Future’s End: Batgirl and Batman (Comics Review)

As I’ve mentioned previously, Gail Simone is leaving Batgirl for other projects, one of which involves her recently-announced reboot of Secret Six for DC, a Suicide Squad-style supervillain team book but with a different focus and outlook on the characters. Gail’s run on Batgirl made me fall in love with the character and with her leaving, I feel as if it is the passing of an era. On the other hand, Scott Snyderhas been running the showboat for Batman since the New 52 relaunch and he has been killing it, except on the recent Zero Year arc which ended up being nowhere near as good as it started.

Both Batgirl: Future’s End #1 and Batman: Future’s End #1 are really dire stories. In the former, we see how Barbara’s brother James Jr. crashes her wedding party and kills her husband, setting her off on the path of darkness once again. But in all of it, we also see how Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and a young girl named Tiffany take up the fight to maintain the legacy of Batgirl and it is not as bleak as it may sound! In the latter, we see how an aging and troubled Bruce is fighting to maintain his own legacy in his own image, not in the image of young men and women he has inspired over the years, for Gotham must always have a Batman. Ray Fawkes has written this issue instead of Scott, and while I generally don’t like Ray’s writing, this issue was actually quite good in places.

FE - Batgirl - BatmanTwo years from the current timeline of Batgirl, Barbara Gordon has just gotten married to a man whom she loves dearly, a Gotham cop no less. It is a great day for her, especially since her best friend Alysia is also there with her (pregnant?) wife. It is a great setting and I loved what was happening. But then came the kicker. Barbara’s deranged brother James Jr. crashes the wedding and forces her husband to kill himself to save her, and that sets up Barbara’s fall into darkness, her giving up the identity of Batgirl for something darker, much darker.

You can see the “new” Batgirl on that cover there. It is a dark and striking image, featuring no less than four Batgirls. I’ll admit that as a fan of the New 52 Barbara, the scenes with James Jr. were horrifying for me to read. It is like a train heading for a crash, and you just know that nothing is gonna stop that from happening. As always, Gail does wonders with the emotional, personal tones in this issue, and Barbara’s journey of redemption here is certainly impressive.

More than that though, I loved the “League of Batgirls” in this issue. To see Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain return to the fold as Batgirls and the (new?) character of Tiffany who is the youngest of them all, all working together to stop crime in the city was a great feeling as a reader. And the ending is just the way I expected it to be, and I loved that too. Almost tearful as well.

Javier Garron is the penciller here with Romulo Fajardo Jr. on colours, Saida Temofonte on the letters and Clay Mann on the cover with Romulo. The art here is much different to the DC house style being a bit more shiny and flashy for one than the regular Batgirl comic before this. I didn’t mind it so much, but it did kind of jar. Still, I loved Romulo’s colours quite a bit, and the differences between all the heroes and villains were nicely highlighted too.

Rating: 8.5/10

Batman: Future’s End #1 too takes us five years into the future and this is a bleak future indeed, in the true vein of Batman. Almost taking cues from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, this story shows a Batman who is feeble and old. He has been fighting too long and his body is starting to give out on him. To keep himself going, he needs something that only one person in the world has, a man that Batman has more cause to hate and detest than any other, except perhaps Superman, Lex Luthor. Ray Fawkes’ issue is primarily about Batman breaking into one of Lex Luthor’s most well-defended genetics lab and getting what he needed from there, and it is kind of glorious.

To be honest, I thought the issue was a bit of a drag because it didn’t answer the burning question of Future’s End: while Green Arrow dies and the Justice League is fracturing and the opinion of heroes is running low, where the hell is Batman? Why hasn’t he made any appearance in the story, even after the Batman of the future, Terry McGinnis makes a televised appearance thanks to Michael Holt? See, that’s what I wanted out of this issue, more than anything, but that’s not what we got.

Still, I liked what Ray Fawkes did here. This is a better issue than most others that I’ve read from him, especially his two Batgirl issues last year, and certainly better than his Pandora series. The way that he shows Batman breaking into Lex’s labs, and Lex’s recorded dialogue, it was certainly compelling and engaging. I just wish that the ending had turned out differently. I didn’t quite see it coming, not like that for sure, and it was a not-so good surprise.

The art here is by ACO, with colours by Fco Plascencia, letters by Dezi Sienty and Carlos M. Mangual, and the cover by Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson. The cover is good, but it also gives away the point of the story too much I feel, especially the ending. The art itself, it is a bit more stylized than the art on Batman has been to date, with the inking effects being minimal. A bit more ink on the pages would have helped immensely, helped define the panels even more, but on the whole, not that bad of an effort!

Rating: 7/10

More Batgirl: (New 52) Vol.1, Vol.2, #23, #24, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30, Annual #2, #31, #32, #33, #34; (v2) Volume 1: Redemption Road; (v3) Vol.1.

More Batman#1-10, #11-12, Annual #1, #13-15, #16-18, #19-21, Annual #2, #22-23, #23.1, #23.3, #23.4, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30.

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Posted on September 12, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Tiffany Fox isn’t actually a new character; she’s the daughter of Lucius Fox of Wayne Enterprises. Pre-Flashpoint I think she was depicted as a young woman, but in the New 52, until now she’s just appeared in Batwing as Luke Fox’s kid sister.

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