Release Date: September 5, 2014
Cover Date: November 2014
Story: Robert Venditti
Art: Martin Coccolo and Aaron Lopresti
Cover: Billy Tan
Five years from now, Hal Jordan confronts Krona and his Black Lanterns at the Source Wall. Hal had been warned about the new threat by his resurrected father, who along with some deceased Green Lanterns is fighting Krona’s influence. To take down the Black Lanterns, though, Hal has an unlikely ally in the form of Relic, who escaped from the Source Wall some time ago. The pair are able to combine emotional spectrum energies to destroy the zombies, and even when Krona tries to force Hal’s father and the dead Green Lanterns against him, Relic and Hal manage to emerge victorious…but at a terrible cost. Hal was mortally wounded by the Black Lanterns. For some unknown reason, Hal’s father and the dead Green Lanterns don’t disappear when Relic captures Black Hand’s ring, and they decide that imprisoning Hal in the Source Wall will keep him alive and in stasis until Relic can figure out a way to heal him.
Aside from the fact the the Futures End stories are utterly pointless (more on that later), this issue was loaded with continuity errors. First of all, the Black Lantern villains have their old, pre-Flashpoint designs, not their current correct ones. Evil Star looks nothing like that in the “New 52,” and Goldface stopped using that outfit even before the universe-wide reboot! Another problem is that Black Hand is said to have disappeared after the events of Blackest Night. This is also false, as he was a critical part of the crappy “Wrath of the First Lantern” story. Even if you try to assume that Black Hand rebuilt the Black Lantern Corps and unleashed a second Blackest Night sometime in the next few years, but before this issue takes place, that’s clearly not what’s being implied here.
Furthermore, I don’t believe it’s ever been explained how Black Hand’s ring or Black Lanterns can even exist anymore after Blackest Night. What’s fueling their rings since their Central Power Battery was destroyed? This is even hinted at somewhat in this issue; Relic’s surprised that the Black Lanterns are devoid of emotion, and since emotion powers the entire universe…but without any explanation, that’s a pretty serious omission. And why did Hal’s father and the other dead Green Lanterns stick around after Krona’s defeat? Their black rings were no different than any others. This is left unexplained, and makes absolutely no sense.
Sticking Hal in the Source Wall seemed to be just a way to explain why he’s not around in the regular Futures End series, which focuses more on third-string characters instead of the usual big guns. The thing is, we didn’t need that; as a Green Lantern, we could just assume that Hal’s been busy in space! Finally, the Source Wall itself is still a problem; as we’ve seen in Multiversity, the Source Wall is outside the sphere of mutiple Earths. So how did Hal and Relic get there without leaving their own universe? (Some readers have pointed out that perhaps the Source Wall is the barrier between the Earths, thus it appears in all universes…but that barrier has already been established as the Bleed, and the Multiversity map clearly shows the Source Wall elsewhere.)
At least the art here was good. The Black Lanterns look as creepy and savage as ever, and Hal’s green construct bullets with violet jackets was a really cool effect. The battle scene with Relic using spectrum energy from his various machines led to some great visuals, too, and the grayscale effect for Hal’s father really stood out.
So why did I earlier describe this story as pointless? Here’s the deal: the events of Futures End are supposed to take place five years from now in DC Universe time. That’s equivalent to roughly fifteen years of real world time. So, in order for this story to hold any real meaning…tales written for the next fifteen years have to lead to that point. You and I know damned well that they won’t; given DC Comics’ history, we’re certain to see two or three more DC Universe reboots by then! We’ve had at least three reboots in the last ten years, for crying out loud!
The entire plot of the New 52: Futures End weekly series — which is actually pretty good despite its pointless nature — is that the characters are trying to prevent an apocalyptic future. That’s all well and good, except that this dark future is even further down the timeline than the era in which Futures End takes place. It would be better if folks from the future were trying to change things now. I know that’s a science fiction cliché, but then at least the story would carry some weight. Watch the whole thing end up being a part of Multiversity, making it even more of a train wreck! Ugh.
Next week, Futures End hits Green Lantern Corps, then the other Lanternverse titles in succession. I’m not exactly looking forward to this.