Convergence may be starting this week, but there are several stories from DC's past year that have just finished up — and they not only influence the events of Convergence, but they set up DC's new June line-up.
In a year that saw three concurrent weeklies from DC during the last few months, readers have been waiting awhile for the answers from Batman: Eternal, The New 52: Futures End, and Earth 2: World's End.
Surprisingly, a couple of the endings aren't exactly happy, and all of them will be influencing what's coming up in DC books.
So without further ado, let's delve into what we learned at the end of the three DC weeklies, and what that means for the future of the DCU:
Batman Eternal ended with Gotham City itself being the ultimate hero, taking down Lincoln March, who was just recently revealed to be the true mastermind behind the year-long story.
The issue began with a flashback to the "The Court of Owls" event several years ago, when Cluemaster first approached the Court to get funding for his plan. But he discovered the Court had been killed by Lincoln March, and instead pitched his idea to the villain, who claims to be Bruce Wayne's hidden-away-all-his-life brother.
But, as the comic switched back to the present day, readers are reminded that Cluemaster — even though the D-list villain actually pulled off his plan — has been killed by Lincoln. And the Owl-ish villain (man, don't you wish we could just call him Owlman already? C'mon DC…) is about to enact his revenge upon his supposed brother, when Jim Gordon and the GCPD call Gotham City residents into action. Using some type of loudspeaker system and a whole lot of Bat-signals, Gordon makes this big speech about Gotham being heroic and fighting back.
It works — not only do the residents begin to take back their city, but Spoiler (who was running away) decides to come back and help. And — in a moment that should make Spoiler fans happy — Stephanie is the first Bat-family member to punch Lincoln March right in the face.
After every Bat-family member is recruited by Julia Pennyworth to help out, the battle turns, and Lincoln March is confronted by…. well, just about everyone associated with Gotham. A splash page shows Lincoln March towering over a weakened Batman on the ground, but behind Bruce are Katana, Spoiler, Talon (yeah, even he showed up to help), Batwing, Batwoman, Bluebird — but wait! There's more! — Jim Gordon, Batgirl, Red Robin, Red Hood and Black Canary.
Lincoln escapes into the sewers, but we all know what lies below Gotham, don't we? Lincoln is taken down by the Court of Owls. They put him in a box, and according to their dialogue, it appears that Lincoln March is on ice "for a decade or so" (which probably means Scott Snyder and friends would prefer that other Bat-writers don't use him for awhile).
In the aftermath….
Redheads Vicki Vale and Barbara Gordon are shown with their policemen of choice — Babs being loyal to her dad, Vicki being not-so-loyal to Jason, the bad-guy-turned-police commissioner-turned-good-guy.
Despite their relationship, Vicki's going to report all of Jason's wrongdoing. But he's already resigned as police commissioner and seems willing to serve time for his crimes. The two of them run off to collaborate on an exclusive newspaper story where he plans to confess his sins. Oh, and Maggie Sawyer is the new police commissioner.
That means Jim Gordon is now unemployed. And Barbara reminisces fondly to her father about a "friend"— who we know is Jason Todd, for whom she's apparently got some feelings.
She's not alone on that end. Jason Todd is shown sitting in a low-life bar, wishing he could date Barbara, and he almost calls her for a date, but decides not to in the end.
Cluemaster's wife skipped town, and now that Cluemaster is dead, Stephanie moved in with Cullen and Harper Row — and in that scene, she and Tim shared a moment (more Spoiler fan geek-porn).
It turns out that Catwoman, who stood on a rooftop during the whole battle (noticeably thrusting her cleavage out as far forward as she could, by the way), had ordered her minions to help the city — but of course, as Batman later points out to her, a few things went missing from the businesses they helped. The Bat and the Cat declare their relationship officially over.
Jim Corrigan tries to recruit Batwing for his task force (the team that's currently in Gotham by Midnight), so even though Luke's response was lukewarm, we should probably expect Batwing to show up in the comic, maybe after new team member Kate Spencer gets established after she's added in June.
More Than One Future's End
They warned us that more than one future would play a part in Futures End, and nowhere is that more apparent than the final issue of the weekly.
With Brainiac having been defeated a few issues ago, and most other storylines wrapping up in February and March, this final issue of Futures End is entirely dedicated to the decimated-by-Brother-Eye, 35-years-in-the-future time period that kicked off Futures End almost a year ago.
