*Contains spoilers from THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #1*
If you've done even a little bit of research on DC's THE NEW 52: FUTURES END, odds are you know it isn't a very flattering experience for Oliver Queen. Sure, heroes reflect on why Ollie's a great man, but it looks like he had a pretty brutal and harsh death. Well, writer Jeff Lemire, artist Andrea Sorrentino, and colorist Marcelo Maiolo's final issue with Oliver's book takes place before the events in THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #1. Not only does it feel like a proper teaser for the publisher's big event, but also feels like a very satisfying way for the creative team to say "goodbye" to Oliver's world.
As totally expected, Sorrentino and Maiolo leave Oliver's story with an absolutely gorgeous set of pages. From the immersive way they have Oliver enter the Cathedral in Prague to the handling of a savage fight scene, this is an issue that reminds us why we fell in love with the creative team's run. Sure, Lemire's writing is praiseworthy, but these pages are more than worthy of our admiration and continue to impress. From the shifting focus of bold colors to the way angles are used to make the scenes as cinematic as possible, this is yet another example of why Sorrentino and Maiolo's work on GREEN ARROW will be missed a whole lot. Plus, I was beyond thrilled to see the two finally reveal how they'd bring a certain mercenary to life. Oh, and if you loved that introductory shot of the Longbow Hunters, you'll be very happy with Sorrentino/Maiolo's introduction of another team from the run.
Lemire's handling of their final issue feels like major fan service for GREEN ARROW readers. Seeing Emiko and Naomi step up is such a joy and the dynamic has so much potential -- this is more than obvious during their first scuffle and the little bit of dialogue that takes place immediately after it. "Never change, Emiko." You can't help but enjoy how the captions are handled, too ("stupid Vertigo wannabes"). From there, the story juggles two key elements: building interest in THE NEW 52: FUTURES END and feeling like a final note in Lemire's run. Now, if you haven't been following FUTURES END, odds are you'll have a question or two when you're done with the issue, but Lemire still works in some exposition to make sure everyone has a decent understanding of the basics. It doesn't feel like a very firm conclusion to their run, but it gives Lemire enough room to give us a fulfilling interaction between all of the key players and it reminds us why we fell in love with the book in the first place. On top of that, if this doesn't get you curious about reading FUTURES END #21, I just don't know what will. It's just too bad Fyff and Diggle didn't appear.
Very minor gripes: based on my experience with the character, I couldn't help but feel like the surprise mercenary was little out of character with some of his remarks. Also, there's a close-up of Emiko's eyes, but her mask is colored grey, not green.
GREEN ARROW: FUTURES END #1 is a bittersweet experience. As a fan of the creative team's run with the Emerald Archer, I'm so happy that we received an awesome end that's full of fan service. However, it's the end! Major bummer, right? The issue gives Lemire an opportunity to say "goodbye" to Oliver Queen and his supporting cast. We all would love to see the writer have more time with Ollie and his friends, but he makes good use of his limited time and ends their run on a thoroughly gratifying note. Additionally, Lemire's able to establish a strong link to the bigger picture and it just may be enough to make readers interested in picking up FUTURES END #21 (I sure know I will). And it really should shock no one that the art team makes the entire ride look amazing. Lemire and Sorrentino turned GREEN ARROW into a must read comic and this is a great way to end their time with the hero.