DC Future State Week Three Is Finally a Perfect Week!
The last two weeks of DC Future State had some excellent comics and some really not so good ones, but they came out swinging for week three. We got an anthology with four awesome stories. Secondly, a double issue with two, ahem, wonderful characters. And finally, a comic that will leave you shocked and questioning the entire history of the character. So, first up…where in the worlds is Clark Kent?
Superman: Worlds of War #1 Brings a Showcase of Storytelling to DC Future State Week Three
This comic was not what I was expecting. With a title like Worlds of War and a brutal cover to go with it, you’d think this would be a brutal comic from beginning to end. Instead, the stories are pretty varied and a good indication the DC Future State can keep getting better after week three. In fact, after two weeks where the non-Gotham side of the event was so uneven, this was a great start for the week. Firstly, of course, let’s talk about the featured story.
The Many Lives of Clark Kent
What’s left of the Superman? A Super Badass! (Image: Future State: Superman – Worlds of War #1, DC Comics)
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Mikel Janîn
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Back to the giant puzzle that is DC Future State, falls after Superman of Metropolis #1 and before Justice League #1, so this week three issue is between weeks one and two—like I said in other reviews, this is basically Lost with capes. Now, if you’re expecting to land on a Battleworld planet watching Superman go all Planet Hulk on people, you’ll either hate this or love it. If that is what you wanted—too bad. This isn’t about Superman in a slugfest. It’s about his legacy on Earth.
So, what’s happening on Earth? Well, Smallville turned into a tourist destination, and there’s a cult dedicated to Kal-El, using his K-12 essays as holy scripture, and there’s a vigil for their fallen hero. People share stories about how Superman saved them, theories about how or if he died, and theories of who he actually was. But they’re all obsessed with the Superman aspect—except for one girl, who says that Superman didn’t save her. Clark Kent did. This isn’t an action story. It’s a story about one person’s hope in Clark Kent, the man.
In fact, Superman only appears for a few pages. We see him forced into the arena on Mongrel’s War World, but he’s not even the main character in his own comic. That’s a risky move, but thanks to good writing and Janîn’s beautiful art, it all works perfectly.
And yes, everyone is pretty angry at Jon Kent for shrinking down Metropolis and putting it in a jar, especially the people who were living there and just happened not to be there that day. But does this taint their view of Clark? Not at all.
Mister Miracle: Time and Effect Part One
Superman: Worlds of War, Immortal Wonder Woman, Shazam, Nubia, Midnighter, Batman, Apollo, Superman, Mister Miracle, Darkseid, Swamp Thing
Writer: Brandon Easton
Artist: Valentine de Landro
Colorist: Marissa Louise
So, apparently, Shilo died at the end of his story in Superman of Metropolis #1, because he’s resurrected on War World—which is kind of a slap in the face to superheroes, apparently. But thanks to this story, we know the events take place before Superman/Wonder Woman #1 since Midnighter makes an appearance on War World but is at the Watchtower in SM/WW. Overall, however, Time and Effect Part One is much more engaging than his first one. Shilo’s personality as a superhero is fun. He’s like someone who hates being really good at their job. But he is a good Mister Miracle, and before long, he finds a way out Mongrel’s fortress, only to discover a massive armada of warships approaching the planet.
And this is one reason why DC Future State started getting better in week three. The four stories in Superman: Worlds of War #1 are still pieces of a puzzle, but it’s like when you find a few pieces in the box that are already stuck in the order they need to be in. Something big is going to happen here, and all four stories contribute to its setup.
Midnighter: Future State Part One
Batman needs to add @#$%^&* when he says “I’m Batman.” (image: Future State: Superman – Worlds of War #1, DC Comics)
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Artist: Gleb Melnikov
Colirst: Jordie Bellaire
What do you get when you take Batman’s skills, the tech of Mister Miracle, the violence of Deathstroke, and a pinch of Lobo’s humor? Midnighter. If you read the first two stories and were thinking, “where’s my slugfest action?” It’s here. Midnighter is a brutal fighter, made even more so when the computer in his brain goes offline. He shoots, hacks, and slashes his way through War World guards to stop producing a material that can instantly kill Kryptonians.
But it’s not just a slugfest. If you don’t know Midnighter, you should you need to catch up on this amazing character. Not only because he’s cool, but he’s also part of one of comics’ most awesome couples: Midnighter and Apollo. Have you ever read fanfiction where Batman and Superman are a couple? Well, forget the fanfic and read the real thing. We get big action for several pages—and who is waiting for Midnighter at the end of his path of destruction? Well, Apollo, obviously.
