, Women in SFF. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.