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Preview: Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #3

Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #3

Written by: Mark Russell
Art by: Steve Pugh

Could the last days of Lexor be here already? Thanks to Lex Luthor’s greed, his adopted home is on the brink of financial and planetary ruin after leaving the United Planets. Now it’s up to Superman to act as a champion of these people and show them there’s a way through all of this. Will Lex stand down? Or is this the final showdown? The future of Lexor depends on it!

Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #3

Preview: Future State: Superman: House of El #1

Future State: Superman: House of El #1

Written by: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by: Scott Godlewski

Centuries into the future, the bloodline of Kal-El, the hero we know as Clark Kent, continues. Meet a new generation of Kryptonian heroes as they stand against one of the greatest threats they’ve ever faced: a diabolical foe called the Red King. Get ready for the unexpected debuts of the twins known as Rowan and Ronan Kent, descendants of Jonathan Kent. Rowan is the new Superman of Earth, while his sister is a Blue Lantern. Also on board are Theand’r Ban-El, whose mother was Tamaranean, and other heroes-all led by the original Man of Steel himself! Plus, don’t miss an appearance by the Black Racer! See how the future of the Superman Family comes together in this wild, extra-size special!

Superman: House of El #1

Preview: Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #2

Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #2

Written by: Mark Russell
Art by: Steve Pugh

It’s really happening: Lexor has joined the United Planets! While surveying, Lois Lane and Superman discover that the planet is rich in minerals, causing Lex Luthor to try and exit the federation to make a pretty penny! Realizing he can’t leave without agreement from Earth, he imprisons Lois Lane, then whips up the propaganda machine against Superman. Now the power couple must work together to break free and stop Luthor’s plans! But how can they fight a whole planet that’s designed to hate them?

Superman vs. Imperious Lex #2

Preview: Future State: Suicide Squad #2

Future State: Suicide Squad #2

Written by: Jeremy Adams, Robbie Thompson
Art by: Javier Fernandez, Fernando Pasarin

Peacemaker attacks! Assigned to bring Amanda Waller back to Earth-1 at all costs, the Suicide Squad battles Waller’s private Justice League on Earth-3. As lives are lost and blood is spilled, the fate of the Multiverse will be decided by Superman! Also in this issue, the 853rd Century is burning, and only Black Adam can save reality from the onslaught of murderous rage from a new threat spawned from a former hero.

Future State: Suicide Squad #2

Preview: Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Riley Rossmo

The unthinkable has happened: one of the Legionnaires has betrayed the entire galaxy! The United Planets is in ruins, the team has been scattered across the cosmos, and madness reigns on multiple worlds! Now the surviving Legionnaires are just discovering the real truth behind what has happened to their dream of a new age of heroes. Don’t miss this shocking twist 1,000 years in the making from the team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and visionary artist Riley Rossmo.

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2

Preview: Future State: Dark Detective #4

Future State: Dark Detective #4

Written by: Joshua Williamson, Mariko Tamaki
Art by: Giannis Milonogiannis, Dan Mora

Bruce Wayne may be a dead man in the eyes of the villainous Magistrate, but this dark detective isn’t through yet! In this pulse-pounding finale, Bruce makes his final move and comes face to face with the man at the top of Gotham’s oppressive regime, Peacekeeper One! With bombs planted and the trap waiting to be sprung, this final battle will decide the fate of Gotham City once and for all… And after the events of the last “Red Hood” chapter, Jason Todd is a wanted man. He got too close to the mystery of the new Red Hood Gang, and that forced the Magistrate to take extreme measures-because no one can know the truth. Hurt and alone, Jason must turn to some unlikely allies if he’s going to survive!

Future State: Dark Detective #4

Preview: Future State: Batman/Superman #2

Future State: Batman/Superman #2

Written by: Gene Luen Yang
Art by: Stephen Segovia, Ben Oliver

Superman has fallen deep into the Magistrate’s Kryptonite caverns, and now he’s at the mercy of a gruesomely transformed Professor Pyg! So what do animalistic body modification and caves of Kryptonite have to do with the Magistrate’s growing fascist state in Gotham City? That’s what Batman needs to find out as the race against time to save the Man of Steel nears its end! All we know for sure is that during this battle, something happened that drove a wedge between Bruce and Clark…Discover the answers in the conclusion that will rock the World’s Finest to their core!

