What is the purpose of The New 52: Futures End?  That is, of course, a silly question.  Asking what purpose a comic book has other than selling as many copies as possible is rather like asking what the purpose of lungs are other than breathing.  Nevertheless, I ask the question anyway.  What, other than making money, do the creators of this book hope to accomplish?

What hints we have, indeed what knowledge we have, suggests a very curious answer.  We have here I book set in a five-years-from-now future that most assuredly will never come to pass.  Yet, we have been told, through solicits and through interviews with author Dan Jurgens, that this comic will give rise to a new storyline set in a thirty-five-years-from-now future that definitely will come to pass.  Setting aside grave doubts as to the certainty of any such thing, even within the confines of the fictional universe, the use of a crumbling timeline to launch another, supposedly more secure, future history is a strange narrative choice
Nevertheless, with the death of Terry McGinnis at the hands of Bat Joker, the authors seem to have committed themselves to this peculiar course.

The strong expectation among most who have been following this series, and the advertisements associated with it, is that Tim Drake will don the uniform of Batman Beyond and journey to the present time, that is five years backward from his current location in the time stream, to prevent the creation of Brother Eye.  He will then be bounced to thirty-five years in the future and star in the upcoming Batman Beyond reboot written by Futures End scribe Dan Jurgens.  Of course, when talking about time travel, especially time travel involving a boomerang maneuver between times and alternate histories, nothing is certain.  But, given such a scenario, one has to ask whether the time-traveling Batman Beyond will play a role in the upcoming Convergence event.  One also has to wonder how the new Batman Beyond, arising as it does out of Matt Idelson’s editorial group, will relate to the other Bat Books.

For that matter, how will the new book relate to the other stories evidently put in place at the very end of this crumbling timeline?  How will the story of Fifty Sue and her new family play out in the new future?  Will the crusade of Amethyst, begun just as this series comes to an end, play a role in the future to be created?  Or will those futures end just like the current five-year and thirty-five year worlds are surely doomed?

Grade

B

Conclusion

It has been said that interesting questions are more important than interesting answers. That is a philosophy to which I most definitely do not subscribe. However, in the absence of fascinating answers, titillating questions are better than nothing. This book is leaving us, not with nothing, but with lots of strange and marvelous mysteries. As a purpose for a comic book, there are worse things. One suspects that the mysteries will prove as fragile as the histories from which they spring. But while they exist, they promise to provide new futures of pleasure.