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“Everywhere he goes, he leaves a trail of bodies”

Futures End month continues with a peak into John Stewart’s potential future five years down the road and writer Van Jensen uses the opportunity to show how the weight of John’s decisions and responses to the events in his life have turned him into a grim figure whom few would want to spend much time around.  The darkness of the Shadow Empire has spread everywhere, causing death and destruction and taking a toll on a Green Lantern Corps that looks far more militaristic than the one we read about today.  Time has taken its toll on everyone it seems as many familiar faces are not to be found among the Corps and those that remain have all gone through tough times, most visibly Kilowog.

This John Stewart has clearly not been able to move beyond the personal tragedy of losing Fatality, so unable to overcome his personal demons that he’s little more than a killing machine waiting for someone to do to him what he’s doing to those who stand against him.  When John gets involved in rescuing Von Daggle and R’amey Holl it’s finally time for his actions to catch up with him when Iroque shows up and the two have one fateful encounter.
Unfortunately for John the only one he’s let down is himself.
I’ve always pictured John as a guy who would be able to defeat his inner demons, but everyone has a breaking point and while he might have been able to stand against the likes of external forces bent on chaos it’s not a stretch to imagine him overcome by internal forces that he could no longer rise above.  While it’s not hard to imagine, the lack of any new information about dark moments that might have transpired during the years since the events on Zezzen makes the fall ring a little hollow for me to be honest.  That’s perhaps what makes me have a bit of difficulty with this event as I’ve read some of the issues this month because there are not enough pages in some cases to make the story have the weight that it should have.  I’m not knocking the issue, but to me there’s a great deal of potential for the story Jensen is trying to tell but having to squeeze it into a single regular sized issue compromises the depth that we know could be there.
I’m glad that Jensen chose to keep the cast small and intimate, allowing for him to get as much emotional resonance as he can given how much room he has to work with.  The fate of Maro was a nice twist and it was great to see Feska and Jruk given a moment or two to let us know that not everything has changed.  Oa itself also seems to be pulling itself together, serving as the battleground between John and the forces of the Shadow Empire, who’ve laid claim to Oa not for its strategic value but simply to make a statement about the status quo.
Regret leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, suffering leads to the dark side
Bernard Chang has the issue off and there are four different artists on the issue.  Their styles mesh fairly well together, helped along by having Marcelo Maiolo coloring all the pages and creating a sense of consistency.  Unfortunately the artists weren’t all on the same page when it comes to Johns’ appearance and a prominent facial scar manages to disappear for a number of panels.  Other than that glitch the books looks pretty good considering the number of hands in the pot.
Green Lantern Corps: Futures End #1 shows John Stewart at his lowest point yet reveals a future that’s full of compassion, that despite giving in to his inner demons a light still exists that can provide salvation.  While the issue misses the mark by not showing more motivation for going to that dark place beyond what the reader already knows, writer Van Jensen still provides enough emotional resonance to make the issue an interesting read.  The art suffers a little due to having too many pens on the pages but overall the issue is worth picking up.  Four out of five lanterns.

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