One of the biggest problems with the earliest issues of "New 52: Futures End" was the unappetizing nature of the future of the DC Universe. Even while it's still quite possible that part of the overall plot of "New 52: Futures End" is that this timeline will eventually be erased, that didn't change the way that the book seemed to be pushing readers away. But now, with a little time under its belt, "New 52: Futures End" #10 is part of a title that isn't afraid to give us some hope, even as it is wearing its influence more and more on its sleeve.
First, there's no way around it: "New 52: Futures End" feels like it's using the "52" playbook in terms of structure. Unlike some of DC's other weekly titles ("Batman Eternal" or "Trinity" for example), there's no tight core that everything revolves around. Instead, we have a medium-sized group of protagonists that the book dips in and out with, touching base with most if not all in any given issue before swiftly shifting to the next person. The flow feels a lot better here, one that doesn't linger too long and also keeps from feeling too swift. There are even some plotting similarities between this and "52," like the "hiding in plain sight" Superman (bringing to mind Supernova/Booster Gold).
We're also getting more in the way of actual heroes. Instead of focusing on characters like the (currently) reprehensible Ronnie Raymond, "New 52: Futures End" is now pushing much more the characters who seem poised to make a difference. Lois Lane, Batman Beyond, the incognito Tim Drake, Hawkman, Amethyst, Frankenstein... you get the idea. Even Grifter, having been drafted by one of the enemy groups, seems to be making the best out of a bad situation. "New 52: Futures End" #10 feels like a book where you can start cheering the characters on, and that's a relief. Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, and Keith Giffen putting a greater emphasis on their heroic natures, which is nice.
The pacing itself is also working well in terms of the various reveals. The two characters in the last three pages of "New 52: Futures End" #10, for example, are ones that might surprise readers. Holding them back until now heightens the reaction of readers when they appear, and it works as a solid cliffhanger. Right now, each issue is doling out just enough to make someone think, "I should check back in next week." That's fairly critical for a book that appears as often as "New 52: Futures End."
Aaron Lopresti and Art Thibert tackle the art, and they're two solid artists. Nothing about this comic will be particularly crazy or out of this world in terms of art, but it doesn't need to be. The page layouts are easy to follow, the characters all look on-point and well proportioned, and reveals like the one on the last page are well-structured and suitably dramatic. No complaints here.
"New 52: Futures End" #10 is a solid issue, and one that shows the level of improvement that the series has gone through. Ultimately, that's a good sign. With this group of creators, I feel like they've found their footing, and made this series one that's starting to provoke some real interest.