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Review: Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1

Some Future State stories have dealt with dark, dystopian futures, but the lead story in Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1 takes it a step further with Diana, the remaining Amazons, and an aging Superman fighting to defend Swamp Thing, the Green, and basically the symbol of life on Earth from both Darkseid and the Anti-Life Equation. Writers Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad and spectacular artist Jen Bartel tell a story about fighting a war with love to the bitter end as Diana doesn’t want to fight for the dying Earth and instead start somewhere fresh with Swamp Thing and her sisters, but is overridden by the warlike Amazons as well as Darkseid popping in for one last chance to conquer Earth.

Cloonan and Conrad’s writing in Immortal Wonder Woman #1 can be described as truly poetic and matches the emotion-tinged visual from Bartel. The opening sequence has Diana interacting with a hologram of Batman and meditating on their relationship as part of DC’s Trinity’s with Batman telling her that she’s a true symbol of hope to rally around. However, Diana is also a realist about what’s going as she wistfully sees a star blink out of existence, and the story cuts to Apokolips where Darkseid realizes the end aka the Anti-Life Equation is near and abandons his empire, son Orion, and follower Big Barda and immediately heads to Earth. Bartel does a great job of contrasting the Amazons’ perspective of Earth with its reality using an almost beach vacation color palette for when the Amazons decide to defend the planet from an unknown threat to using a dark and rusty one for when Darkseid flies through space to the “husk”.

Jen Bartel is known for beautiful character design and capturing deep emotion out of her figures, but she can also draw one hell of a fight scene when Diana and Darkseid finally throw down with again Superman having one heroic moment and then getting flattened. She channels her inner Jack Kirby with colorful explosions and speed lines every time Darkseid lands a blow, or Diana kicks the Apokoliptian tyrant or gets a grip on him with her lasso. Bartel also uses interesting (or heartbreaking) panel shapes like when she lays one out that looks just like Darkseid’s Omega sanction and ends in a stark, panel of skulls on a stark background. On a more macro-level, Cloonan and Conrad keep the objective of the battle high, yet simple, Diana, the Amazons, and Superman have to protect Swamp Thing from Darkseid and the Anti-Life Equation for a chance at filling Earth (or maybe a new planet) with life again. The stakes of this comic are literally life and death.

The first story in Immortal Wonder Woman #1 is a Ragnarok for the DC Universe courtesy of Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel, who makes everyone look epic, pretty, and/or war worn while nailing the look and color palette of utter cosmic darkness too. It’s the last of the old gods battling the embodiment of utter evil with only a small chance for rebirth in the form of Swamp Thing, who is given a frail form and halting speech patterns. It’s also a masterclass in pacing with Cloonan and Conrad getting to the emotional breaking point before hitting that “To Be Continued” with literal tears streaming in the last panel that Bartel draws.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1

The second story in Immortal Woman #1 is written by LL McKinney with art from Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, and Emilio Lopez, is set earlier in the Future State timeline, and features Nubia, an Amazon who has taken up the mantle of Wonder Woman while an off-panel Diana is queen of Themiscyra. Like the lead story, its plot has a world-ending conflict as Grail, the daughter of Darkseid, is stealing parts of an artifact connected to various gods that if put together could rip a hole in time and space. Most of this is explained in many expository text boxes by McKinney, who seems to be trying to fit a 4-6 issue miniseries in two issues.

A feeling of being overstuffed aside, “Nubia” is not without its charms. Martinez and Morales are veteran storytellers, who excel at everything from an exciting bout of close quarters combat between Grail and Nubia with a poster-worthy splash of the protagonist saying, “I am Wonder Woman” to capturing Nubia’s pained facial expressions when Aunt Nancy asks her for a favor in return for helping her solve the mystery behind these artifact thefts. Speaking of Aunt Nancy, McKinney’s background writing YA urban fantasy comes in handy with some of the little world-building touches like having her run a night club called the Ebony Web with a spider on the door and with a (quite handsome) minotaur bouncer. With her punnish name, knowledge of almost everything, and propensity for single malt whisky, Aunt Nancy has a lot of personality and would be an intriguing permanent edition to Nubia’s supporting cast, or the Wonder Woman side of the DC Universe as it’s good to see a god from West African folklore pop up. Also, I think this might be the first time that the wonderful city of Atlanta has popped up in a DC comic that I’ve read.

However, Nubia’s heroism and Aunt Nancy’s charisma don’t completely make up for a story that is mostly telling and not showing with L.L. McKinney basically undercutting the two page vision that Alitha Martinez and Mark Morales draw earlier in the story by explaining it all in a wall of text. On more of a new reader front, she also doesn’t really introduce Grail except that’s she strong (By defeating Nubia in combat.), generically evil, and wants the artifacts. If I hadn’t (unfortunately) read Geoff Johns’ Justice League run, I wouldn’t know that she was Darkseid’s daughter and basically the Anti-Life version of Wonder Woman. I mean, this is the comic book equivalent of a two episode mini Big Bad arc on a CW show so we don’t need a super deep villain, but including this context could deepen the threat against Nubia and reality. I really wanted to like the Nubia story and look forward to McKinney’s graphic novel take on the character, but it was disappointed and definitely felt like a first published comic.

Overall, Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1 has one strong, epic story and another story with potential that it doesn’t fully live up to that also shows the difficulty of transitioning from prose fiction to comics. However, this book is definitely worth picking up for Jen Bartel’s career best take on the final battle between good and evil in the DC Universe with punches that make galaxies trembles and facial expressions that will make you tear up while Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad write a Diana, who is trying to cling onto hope in an utterly no-win situation.

