The New 52: Futures End suffers from severe pacing problems, an ironic difficulty for a book that deals so intimately with time, or at least with travel through it.  Periods of intense action alternate with quagmires of murky character exposition and opaque plot maneuvers. Very little happens in this issue, not even in the plot thread concerning Father Time and the return of the mission headed by Frankenstein that he sent into space.  It is very difficult to begin a book with a grand stand-off featuring, among others, Frankenstein, Hawkman, Black Adam, and a Godzilla analogue, but the writers manage it.  Although, to be fair, they end that episode with another tease that promises to reveal the true nature of the mysterious, seemingly immortal, and evidently parasitic master of SHADE.

If the fight with Father Time proves disappointing, the other plotlines do not amount to much more.  Cole Lang AKA Grifter finds himself once again entangled with the mercurial and murderous godling Fifty Sue.  The grieving and insane Dr. Yamazake completes his transformation into the villainous Doctor Polaris as Madison Payne and Jason Rusch continue their extremely slow-moving growth as the new Firestorm.  And to absolutely no one’s surprise Brother Eye proves to have transferred its consciousness into cyberspace.

While the script is not powerful, the art creates further problems.  Aaron Lopresti and Stephen Thompson make plentiful use of cascading horizontal panels in an attempt to suggest a driving narrative, only to ruin the pacing with splash pages that bring the action to a halt.  Thompson and Art Thibert’s inks, however, are relatively light, with thin, fluid lines and effective shadowing. Hi-Fi’s colors likewise are clear and even vivid.

Grade

C

Conclusion

This issue treads water. At most, some pieces are re-arranged on a board that has not significantly changed its configuration for months. The world of this series is supposedly moving toward an apocalypse. At the rate it's going, none of the characters have the least worry of ever seeing it.