Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Future State: Wonder Woman #1 Review


Xena: Wonder Woman Warrior Princess

Written By: Jöelle Jones
Art By: Jordie Bellaire
Colors By: Clayton Cowles
Letters By: Jones & Bellaire
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 5, 2021

Future State: Wonder Woman #1 takes a look at the near future where Yara Flor, a Brazilian Amazon and titular character, fights mythical beasts and makes deals with mythical creatures to bring her deceased Sister Warrior back from the dead. After defeating a hydra to "borrow" its horn, Flor is confronted by the protector of the jungle, Caipora, for poaching protected creatures. Rather than argue, Flor agrees to leave the horn in exchange for passage to the Underworld via Caipora's magical powers. What follows is a surreal trip into the Underworld that looks more like a magical version of NY's Penn Station than an ancient limbo. It's unfamiliar but reminds you of something else. It's weird. It's Future State.

Was It Good?

I think so. The art for the main character looks like mostly traced photographs, so it's very photorealistic. Yara Flor is stunningly beautiful but different enough from the traditional design of Wonder Woman that she stands apart in a wholly unique way. And the overall artwork for the book is just darn good.

It's the story and characterization that give me pause. The tagline for this review is no accident. This new take on Wonder Woman has a very Raimi/Tapert sensibility wherein ancient creatures of myth and legend interact with a modern tone. If you've ever watched the syndicated shows Hercules or Xena, it very much matches that style and tone.

Here's the rub. Much like the origins of the Xena character, this Wonder Woman is not really a hero. Or at least we don't see her do anything specifically heroic in this issue. Flor is a warrior first, and she does what she wants with little consideration for who she hurts in her impatience. This Wonder Woman probably has more in common with Lobo than the original Wonder Woman, and that may be difficult for fans of WW to get their head around.

Short Story Long

We open with Yara Flor fighting a hydra in the jungles of Brazil. A narrator explains that Yara Flor, this version of Wonder Woman, is the bridge between the gods and humanity. That she's needed at just this right place and the right time for some great purpose. Oddly, we never get a sense in this book of that purpose or what implied threat is on its way. In fact, this issue moves very quickly but barely qualifies as a complete chapter.

Flor kills the hydra with the help of her flying horse, Jerry. When she proceeds to dissect the slain hydra, Caipora appears and forbids Flor from taking a slain beast from her protected jungle. Flor explains she needs the horn as a weapon to threaten Hades should he refuse to return her slain Sister Warrior to the land of the living. It's never explained or shown how or shy Flor's Sister Warrior died, but it's clear she's willing to break a few rules to get her back.

It's during these scenes with the introduction of Caipora that we get a better sense of Flor's personality. She's a tough warrior that enjoys the heat of battle. She's not above stealing, threatening, and even killing to get her way. And even the narration points out she is very flawed. Jones invites you to take Flor as she is, but she is definitely not an archetypical hero.

Check out our Future State: Wonder Woman #1 Video Review

In exchange for leaving the hydra remains, Caipora offers to escort Flor to the Underworld where things get very meta. The perception of the Underworld, as Caipora explains, is up to the viewer. Flora perceives their surroundings like a bizarre underground railway station, complete with ticket counters, direction signs, and platforms. But somehow, the scene changes when they approach the River Styx and the whole scene looks like rundown docks on a foggy night.

The transitions from one spot to another in the Underworld is not clear, but maybe that's the point. Is it a train station? Is it an airport? Is it an old dock? The changing scenery could be intentional to reinforce how Flor's perceptions change what she sees, but it was a little confusing.

When Caipora and Flor get in line, Flor realizes she has no money to pay the Ferryman. Flor and Caipora proceed to make various attempts to steal the coins from the recently departed. Unfortunately, their attempts at stealthy thievery go awry, and in the chaos, they wake up Cerberus, the local guard dog and security. And that's it.

This is what I mean by barely qualifying as a complete chapter. Sure, there's a cliffhanger with a fight about to happen against a giant, three-headed dog, but the whole issue feels like an incomplete piece of another, larger story. The coin stealing felt particularly problematic when you consider taking another soul's coin would effectively trap that soul in limbo forever. In this scene more than any other, her flaws verge on near villainy. Again, there's a sort of gruff charm with Flor but nothing here shows her to be anything remotely resembling a hero...yet.

Bits and Pieces:

Future State: Wonder Woman #1 ain't your grandmother's Wonder Woman. The main character is stunning and exudes a gruff charm, but her moral flaws work against the nature of what we've always known as the Wonder Woman character. At the very least, I'm very interested to see what they can do with this character in the very short time Future State is in effect.



  1. Thanks for the review. Your review tagline is spot on; it feels like it's trying to be Xena meets Beetlejuice's afterlife. The art is great but I'm not digging Yara Flor as Wonder Woman yet. She's not great or terrible, but borders on being an anti-villain. Like you mentioned, that moment with her trying to steal the dead sumo wrestler's coin was borderline heartless, because she'd be leaving him in total limbo and she knows it.
    Sadly, she's not exactly heroic this issue other than trying to rescue her enigmatic "sister warrior." Which is a problem because this isn't supposed to be her origin story where she "grows into the role." That's actually coming in a separate series on its own. This is the series where she's supposed to already be Wonder Woman and instead comes off like it's her first day on the job. And worse, like you said, this feels like one part of a first chapter rather than a whole first issue. I wouldn't recommend people pick it up without the next few issues, since it's supposed to be three in total, I believe.

  2. I'm glad you liked the review. It's not a perfect debut, but it was pretty enjoyable, and this Wonder Woman distinguishes herself on every level from Diana Prince.

    If DC is interested in creating a new generation of characters to take over the title, this and Batman Beyond are the closest to success.