Batman has been a very bad flying mammal.  Or at least, he will be one according to The New 52: Futures End #39.  In the future chronicled by this weekly, not only will Bruce Wayne be the co-creator of the villainous and tyrannical Brother Eye satellite, and not only will he break faith with Tim Drake in a manner yet to be explored, he will also betray and manipulate his best friend, Clark Kent, causing Superman to betray the Kryptonian’s highest ideals.  Altogether, it is starting to look like the book might as well be titled The New 52: Batman Destroys All Futures.

Actually, that is about all that can be said in terms of greater themes at this moment.  The series has dissolved into a series of non-sequiturs, each a statement of a plot that might make for a worthy arc in another series, but which makes little sense in the context of this story, particularly this late.  Frankenstein and friends are still occupied at the castle of his birth, where they have just slain his creator along with a horde of lesser monsters.  Fifty-Sue and her adopted family are still on the run, or on the teleport, with a safe full of metahuman DNA.  And the new Firestorm and Doctor Polaris are aboard the Justice League satellite experimenting with ways to reverse the accident that fused Madison and Jason into the Firestorm Matrix.

The only thread that advances the story at all is that containing the revelation about Batman.  It comes in a conversation between John Constantine and Clark Kent the proclaimed-to-be-evil location of Smallville, Kansas.  The upshot of that encounter is yet another non-sequitur, a mystic explanation that Braniac is on the way to collect, not Smallville, but Manhattan.  Evidently the ancient evil that is Braniac walked the ground of Smallville long before the rise of humanity, leaving an imprint that allows magical resonance with him in the present.  Thus has the green-skinned AI of old become a Lovecraftian entity of inscrutable purpose and unfathomable age.

Grade

C

Conclusion

The coming of Braniac is the promised catalyst that will gel the components of this alchemical brew together. But, powerful as that catalyst is, the cauldron has been simmering a very long time, and much of the soup is now a sludge. Perhaps new life will climb out of this primordial ooze. But then again, it might be a monster if it does.