Future State Week 3 and 4 Header

FUTURE STATE: WEEK THREE & FOUR [Reviews]

From The Desktop Of Editor in Chief Matt Morrison,

So many Future State books! So little time! So once again we’re giving you the short, short rundown on everything we didn’t quite find time for in Week 3 and Week 4 of Future State.

Future State Catwoman Page 1
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FUTURE STATE: CATWOMAN #1/ Script by RAM V/ Art & Colors by OTTO SCHMIDT/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Cover by LIAM SHARP/ Variant Cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU / Published by DC COMICS

Beyond hunting vigilantes, the Magistrate that has forced martial law on Gotham City is now taking the various “strays” of Gotham society and forcing them onto trains to “reeducation” camps. Catwoman has always had a soft spot for strays, but there’s another prisoner who inspires her to initiate an old-school train robbery on one high-tech bullet train.

While I’m a fan of both Ram V’s writing and Otto Schmidt’s art (seriously, his time on Green Arrow was highly underrated), I think Future State: Catwoman is one of the strongest entries in the series to date. The story doesn’t presume any familiarity with the characters and the flow of action from panel to panel is truly intense. I can’t wait to see the second chapter!

Future State Immortal Wonder Woman Page 1
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FUTURE STATE: IMMORTAL WONDER WOMAN #1/ Scripts by BECKY CLOONAN, MICHAEL W. CONRAD & LL MCKINNEY/ Pencils by JEN BARTEL & ALITHA MARTINEZ/ Inks by JEN BARTEL & MARK MORALES/ Colors by JEN BARTEL & EMILO LOPEZ/ Letters by PAT BROSSEAU & BECCA CAREY/ Cover by JEN BARTE / Variant Cover by PEACH MOMOKO/ Published by DC COMICS

This anthology delivers two tales of two Wonder Women. In the first, Diana of Themyscira is one of the last heroes on a dying Earth, where what’s left of the Amazons seek a heroic death in battle, despite Diana’s belief that there is still a way to save humanity beyond the stars. Unfortunately, Darkseid of the New Gods is all too glad to rule over the ashes of Earth. Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad deliver a picture perfect Diana and one could easily see this being her final story. The artwork by Ken Bartel proves equally amazing.

The second story by LL McKinney centers on Nubia, Diana’s twin sister, who takes up the Wonder Woman mantle after Diana’s disappearance following Dark Nights: Death Metal. Like the earlier Future State: Wonder Woman series, this one sees Nubia working outside the Greek pantheon, with a deity called Aunt Nancy who runs the Ebony Web (get it?). It’s a solid introduction that distinguishes Nubia as a character apart from Diana and the artwork by Alitha Martinez and Mark Morales looks fantastic. The color work by Emilo Lopez sells this story, however, giving it a truly distinctive look. A must read for all Wonder Woman fans!

Future State Nightwing Page 1
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FUTURE STATE: NIGHTWING #1/ Script by ANDREW CONSTANT/ Art by NICOLA SCOTT/ Colors by IVAN PLASCENCIA/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Cover by YASMINE PUTRI/ Variant Cover by NICOLA SCOTT & ANNETTE KWOK / Published by DC COMICS

With Bruce Wayne presumed dead, Nightwing has taken over leading the vigilante resistance against the Magistrate and become Public Enemy #1. The new Batman has sought Dick Grayson out, but how will Dick react to the man who has taken his mentor’s mantle?

I must confess I was looking forward to this title the most out of all of the Future State Week 3 releases. Partly because I love Nicola Scott’s artwork. Mostly because it’s been too long since we had a good Nightwing story. And Andrew Constant gives us a good Nightwing story to go with Scott’s fantastic artwork, backed by the always excellent Ivan Plascencia and Wes Abbott. This book is as energetic and acrobatic as its title character. If you like the Bat-Family but are reluctant to give Future State a try, this is the book to buy.

Future State Shazam Page 1
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FUTURE STATE: SHAZAM #1/ Script by TIM SHERIDAN/ Pencils by EDUARDO PANISCA/ Inks by JULIO FERREIRA/ Colors by MARCELO MAIOLO/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Cover by BERNARD CHANG & MARCELO MAIOLO/ Variant Cover by GERALD PAREL/ Published by DC COMICS

Most of the world’s young heroes were forever changed by the battle that destroyed the Teen Titans, but Billy Batson seems even further gone than most. He hasn’t talked to the rest of the Shazam family in years and avoids his old colleagues in the Justice League. This leaves many wondering…. is Shazam still Billy Batson?