So, Apollo is making something that can take down Superman in seconds, and Midnighter, without the use of his supercomputer, is the only thing standing in his way. Indeed, when superheroes have lovers’ quarrels, it usually ends up as something epic, like this will probably turn out to be.
But seriously, there is some awesome art and action here.
Black Racer Chapter One: Do Not Go Gentle
I’d be shaking in my magnetic boots if I were one of those nameless henchmen. (Image: Future State: Superman – Worlds of War #1, DC Comics)
Writer: Jeremy Adams
Artist: Siya Oum
I don’t know much about the original Black Racer—other than that in DCeased, Darksied uses him to complete the anti-life equation, which caused the zombie apocalypse. So, when they introduced a new version of the character, a young woman, I didn’t have the character’s legacy to feel instantly invested, the way I did for the new Batman and Wonder Woman.
However, this new Black Racer quickly becomes someone interesting. We meet her dead in a stasis tube in a subbasement of Mogrel’s liquefying process planets. Oh, that’s right. Mongrel liquifies planets, enemies, and fallen slave warriors to fuel War World. They also use dead people to make protein capsules. Like Soylent Green.
In her flashbacks and dialogue, we learn even more about how War World operates. The most surprising part is how Mongrel gets his slaves. In fact, he must have studied US History, because it comes straight out of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Mongrel convinces citizens of another planet that they will thrive on War World. But when they get there, he enslaves them.
The Black Racer, however, is on a rescue mission. But she runs into a group of slaves who plea for her assistance. And when you’re a hero, and there are slaves, you free them (unless you’re Qui-Gon Jin, then it’s just a hassle unless one of them turns out to be a Jedi). She destroys the computer controlling their shackles, but it’s not like they have any place to go—plus, War World guards show up, and none of these freed slaves are in fighting shape.
Why this is the most important comic of DC Future State Week Three
Heartstrings, consider yourselves pulled. (Image: Future State: Superman – Worlds of War #1, DC Comics)
So, in one story, we have Mister Miracle finding incoming warships. In another, Midnighter is about to face the love of his life to stop him from killing Superman. Thirdly, we have Black Racer freeing the slaves. But in the center of it all? Superman is forced to fight in an arena. I hope we see how all of this collides before too long. Sure, it’s only week three of DC Future State, but it feels like this could have come out earlier.
Immortal Wonder Woman #1 Feels Biblical
Though Wonder Woman was the main character in Dark Nights: Death Metal, we didn’t see Diana Prince until DC Future week three. At the end of Death Metal, Wonder Woman ascended to the level of the makers of the universe—above the gods themselves. It’s part of how she saved the omniverse. However, we have a new Wonder Woman in Yara Flor, and she’s one of the best new characters to come out of this event. But she might not be the only Wonder Woman of the future.
Wonder Woman in Future State
This should be in the MET or Philadelphia Museum of Art. And that’s a fraction of the full image. (Image: Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1, DC Comics)
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Artist: Jen Bartel
Firstly, let’s talk about Jen Bartl’s art, which has the feel of cathedral mosaics. That’s precisely what we needed for this story. This week three story is the beginning of the end of DC Future State, as far as we can tell. Swamp Thing is now nothing more than a tree at the end of its life, the last bit of green on Earth. The Amazonians are now in charge of the planet after the age of men ended a millennium before this tale. In fact, Wonder Woman herself aged, sporting a Rogue-streak of white hair on her young-looking, beautiful face. There’s a somber yet epic quality to the story, driven by Bartel’s art.
Before the fall of men, something catastrophic happened, and according to Bruce Wayne’s Bat-Ghost, he and the other heroes might have caused it. Is he referring to Death Metal, considering that his meddling with the nth metals and Barbatos in Dark Nights: Metal is what triggered the crisis that led to Death Metal? Or was there a much worse crisis? Whatever it is, when it comes for Darkseid’s planet of Apokolips, Darkseid doesn’t even see the point of trying to save it.
But that doesn’t mean Darkseid is suicidal. Instead, he decides to head to Earth and conquer whatever’s left of it. Which isn’t much—the planet is basically dead, which leads to Wonder Woman suggesting they find a new planet and bring Swamp Thing there so the Green can thrive again. Unfortunately, the other Amazonians disagree. When Darkseid and an ancient, kind of pudgy, Superman crash onto their shores, they choose to fight. And Diana joins them.
But all of that just begs one question…why is Wonder Woman no longer a celestial being? How did she turn back into the Wonder Woman we’re familiar with?
