New 52: Futures End #3

"New 52: Futures End" #3 gives Frankenstein a turn in the spotlight, sporting Dan Jurgens' art under Mark Irwin's inks. Half of the writing quartet of Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen pull double duty in this issue as Giffen is credited as "art consultant" and Jurgens provides the layouts for the issue.

"Futures End" #3 does not feature pure Dan Jurgens' art, although his style is prevalent, even through the finishes provided by Mark Irwin. The art varies from scene to scene, defining Jurgens strengths along the journey. The five pages featuring Frankenstein and three from Firestorm are the strongest from Jurgens -- they're also the pages with the most required suspension of disbelief behind their lead characters. Grifter visually shares a little too much in common with Jurgens' historical takes on Rip Hunter and Booster Gold, but the story makes it clear this is Grifter and not either of those others. The scene with Mister Terrific is not the strongest of this issue, and one sequence in particular seems really odd as Terrific goes from gym shorts to full white suit mid-sentence. I realize his technology is impressive, but that transformation could have used a little visual definition.

The story itself is rather flat. Firestorm spends his scene bickering with himself in that Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond has divisive opinions on what they should do -- and the thread needs a little more than whining behind it to make it compelling. Thankfully, the Frankenstein scene gives the writers a chance to define the character for readers in the span of five pages with an adventurous, unpredictable sequence that involves Frankenstein, his sword, a polar bear and a killer robot. The writing crew rounds out and closes out "Futures End" #3 by giving Lois Lane a chance to remind readers why she's so cool. Her deductive reporting skills come into play and provide an exciting last-page reveal.

At the end of the issue, "Futures End" #3 just barely moves the pieces forward. Readers get a little bit from each of a wide range of characters, but after closing this issue, I'd be hard pressed to tell you what happened come next week's issue. The biggest impact to the grander adventure is that a hero is put back on the board. That said, it appears as though most of the exposition should be complete now that the series is four issues in (including the "Futures End" #0 Free Comic Book Day issue) so things should be ramping up shortly.

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