It’s impossible to discuss this issue without revealing a plot point that spoils the whole story. Suffice it to say that old-school Captain Marvel fans who disliked Geoff John’s reimaging of Shazam might get a kick out of this issue, despite its fairly dark tone, along with anyone who enjoyed Miracleman. Apart from Tim Sheridan’s story, the artwork for this issue is amazing, with Eduardo Panisca’s work reminding me of Lee Bermejo in terms of his detailing. The finishes by Julio Ferreira and Marcel Maiolo are good as well.

rating 4

Future State Superman Worlds Of War Page 1
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FUTURE STATE: SUPERMAN: WORLDS OF WAR #1/ Scripts by PHILLIP KENNEDY JOHNSON, BRANDON EASTON, BECKY CLOONAN, MICHAEL W. CONRAD & JEREMY ADAMS/ Art by MIKEL JANIN, VALENTINE DE LANDRO, GLEB MELNIKOV & SIYA OUM/ Colors by JORDIE BELLAIRE, MARISSA LOUISE & HI-FI/ Letters by DAVE SHARPE, TRAVIS LANHAM & GABRIELA DOWNIE/ Cover by MIKEL JANIN/ Variant Cover by RICCARDO FEDERICI/ Published by DC COMIC

Another uneven Superman anthology that is far less than the sum of its parts, the best thing that can be said about Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1 is that it inspires hope in the upcoming Superman book by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. His opening story, The Many Lives of Clark Kent, is not merely a fantastic story about Superman as a character but it is a fantastic analysis of Superman’s influence on society, both in the DC Universe and the real world. The artwork by Mikel Janin suits it perfectly and the color art by Jordie Bellaire and Dave Sharpe’s lettering provide the perfect finishing support.

Would that the rest of the book were as good. Alas, we’re “treated” to another inscrutable chapter of Mister Miracle and its Kirby-lite artwork, which once again requires us to have read a book that hasn’t come out yet to know what the sprock is going on. The Midnighter story is not bad, though the writing team and artist appear to emulating the best and worst excesses of Frank Miller. (This isn’t a bad choice, given Midnighter is basically Frank Miller’s Batman on speed, but I’m not a fan.) I’m honestly not sure what to make of the Black Racer story at the end, but the artwork is nice. I’d say it’s worth picking up just for the story at the start, but I wouldn’t recommend reading past it.

Future State Aquaman Page 1
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FUTURE STATE: AQUAMAN #1/ Script by BRANDON THOMAS/ Art by DANIEL SAMPERE/ Colors by ADRIANO LUCAS/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Cover by DANIEL SAMPERE & ADRIANO LUCAS/ Variant Cover by KHARY RANDOLPH & EMILO LOPEZ/ Published by DC COMICS

Jackson Hyde is the new Aquaman. He’s also the prisoner of aliens on Neptune, after having fallen into the Confluence; a vast interdimensional sea that connects all time and all space. Along the way he lost his sidekick Aqualass, the daughter of his mentors Arthur Curry and Mera of Xebel, along with his freedom. But that which is lost can also be found…

I went into this book largely for the artwork, having been a fan of Daniel Sampere and Adriano Lucas for some time. They did not disappoint, but the story from Brandon Thomas floored me. This was the Aquaman series set-up I didn’t know I wanted. A shame we won’t see more of it beyond this event, because it was fantastic.

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FUTURE STATE: BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1/ Script by GENE LUEN YANG/ Art by BEN OLIVER/ Colors by ARIF PRINATO/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Cover by BEN OLIVER/ Variant Cover by ARTHUR ADAMS & SABINE RICH/ Published by DC COMICS

A prequel of sorts to the Future State setting, Future State: Batman/Superman teams Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne as they investigate a new designer drug with origins in Gotham City. Gene Luen Yang has been rightly praised for his work with Superman but he proves to be a solid Batman writer as well and the interactions between Bruce and Clark are perfect.

The artwork is oddly bright and cleanly drawn, which only serves to make Gotham seem slightly more sinister, strangely enough. It’s a bold choice on the part of Ben Oliver and Arif Prinato, but it pays off. This book can be easily enjoyed by any Batman fan or Superman fan, regardless of how interested you are in the Future State event.

