Five years into the future, The Riddler and Batman team up to stop Calendar Man, who plans on recreating the Zero Year blackout.
Above everything else, DETECTIVE COMICS: FUTURES END provides a fun team-up issues between two great detectives. Both characters bounce well off of each other, and this is something I'd love to see Buccellato go back to at a later date since both characters are exceptionally smart but couldn't be more opposite on the moral compass.
Calendar Man is quite different from the pre-Flashpoint character and even much different from the Channel 52 version that used to appear in the books. There's still a lot to learn about him as well, and while I'm a fan of the older character, I can really accept the direction Buccellato is taking him. He's a thug but charismatic enough to get others to follow him. It's a giant step away the Julian Day we know, but I actually really like this.
Separately, the artwork on this issue is fantastic. Together, not so much. The opening 11 pages were done by Scott Hepburn with Brian Buccellato on colors, except for page 7. Buccellato's color work is a nice transition from the main series and Hepburn brings a quirky style to the book that really suits the Riddler.
Things are much different when Cliff Richards takes over with Lee Loughridge on colors. The book is a bit darker and grittier and that element of a "fun" story disappears a bit. On its own, the art really works and Richards does some really cool things with perspective.
The biggest problem with the issue is the three artists working on it. There's no cohesion between it all. While Buccellato doing the colors in the opening segment made the book feel connected to the main DETECTIVE COMICS series, everything else feels like puzzle pieces smashed together that just don't fit. Personally, I'd rather see either Hepburn or Richards on the whole book. Together, their styles just clash way too much. Neither of them draws Batman the same way, which makes this feel like two different stories.
A part of me keeps asking "How is this connected to Futures End?" And another part of me keeps saying "Who cares? It's just a fun story" But here's the thing, if you didn't read DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #3, then you may be a bit lost with what's going on here, since the origins of this story tie to that issue. However, Buccellato does a solid job of briefing the reader on Julian's backstory, but still, you should read the origin.
I kept bouncing back and forth on DETECTIVE COMICS: FUTURES END between a 3 and a 4, and while there are problems with the art and with the connection to Futures End, I ultimately really enjoyed the team-up between Riddler and Batman. It's an issue of Batman that ends up being a lot of fun and a solid one-shot story that has connection to the recent annual. It's not a story that changes anything we already don't know about the world, but it is a fun ride.