Preview: Future State: Aquaman #2

Future State: Aquaman #2

Written by: Brandon Thomas
Art by: Daniel Sampere

Andy Curry, daughter of Arthur and Mera, has had a pretty terrible month. Jackson Hyde, a.k.a. Aquaman, won’t stop calling her Aqualass when she’s told him a thousand times it’s Aquawoman. She’s manifested a new power that scares the absolute hell out of her. Oh, and she and Jackson just got ripped apart in the midst of a cosmic space ocean and she can’t find him anywhere! For the first time in her 14 years, Andy’s all alone-and it’s gonna take her wits, her will, and every single lesson Jackson ever taught her to survive.

Future State: Aquaman #2

Review: Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2

The lead story in Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 deals with the actual end of the DC Universe, and it’s brilliant, poetic work from writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad and artist Jen Bartel. We get to see the final battle between Superman and Darkseid, and it’s epic as hell. However, it’s not the center of the narrative, which is Wonder Woman traveling the universe looking for signs of life and hope and trying to avoid the Undoing. Except for the ending and little glimmers, this whole issue is Diana staring into the abyss and trying to find purpose in a world that doesn’t need saving anymore and is truly in its death throes.

In the first issue, Jen Bartel demonstrated that she could operate on an epic scale in both linework and color palette, and this extends to Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2. Her punches have true power and weight behind them, the lasso finds the truth in the last few characters it entangles, and the contrast between light and shadow in her color palette is operatic, especially in Wonder Woman’s final moments as well as Superman and Darkseid’s. There’s a kind of glow in her trail as she flies across the void of space, past the ruins of the Daily Planet or Brainiac’s ship, that is in direct opposition of the black tendrils of the Undoing. Cloonan and Conrad don’t go deep into The Undoing’s backstory, but they’re the inevitability personified and wipe out the whole Legion of Superheroes in a single page that establishes their universe ending threat level. They’re like “The End” on the last page of a story, and the final pages of Immortal Wonder Woman #2 definitely take on a metafictional quality and set up yet another myth cycle.

Cloonan, Conrad, and Bartel definitely use the lead story of Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 to deal with weighty philosophical issues, like the purpose (or purposelessness) of life and the effects of revenge, especially when Spectre comes into the picture. The whole Ragnarok/Twilight of the Gods vibe carries through from the previous issue, but with the Undoing, not Darkseid, being responsible for the end of the universe. In the big picture, he’s just a god, not an unknowable cosmic force. These themes and ideas as well as the general scale of Jen Bartel’s visuals truly makes this story feel like it’s a kind of modern mythology instead of using gods from various pantheons as window dressing, comic relief, or public domain action figures.

However, Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel don’t forget what makes these myths and legends endure, and that is these heroes’ flaws and recognizable emotions. (For example, young queer people are making Tik Toks about Achilles and Patroclus just like Alexander the Great was writing fan fiction about them two millennia ago.) Bartel does a wonderful job showing Wonder Woman’s emotions throughout the story with many close-ups of her crying, and those tears floating in space to make these panels even more tragic. She also differentiates sad tears like when she witnesses Superman’s death from happy ones like when she finds the Spectre, the last living being. However, Wonder Woman isn’t all sadness in Immortal Wonder Woman #2. There’s a lot of anger too, especially in her last fight, against the Undoing as Cloonan and Conrad’s narration reveal her last thoughts about how she’s a contradictory figure: a warrior, yet peaceful. This ties into the conclusion of the two part storyline, which is quite satisfying, primal, and touches on the nature of immortality in a very cosmological way.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2’s second story, “Nubia”, definitely plays second fiddle to the lead story with writer L.L. McKinney continuing to cram a six issue miniseries’ amount of lore and exposition in six issues. However, she and artists Alitha Martinez and Mark Morales and colorist Emilio Lopez do show Nubia being a hero and kicking ass against the likes of Grail and Circe, who Grail has summoned to get the last artifact: Nubia’s tiara. This artifact is magical, and Grail is more into science so she needs an assist from a sorceress of her own. However, little does she know, that this crown is imbued with magic from the Yoruba goddess, Oshun, and it only strengthens Nubia. But, of course, there is a price, and Nubia still owns Aunt Nancy a favor. McKinney definitely leaves plenty of plot threads and potential supporting players and goddesses on the table for future stories.