Nubia in Future State
You certainly are. (Image: Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1, DC Comics)
Writer: LL McKinley
Penciler: Alitha Martinez
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Emilio Lopez
A new unknown puzzle piece? You know when you find those pieces that are a solid color, like the sky, and it can go anywhere in 60% of the entire puzzle? That’s Nubia’s story. It’s intensely focused on her as she tracks down a thief stealing ancient artifacts. And somehow, she inherited Diana’s golden lasso of truth. Yara Flor has a different lasso altogether. Actually, Yara has golden bolas, which is awesome.
Speaking of Yara, we don’t know when this DC Future State week three story takes place. Is Nubia the Wonder Woman before Yara? After Yara? Or are they Wonder Women at the same time? The good news is that both characters are wonderful and live up to the mantle Diana left behind. But both seem to have important roles in Future State. Yara eventually becomes a member of the new Justice League, beloved by the world. But in this story, the artifact Nubia is trying to find is so powerful; it’s hard to see how it won’t have a place in DC Future State week three.
Shazam #1 Has the Biggest Shocker in DC Future State Week Three
Do Superheroes enjoy making bad choices? (Image: Future State: Shazam! #1, DC Comics)
Writer: Tim Sheridan
Penciler: Eduardo Pansica
Inker: Júlio Ferreira
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Ho-ly balls. I was never the biggest Shazam fan, but I loved the movie—it was fun and pretty innocent. But if that’s your primary understanding of this superhero, you’re going to see him in a whole new way after DC Future State week three because this story is far from innocent.
Shazam now leads his own team, consisting of various B-level heroes along with a new Question. Talking to Vixen, the question points out that Shazam hasn’t turned back into Billy for months. In fact, he gets angry when anyone even calls him Billy. Oh, and he’s also murdering people, but we don’t know why quite yet. And that’s not even the twist of the story.
In a flashback, we find Shazam previously fighting Neron in Hell to guard the Rock of Eternity and keep their new prisoner (yay, more mysteries!) from escaping. Neron says that Shazam isn’t innocent enough to guard the door—but Billy is. So, like we’ve seen happen with Hulk a few times, Neron splits Shazam and Billy into two individuals. And what does this teenager do? He decides to stay in hell to guard the Rock of Eternity. But he goes a bit further than that. In one of the most disturbing images of this event yet, we see how Shazam “helps” Billy do this. However, Billy knows he’s going to be tempted to leave, so he asks Shazam to make sure that isn’t possible…by chaining him right onto the door. Billy is now chained up in hell.
What Comes after DC Future State Week Three?
(Image: Future State: Superman Vs. Imperious Lex #1, DC Comics)
Where’ just about halfway through this even, and it’s going to keep getting bigger until the end.
- Dark Nights: Death Metal #7
- Generations Shattered #1
- Superman of Metropolis #1
- Wonder Woman #1
- The Flash #1
- Swamp Thing #1
- The Next Batman #1
- Harley Quinn #1
- Justice League #1
- Green Lantern #1
- Super-Man/Wonder Woman #1
- Kara Zoe-El: Superwoman #1
- The Dark Detective #1
- Robin: Eternal #1
- Teen Titans #1
DC Future State Week Three
- Immortal Wonder Woman #1
- Superman: Worlds at War #1
- Shazam! #1
- The Next Batman #2
- Nightwing #1
- Catwoman #1
DC Future State Week Four
- Superman Vs. Imperious Lex #1
- Aquaman #1
- Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Gotham Future State Week Four
- The Dark Detective #2
- Batman/Superman #1
- Suicide Squad #1
DC Future State Week Five
- Superman of Metropolis #2
- Wonder Woman #2
- Swamp Thing #2
- The Flash #2
Gotham Future State Week Five
- The Next Batman #3
- Harley Quinn #2
DC Future State Week Six
- Justice League #2
- Green Lantern #2
- Superman/Wonder Woman #2
- Kara Zor-El: Superwoman #2
Gotham Future State Week Six
- The Dark Detective #3
- Teen Titans #2
- Robin: Eternal #2
DC Future State Week Seven
- Immortal Wonder Woman #2
- Superman: Worlds at War #2
- Shazam! #2
Gotham Future State Week Seven
- The Next Batman #4
- Nightwing #4
- Catwoman #2
DC Future State Week Eight
- Superman Vs. Imperious Lex #2
- Superman: House of El #1
- Aquaman #2
- Legion of Super-Heroes #2
Gotham Future State Week Eight
- The Dark Detective #4
- Batman/Superman #2
- Suicide Squad #2
DC Future State Epilogues
- Generations Forged #1
- Infinite Frontier #0
Shazam got seriously dark. (Image: Future State: Shazam! #1, DC Comics)
(Featured image: Future State: Superman – Worlds of War #1, DC Comics)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.