Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Future State: Superman / Wonder Woman #1 Review


Gods and Monsters

Written By: Dan Watters
Art By: Leila Del Duca
Colors By: Nick Filardi
Letters By: Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 5, 2020

Future State: Superman / Wonder Woman #1 brings the future namesakes together to fight a visit from Solaris... but not exactly. Despite this comic being billed as a team-up story, the two characters barely interact with each other besides two mildly tense conversations. Each character has their own problems to deal with regarding the Sun (it gets a complicated) and each go about dealing with their problems in their own way. It's a disjointed story. It's a book with some rough art. It's Future State.

Was It Good?

No. It's not the worst comic in the world, but it's not great. And it's definitely not a recommendation.

The main challenge with this book is there are really several plot threads going on that don't intersect in any meaningful way. Layer on top the convoluted concepts of the Sun and Moon gods living on a ranch in Brazil that doesn't quite make sense unless you're familiar with local mythology, and the convoluted plot gets downright messy.

Also, the art is not great. Del Duca flips back and forth between fine line details and smudgy art that looks like it was hastily sketched with a crayon. There's nothing wrong with selecting a very stylized approach to the visuals, but it's applied so inconsistently here that the results are jarring and unpleasant.

Short Story Long

We begin with Jon Kent (the new Superman) going through his morning routine. Drinking his coffee in nanoseconds. Scanning Metropolis for emergencies both great and small. And greeting the citizens with a pleasant bit of "Good Morning" skywriting. The tone of this opening scene felt very reminiscent of Miracle Monday by Elliot S. Maggin which sets a bright and hopeful atmosphere for this new superman that I liked quite a lot.

That's when Jon notices there are two suns in the sky. It's unclear how Jon has the perception and speed to perceive what's going on around him almost instantly, but he's somehow surprised to discover two suns when he finally decides to turn around mid-flight and look up.

Shift over to Sao Paolo, Brazil where Yara Flor (the new Wonder Woman) rescues a falling helicopter that's about to land on a traffic-jammed highway. Yara rescues the copter but then proceeds to assault the passenger because he's one of the politicians in charge of upgrading the city's highway infrastructure. Apparently, he's not doing his job well enough for her liking. If it wasn't obvious, Yara Flor is morally flawed and it shows strongly in this book.

From there, Yara Flor goes to visit the Sun and Moon gods living together on a nearby ranch. I tried to wrap my head around this part, and Yara takes more than one opportunity to explain it to Jon later in the book, but it's just a little too meta to make sense. When the god Kuat removed darkness from humanity, they saw the sun for the first time. So, humanity made Kuat the sun god through their belief in him, and Kuat then became the sun.

And now the sun god named Kuat... who IS the sun... is sitting in a ranch in Brazil with his roommate, the Moon-god named Iae... who is also the moon.

I tried to make sense of that. I really did. Moving on.

Yara scolds Kuat. Turns out the helicopter pilot wasn't blinded by the appearance of the second sun but by a sun flare created by Kuat because the people prayed to be free of helicopters buzzing around in the morning (???) Kuat steps out for some fresh air and notices a second sun has appeared in the sky. He then proceeds to mount his flying "sun horse" to find out what's going on.

Kuat flies up to space on his "sun horse" and confronts the second sun, who we learn is Solaris, arriving to destroy Superman. Kuat and Solaris engage in a battle of sun powers that ends in a stalemate.

Meanwhile, the disruption in solar energy is causing natural disasters all over the planet and playing havoc with Superman's powers. Superman and Wonder Woman put out the fires wherever they crop up until the sun battle is over.

Once the immediate crisis is over, Superman and wonder woman meet up for the first time in this series but speak as though they've known each other for a while. Yara Flor tries (and fails) to explain that the sun god is fighting Solaris to protect the Earth, and Superman understands what she's talking about even less than I did when writing this review.

Superman cuts the conversation short and flies up to address a now-depleted Solaris. He makes a deal that he'll willingly sacrifice himself to Solaris if he loses a test of strength the next day. Solaris agrees and both parties go off to rest. There's no explanation of where Kuat went while all this was going on.

The next morning, Jon is having breakfast with Yara in a diner where they discuss the plan and Yara again tries to explain the nature of the sun and moon gods. Jon still doesn't get it and excuses himself to run through his nanosecond morning routine. However, the solar disruptions to his molecular structure and the long night putting our disasters caused by battling suns overwhelms him and he collapses in mid-air. And that's it.

Bits and Pieces:

Future State: Superman / Wonder Woman #1 is a mess. Confusing story. Meta mythology may have some cultural accuracy but doesn't make a lick of sense in this specific context. And rough, inconsistent art makes for a tough book to get through. If you're keen on getting to know Yara Flor / Wonder Woman, Future State: Wonder Woman #1 is a much better book.


1 comment:

  1. Yeah, this comic actually has a good idea buried under everything else; a competition between an alien artificial sun and a mythical sun god? Sign me up! Then we get the rest of the comic and that little tirade by Yara Flor. The biggest issue for me is this inconsistent depiction of Jon in Future State. In his own title, Jon is a dour hero who just shrunk and bottled Metropolis cause how bad it got, but here he's very chipper and everything is fine? I guess that can be chocked up to "it happened at a different point in time," but it still bugs me.