“The New 52: Futures End” #18 takes place five years ahead, as most of this series from the writing crew of Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen, but this issue tries really hard to keep a consistent timeline across the various locales. This hasn’t been the most achievable goal, as some of the stories in previous issues seem off pace from one another. In “Futures End” #18, with Georges Jeanty drawing the action, the developments in the horn of Africa, Metropolis, a secret island in the Pacific Ocean and Cadmus Island are all beginning to sync up as revelations start piling up.
Following the reveal of the man behind Superman’s mask last issue, “Futures End” #18 ups the ante and begins to line up the various adventures for a merger. Those reveals happen in the course of three pages, blossoming into critical plot points. During the course of the issue, Georges Jeanty finds his groove in the DC Universe. Unfortunately, the shifting nature of the universe and the combination of two inkers leads to some uneven characters and technique: thick cross-hatching to open shading that is left for Hi-Fi to handle. Some characters experience painfully squished faces, which may be attributed to the inker tag-team or simply to a production hurry. When the chips are down and the story calls for dynamic imagery, however, Jeanty delivers wonderfully. One image — on a double-page spread – – provides the most expressive and character-revealing look yet at Fifty Sue as she negotiates her terms with the series’ antagonist. The other image would be a bit of a spoiler to discuss here, but Jeanty, Dexter Vines and/or Karl Story and Hi-Fi hit the mark.
Through the first three pages of the issue, Kal-El is positioned as a Christ-like figure while Constantine antagonizes the would-be savior, trying to goad the last Kryptonian into action for the good of all. It’s a creative character interaction that has room for continued investigation, but could also wrap nicely right here. The writing crew is setting up climaxes for a number of the individual journeys, but there’s still some disconnect between the various threads. At least the action in each story is ascending, making “Futures End” #18 a fine transition point in the grand scheme of this series’ arc.
“Futures End” #18 is a decent offering for a series that has had as many downs as ups. This issue, however, checks in across the Earth of the DC Universe and gives readers some notable surprises. The cliffhanger installment of this issue checks back in with Terry McGinnis and crew, but the most interesting bits happen much earlier in this comic book. Azzarello, Giffen, Jurgens and Lemire have this series on track once more, with a little extra suspense thrown in. From here, the creative team needs to do more than simply get back on track. They need to start rolling down that track and picking up speed.