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FUTURE STATE: DARK DETECTIVE #2/ Scripts by MARIKO TAMAKI & JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by DAN MORA & GIANNIS MILONOGIANNIS/ Colors by JORDIE BELLAIRE/ Letters by ADITYA BIDIKAR & ALW’S TROY PETERI/ Cover by DAN MORA / Variant Cover by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO/ Published by DC COMICS

As Bruce Wayne continues to figure out how to best reemerge to fight against the Magistrate, Jason Todd and Ravager are making bank as the best bounty hunters in the Magistrate’s employ. But Jason quickly finds himself on the wrong side of his new masters when he starts investigating a new Red Hood gang

The Bruce Wayne story by Tamaki and Mora continues to impress. What’s truly remarkable about this issue, however, is that Joshua Williamson has managed the impossible and made me give a damn about Jason Todd. (If you know me, you know how what a significant challenge that is.) Unfortunately, I don’t think the artwork by Giannis Milonogiannis suits this story, but that’s largely because I can’t get past the way Rose Wilson is drawn to resemble a white-haired Peppermint Patty when her mask is off. Despite that rough artwork, the book is still worth picking up.

rating 4

Future State Legion of Super Heroes Page 1
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FUTURE STATE: LEGION OF SUPERHEROES #1/ Script by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS/ Art by RILEY ROSSMO/ Colors by IVAN PLASCENCIA / Letters by DAVE SHARPE/ Cover by RILEY ROSSMO/ Variant Cover by IAN MACDONALD / Published by DC COMICS

Once they were the hope of the future. Now, they’ve fallen apart and gone their separate ways. But with one of their own gone rogue, the Legion must unite once more to save the universe… and themselves.

I hope you’re a Legion of Superheroes fan if you pick this book up, because you will be utterly lost if you aren’t. Brian Michael Bendis makes no attempt to introduce the huge cast of characters or explain the setting. Not that it matters as you’ll be hard pressed to identify the characters thanks to Riley Rossmo’s artwork, which looks like it was rushed to meet a deadline. It’s hard to say what’s messier – Rossmo’s linework or Bendis’ script. Either way, avoid this book.

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FUTURE STATE: SUICIDE SQUAD #1/ Scripts by ROBBIE THOMPSON & JEREMY ADAMS/ Pencils by JAVIER FERNANDEZ & FERNANDO PASARIN/ Inks by JAVIER FERNANDEZ & OCLAIR ALBERT/Colors by ALEX SINCLAIR & JEROMY COX/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Cover by JAVIER FERNANDEZ & MARCELO MAIOLO/ Variant Cover by DERRICK CHEW/ Published by DC COMICS

Amanda Waller’s got a new Suicide Squad playing at being the Justice League, with Conner Kent as the new Superman. Little do they know that there’s a whole other Suicide Squad ready to bring down The Wall, once and for all. Meanwhile, in the far future of DC One Million, a new enemy threatens the universe and the only hope may lie in the heart of Black Adam, who renounced the path of war for peace.

I’m not sure who decided to pair the Suicide Squad and Black Adam together. Probably some marketing weasel at AT&T who wanted to promote synergy between the two most unlikely DC Comics movies coming out in the not-too-distant future. Whatever the justification, this is one weird comic.

The Suicide Squad comic presumes the reader is already familiar with the concept and characters involved, yet makes little effort to be funny or get us emotionally invested in any of the characters. The Black Adam story is similarly problematic, requiring a base familiarity with the DC One Million setting. If you manage that, the stories are okay, as is the artwork. There’s not really anything to make either story stand out though and little to encourage readers to pick this one up unless you’re a really big fan of Black Adam or DC One Million.

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FUTURE STATE: SUPERMAN VS IMPERIOUS LEX #1/ Script by MARK RUSSELL/ Art by STEVE PUGH/ Colors by ROMULO FAJARDO JR./ Letters by CARLOS M. MANGUAL/ Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE/ Variant Cover by SIMONE DI MEO/ Published by DC COMICS

In the future, Lex Luthor has abandoned Earth and become ruler of his own planet, Lexor, where he is seen as the world’s finest hero. The rest of the galaxy knows Luthor, however, and are skeptical when Lexor applies to join the United Planets. And that’s before Superman appears to tell them the tale of what he found out regarding the “wealth and prosperity” of Lexor.

It’s always worth the investment when Mark Russell and Steve Pugh work together and this book is no exception. Russell puts a modern spin on the classic concept of Lexor, the world where Lex Luthor is a hero and Superman a villain, and manages an all-too-timely message about what happens when people refuse to believe they’ve been played by a fraudulent businessman armed with empty promises and a slick sales pitch. Pugh’s artwork is excellent as always. A must-read!

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