But for most of the pages of “Nubia”, McKinney, Martinez, and Morales focus on the task at hand: a battle royale between Nubia, Grail, and Circe. Grail and Circe definitely underestimate their opponent so it’s quite vindicated when she breaks free from their control in an iconic full page image, and then throws, kicks, and punches them in a double page spread. Instead of going the stiff pinup route, Martinez and Morales use the spread to showcase Nubia’s speed and strength using borderless panels for her battle with Grail and the bordered panels for her fight against Circe. The choreography is gorgeous in this sequence as McKinney, Martinez, Morales, and Lopez are all on the same page and cut to the best moves. For example, Nubia ducks under a magic blast from Circe and switches opponents to throw Grail with her super strength before delivering a gut punch to the sorceress. Alitha Martinez’s layout choices give a real flow to the action while Mark Morales accentuates details like Nubia’s shoulder muscles when she hurls Circe into the sky, and Emilio Lopez uses bright primary colors during intense moments like when Circe and Grail struggle to take Nubia’s crown off.

Although, these characters are highly powered, the fight has a personal feel to it culminating in Nubia reinforcing the fact that she’s Wonder Woman, an Amazon warrior, and you can’t take important artifacts from her. L.L. McKinney gives Nubia some great one-liners to show that she’s becoming more confident as a hero and coming into her own as a “Guardian”. The flashback with the different gods might be a little text-heavy, but seeing Nubia break free from a villain who is literally staring her down and saying “Submit” is well worth it. But she doesn’t get a chance to celebrate in the epilogue of this story, and Martinez and Morales draw her with tense body language while setting up another potential arc down the road. I’ve really grown to enjoy Nubia’s courage and determination as well Alitha Martinez’s fight choreography, and I would definitely like to see more stories with this creative team. Having a Nubia limited or ongoing series would also give L.L. McKinney an opportunity to pace out some of her worldbuilding elements as well as her protagonist’s connection to Yoruba mythology and Akan folklore plus the magical/superheroic side of Atlanta in the DC Universe.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 wraps up with two very different takes on the iconic DC Comics superhero. Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel tell an archetypal self-contained story of life and death, hope and despair, and finding purpose when there’s nothing to live for starring Diana Prince. Plus it really captures the range of emotions one would feel before the inevitable end of the universe. In the second story, L.L. McKinney, Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, and Emilio Lopez cram in lore, exposition, multiple villains, and one kick-ass fight scene to lay the foundation for future stories featuring Nubia. It’s like a two-hour pilot screaming for a series order whereas the lead story is a beautiful elegy with career-best interior art from Jen Bartel, who masterfully depicts both the cosmic and human.

Story: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, L.L. McKinney Art: Jen Bartel, Alitha Martinez with Mark Morales
Colors: Jen Bartel, Emilio Lopez Letterer: Pat BrosseauBecca Carey
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Future State: The Next Batman #4

Future State: The Next Batman #4

Written by: Paula Sevenbergen, Vita Ayala, John Ridley
Art by: Aneke, Emanuela Lupacchino, Laura Braga

The next Batman goes head-to-head with the Magistrate’s shock troops to protect the…guilty?! It’s a savage running battle across Gotham City, and it will have the next Dark Knight fighting overwhelming odds to prove that justice still lives in the heart of a broken city.

In the finale of “Batgirls,” after discovering the person locked in the high-security cell is the one who’s been sending out “Batman Lives” signals to the Resistance, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain must work together to make sure they take that person when they escape their prison!

Plus, in the conclusion of “Gotham City Sirens,” Catwoman and the new android Siren hide out in Poison Ivy’s newly built paradise, where they discuss their past relationships, including what Catwoman has—or had—with Batman. But when Peacekeeper forces arrive, the new Siren will have to make a sacrifice to save her friends.

Future State: The Next Batman #4
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