By stint of the book being set five years in the New 52's future, this is of course a changeable timeline. As Alan Moore wrote in his pitch proposal for Twilight Of The Heroes, which this series draws on significantly, talking about the lessons of Batman: The Dark Knight.
It does no damage to the current stories of Batman in the present, and indeed it does the opposite by lending them a certain weight and power by implication and association–every minor shift of attitude in the current Bruce Wayne's approach to life that might be seen in Batman or Detective over the next few years, whether intentionally or not, will provide twinges of excitement for the fans who can perceive their contemporary Batman inching ever closer to the intense and immortal giant portrayed in the Dark Knight chronicles. It also provides a special poignance… while I was doing some of the episodes of "Under the Hood" for the Watchmen text backup and especially upon seeing Dave's mock-up photographs of the Minutemen in their early, innocent days, I felt as if I'd touched upon that sense of "look at them all being happy. They didn't know how it would turn out" that one sometimes gets when looking at old photographs. Dark Knight does this for the Batman to some degree, and I'd like to try to do the same for the whole DC Cosmos in Twilight. I feel that by providing a capstone of the type mentioned above, but one which embraces the whole DC Universe rather than just a couple of its heroes, I can lend a coherence and emotional weight to the notion of a cohesive DC Universe, thus fulfilling the criteria set out in my ramblings about the effect of all this on the idea of DC continuity as mentioned above. Being set in a possible future, it does nothing that cannot be undone, and yet at the same time has a real and tangible effect upon the lives and activities of the various characters in their own books and their own current continuities. At the same time, by providing that capstone and setting the whole continuity into a framework of complete and whole legend, as Frank did in Dark Knight, we make the whole thing seem much more of a whole with a weight of circumstance and history that might help to cement over any shakiness left in the wake of Crisis and its ramifications. Even if we pull the threads of these various characters' circumstances together at some hypothetical point in the future, this does imply that there is a logical pattern or framework for the whole DC Universe, even if the resolution of the pattern is at a point thirty years in the hypothetical future.
Thirty years indeed. And that's given me plenty of spoiler space. Because there are big deaths in the very first issue of Futures End #1. Now as Moore said, these can be undone. But how will you feel about reading their adventures now, with the Futures End knowledge in your head?
So what do we know from issue 1? Getting more spoilery as we go along. Well, there are major deaths five years in the future. But the most shocking thing…?
Well, in five years' time, Stormwatch is still called Stormwatch, not The Authority. And they have a couple of new members.
And Hawkman is one. Clearly Stormwatch is where you go when your book gets cancelled. You get this kind of scene…
Which as keen watchers of World War II fighter pilot movies can only go one way. But there is more to come there as well… and who knew I'd get so moved about an onscreen death that doesn't involve anyone vaguely human?
But the big one for the classic DC fans… well, we kinda knew what was coming. From the September solicits for Green Arrow: Futures End #1.
Green Arrow is dead – and his replacement finally stands revealed!
So, yeah, that happened…
At least he grows his beard in five years. Next week… the funeral?
Comics bought on ComiXology, today.