Story: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, L.L. McKinney
Art: Jen Bartel, Alitha Martinez with Mark Morales
Colors: Jen Bartel, Emilio Lopez
Letterer: Pat Brosseau, Becca Carey
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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DC Reveals a First Look at Future State: Nubia from L. L. McKinney and Alitha Martinez

Daughter of Hippolyta.
Sister to Diana.
Princess of the Amazons.
And now? Wonder Woman.

Nubia is coming to DC‘s Future State! DC Future State is a two-month, line-wide event beginning in January that gives fans a glimpse at possible futures of the DC universe, exploring the enduring legacy of DC Super Heroes.

In Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman, writer L. L. McKinney and artist Alitha Martinez team up for a story about Nubia for DC Future State.

Nubia is one of two feature stories that will debut in Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman. The others is Immortal Wonder Woman by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, and Jen Bartel.

Check out a first look at Nubia below!

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman Nubia

Diversity Comic Con Focuses its Programming for Aspiring Comic Writers and Artists

Diversity Comic Con

What happens when you let educators run a comic con? It becomes as much about learning something new as much as it’s about celebrating comics. This year’s Diversity Comic Con at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is featuring a slew of programming for creators who want to get into the comics industry. The convention has gone virtual and is completely accessible from anywhere on Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17.

On Friday, the team behind Bone, Captain Underpants, and Smile from Scholastic Graphix will be talking about young adult and children’s books. Phil Falco (art director), Meagan Peace (editor), and Jonah Newman (editor/writer) will share their work and insights into this rapidly booming market and how a creator can target their work towards it.

On Saturday, a panel discussion called “Using Current Events as Inspiration” will include Kiku Hughes (First Second), LL McKinney (DC Comics), Alex Sanchez (DC Comics), and moderated by Andrea Colvin (Little Brown Books). Creators will talk about how the latest news like COVID and politics can influence comics and perhaps how comics can influence readers.

Another big draw will be the Friday panel on “Breaking into Hollywood” Featuring Alex Segura (Archie Comics), Shanty Hermayn (Trese – Netflix), Vivek Tiwary (Producer of The Fifth Beatle), Robert Scull (Nickelodeon) and moderated by Gamal Hennessy (Entertainment attorney formerly of Marvel Comics).

There will also be Q & As with Shawn Martinbrough (Batman/Black Panther), Mika Song (Donut Feed the Squirrels), and Christian Cooper and Alitha Martinez (Represent: It’s a Bird!) both from DC Comics, who will be talking about the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

This year’s theme is “Black Stories Matter” bringing to the forefront today’s social justice issues. as embodied in the panel discussion “On being Marginalized in Comics” with Amy Chu, Regine Sawyer, and Omar Mirza. Another timely topic will be the talk on “The Impact of COVID 19 on the Comics Industry” with Heidi Macdonald, Andy Schmidt, John Siuntres, Stanford Carpenter, and Gina Gagliano.

Christian Cooper Joins the Diversity Comic-Con Panelists to Address Racial Injustice

With the recent deaths of African Americans at the hands of Police, the country has been forced to face its issues with racism like never before. This was the case when comics writer Christian Cooper was harassed in New York’s Central Park by a woman who threatened to call the police claiming “there’s an African American man threatening my life.” All Cooper had done was ask her to leash her dog as was the rules of the park. Luckily no one was injured in the confrontation but the incident was captured on video and has since gone viral.

October marks the beginning of Civility Week for the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), part of the State University of New York system. Over several days, the college offers up programming that addresses the issues of diversity and inclusion. This year’s theme is “Social Justice” to shed more light on current events in our community. For the past two years, the week has been capped off by Diversity Comic-Con. A celebration of multiculturalism in the sequential arts.

This year’s Diversity Comic-Con is even more significant as it hosts a special Q & A session sponsored by DC Comics. Cooper along with artist Alitha Martinez, through DC, have produced a comic anthology called “Represent: It’s a Bird” partly inspired by his experience in Central Park but focusing more on the broader subject of racism. “I hope young people read it, and that they’re inspired to keep the focus where it needs to be, which is on those we have lost and how we keep from losing more.” Said Cooper in an interview. “This moment is about the ones we’ve lost, and how we’re going to keep from losing any more.” The live Diversity Comic-Con interview will be conducted by Alitha’s son on Saturday, at 2:30 pm.

Also appearing will be Shawn Martinbrough, renowned artist of such characters as Batman and Black Panther. “As a New York native and artist, I have always been inspired to create by diverse populations and their environments. Variety and different voices are the lifeblood of creativity.” Martinbrough will be delivering the keynote address and answering questions as well. Other diverse creators appearing include Kiku Hughes, Alex Sanchez, LL McKinney, Mika Song, Vivek Tiwary, Alex Segura, Amy Chu, Regine Sawyer, Jonah Newman, and Robert Scull.

Aspiring artists and writers are also encouraged to submit their own comic stories and art to the anthologyBlack Stories Matter” which is the theme of the comic con itself. “The book will be released a few weeks after the event and creators can submit 1-5 pages of comic stories by October 30th,” says organizer Ramon Gil. “We wanted something tangible that remains after the event is over. All the details are on the website.”

Scholastic Graphix, Archie Comics, First Second, Random House Graphic, and Nickelodeon are also supporting the event by contributing prizes and having their creators at the various panels throughout the weekend. “I’m excited to return to Diversity Comic-Con this year – a year that has shown more than ever that discussion, education, and change in diversity is essential for everyone in the publishing industry.” offers Gina Gagliano, publishing director at Random House Graphic. 

Diversity Comic Con 2020 is completely online and accessible by anyone anywhere with internet access. It happens Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17. The event is free and live online where people can also find all the details on how to participate as a creator.

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