11:15am PT by Graeme McMillan
Batman Takes on His Own Mortality in Special 'Futures End' Comic Issue
Released this week as part of DC Entertainment’s month of special issues set five years in the future, Batman: Futures End No. 1 gives a glimpse into the future of the Dark Knight, as Bruce Wayne faces his own mortality and decides that he has other plans.
The story, which pits Batman against Lex Luthor (albeit not in the way most would expect), “started with a conversation with [regular Batman writer Scott Snyder] where we said, ‘What do we want to do five years later?’ ” explains Ray Fawkes, who scripted this issue from a plot he co-wrote with Snyder. “We both at the same time said, 'We have to do something that ties into the Detective No. 27 story [where it’s revealed that the future Gotham is protected by an endless stream of clones of Bruce Wayne]. We’ve got to do something that shows where that all came from, and how that happened.' We knew we could do something really exciting from that.”
The issue both follows the lead of the regular Batman monthly series and plays against preconceptions of what a Batman story should be, being (as the preview pages by ACO and FCO Plascenia show) more colorful, sci-fi and fun than might be expected — something that Fawkes says was all part of the plan.
Joking that he "wanted to make it a sci-fi story because we had the word ‘future’ in the title,” he says, "I knew the story was going to be about Bruce facing off against Lex Luthor, and the amount of technology these two guys have been throwing into the mix for the last five years, it’s going to feel like something most people on the street would say is outside the realms of possibility. For these two guys, though, it’s part of their every day."
Having Lex Luthor as the antagonist in the story also allowed Fawkes the chance to bring some comedy into proceedings, with Superman’s traditional nemesis providing snarky commentary while Batman tries to achieve his goal. “I knew Lex’s smarminess — he really believes that he can outthink anyone — would lead to his taunting Batman. I tried to put in as much arrogance and cruelty as possible and really turn him into a funny guy,” the writer says. “I was aware how heavy the subject matter is — we’re talking about Bruce really contemplating his own death and how he can keep his war going beyond that — and I knew that if I didn’t throw in something that wasn’t a little lighter, it would feel too heavy.”
Even if the prospect of a Lex/Batman snarkfest doesn’t excite, long-term fans of DC mythology will have a lot to dig into with this issue, which references a great deal of material, from events in Justice League, Earth-2 and Doom Patrol, amongst other titles. “It’s the result of taking a look at everything we could, and saying, ‘What about this?’ ” Fawkes says. “We had a lot of, ‘I want to throw in this piece of tech Batman stole from Barry Allen,’ and so on. I tried to absorb everything that’s been established about Batman — and everything that’s been established about his future — and tie it into one package.”
Saying that he hopes the issue will “hopefully blow your mind,” Fawkes — who’s also writing Futures End special issues for Trinity of Sin: Pandora, Batman and Robin and Constantine, and regularly writes Constantine, Batman: Eternal and the soon-to-launch Gotham by Midnight for DC — acknowledged that the nature of the Futures End issue means that “a fair amount of readers will be picking up books that they may not otherwise pick up, either because they’re completists and want every Futures End book or because they’re just curious to see where Batman is in the future. I wanted to give them something that stands on its own, but entices them to read further.”
Additionally, he says, “ this is the Batman title and they gave me a run at a single issue, obviously, I want to make this as satisfying an issue as possible. I threw myself at it with everything I could.”
Batman: Futures End No. 1 is available digitally and in comic book stores now.