We already summed up the events that led the Futures End version of Tim Drake to don the Batman Beyond costume after Terry McGinnis died in the weekly series. And at the end of last week's issue, it appeared that Tim had succeeded in destroying Brother Eye in the past, so that he could save the future.
Well, it turns out that Brother Eye was just misleading Tim — and all the rest of us — because he sent Tim into the future to learn that very little has changed. Brother Eye still dominates the world and has turned most heroes into fully controlled, robot versions of themselves.
So was the Futures End story all for naught? Well, despite the aforementioned defeat of Brainiac (which pretty much caused the Convergence event to happen), there are also a few survivors of the five-years-in-the-future timeline who have lived another 30 years, fighting Brother Eye.
The 30-years-older Ray Palmer from Futures End has a band of caped heroes working with him, fighting Brother Eye, and they rescue Tim Drake from Brother Eye's attack.
OK, let's just make it clear that the five-years-in-the-future timeline from Futures End didn't happen, or rather won't happen, now that Tim Drake prevented the Earth 2 characters from coming to Earth 0, thus preventing the World War.
However, Ray Palmer from Futures End explains that he and other characters survived because, when the timeline changed, Brother Eye was able to isolate the Futures End Terrifitech building and allow time to kind of morph around it.
Ah… time travel…
Anyway, guess who else survived Futures End? Madison, the no-longer-Firestorm girlfriend of Futures End Tim Drake. Of course, she's 30 years older and graying a bit, but that doesn't stop Tim from kissing her. (Awwww … or ewwww. We're not sure which.)
It's hard to tell who else is in Ray Palmer's band of rebels — looks like a new Green Lantern-type character and maybe even Spoiler — but we're guessing that Futures End co-writer Dan Jurgens will be using them (and Tim) in his new Batman Beyond comic that launches in June.
And before we move on to the next week, let's also make something clear: The Batman Beyond TV show and its continuity, with Terry McGinnis as Batman Beyond, still exists on Earth 12, according to Grant Morrison's Multiversity Guidebook. (We presume that includes the continuity of the recent Beyond digital-first comics as well.)
So yes, a future version of Tim Drake — not the current DCU Tim Drake, mind you — eventually wears the Batman Beyond costume and becomes the 35-years-in-the-future Batman. But there's still a "Beyond" world on Earth 12.
One more time — Earth 0 Batman Beyond: Tim Drake from another timeline (Futures End). Earth 12 Batman Beyond: Terry McGinnis.
Plus, if this convoluted summation of Futures End proves anything, the future can change.
Earth 2: World's End
As we already pretty much surmised after the last issue of World's End — the Earth 2 heroes are unable to stop Darkseid, who has conquered Earth 2. So this issue just needs to explain the final fate of a few of the Earth 2 heroes.
Specifically, there are ships holding many of Earth 2's residents that escaped from Earth 2 before it was ultimately defeated by Darkseid and his New God minions, including Captain Steel, Sonia Sato, Red Arrow, Mr. Terrific, Huntress, Power Girl (who's now Earth 2 Supergirl), Jay Garrick's mom, Aquawoman, Barda (who's acting as guardian of Dick Grayson's kid), and Hawkgirl.
Mr. Miracle is also on one of those ships, but he tells Barda he's leaving, and he's going to take other New God "stowaways" with him.
However, a few ships didn't escape Earth 2, and several heroes appear to be stuck there, dying with the world they loved, including Alan Scott Green Lantern, Dick Grayson, Batman (who's actually Bruce's dad Thomas), Jay Garrick Flash and Val-Zod, the Earth 2 version of Superman.
Oh, and we should mention that Alan Scott has healing powers, it seems. So these new Multiversal powers that Alan Scott is using (from the life forces of Green, Red, etcetera from the Swamp Thing mythos) are pretty powerful.
OK, so what happens to these Earth 2-bound heroes? According to a recent quote from Convergence writer Jeff King in USA Today, these left-behind folks are going to be taken to Brainiac's planet in Convergence, and they'll play a big part in how that event turns out.
"They're the grain of sand in the clam — they're going to be the pearl, the difference maker, because their arrival is one unexpected random element," King said.
And of course the folks who're floating around in ships outside the Earth 2 orbit are going to find a new home and build a new Earth 2 in June's new DC title, Earth 2: Society.