Monday, January 18, 2021

Review: Future State Superman/Wonder Woman #1

Future State has, for the most part, been a disappointment to me. But one of the issues I did quite like was the solo Future State Wonder Woman book which struck me as a sort of PG-13 Amethyst book more than the dark and dismal other things I have read.

With that in mind, I decided to get Future State Superman/Wonder Woman #1. This story clearly takes place before Superman of Metropolis and the Wonder Woman book. And happily, I will say this book puts a bit more of a glow on Jon. Unlike the rather dense and impetuous Superman we got in Superman of Metropolis, he really seems to have taken on the mantle of Superman nicely.

Unfortunately, I found this issue's take on Wonder Woman not to my liking at all. There was a certain naive energy and frenetic joy to her adventure in her own book. Here, she is a scowling social justice warrior who actually acts more like a villain to me than a hero. 

Take away her rather haughty and violent manner and you have a pretty decent team-up book showcasing our two titular characters in adventures which finally mesh at the end. Writer Dan Watters keeps the action moving. You get the sense this would be a sort of World's Finest style book were it to continue with Wonder Woman playing the gruff, 'punch first' foil to Superman's more polished demeanor.

Leila Del Luca is on art here. I have always liked here style and no difference with that here. Much of this story is just people talking, either amongst themselves or with an AI sun despot. But her style is vibrant and dynamic, so no complaints.

But I am glad that the sullen Wonder Woman I read here isn't necessarily the final take on the character.

On to the book.

We start out with a very confident Superman waking up in Metropolis and calculating out his day to the hundredth of a second. He knows just what he needs to do and just how long it will take.

But he takes the time to greet the citizens of Metropolis as he always done, burning the message into the sky.

Wait though ... there are two suns!

This very polished, quite confident Jon feels like Superman. And unlike Supergirl in her book, he seems quite happy to do all the heroics he has lined up on his plate.

In Brazil, the new Wonder Woman rescues a helicopter carrying a Sao Paulo councilman to a meeting.

But then, she basically assaults him.

She says he is in charge of the city's infrastructure. Money has been spent on making heli-pads so the politicians can move quickly instead of on paving the roads for the bulk of the citizens.

So she throttles this man and begs the pilot to try and shoot her.

I get it, in this day and age of actively seeking out justice, we are telling people to be vocal. But preaching that physical violence is the right way to get what you want out of your government officials? Is that what our heroes do? Does might now make right?

And while her cause might be noble, if someone believes in a cause, it is probably noble to them. People who, for example, invaded the Capitol, believed in their cause.

If Luthor did this demanding a tax break, he'd be a villain. If the folks at STAR did this to up their funding for things they thought were beneficial, they would be a criminal.

I really don't want to see my heroes beating up civil servants. It sets a bad example.

Maybe that is old school for 2021.

Back at her house, we see that Yara is living with Kuat, the Brazilian sun god, and the moon.

Taken aback by the second sun, Kuat decides to confront it.

It turns out the be Solaris, the tyrant sun.

In space, Kuat decides to challenge Solaris to tests of sun-strength.

I do like how these deities are living like college roommates, chilling out in a ranch and dressed casually. No Olympus in sight here. De Luca gives these scenes a nice feel. This Kuat is screaming 'beach dude' in look at presence.

First, a race to see who is faster.

Streaking through the sky, the two suns are playing havoc with the Earth.

I really like Jon here, realizing he will need to take on Solaris at some point but needs to deal with the disasters on Earth first.

I again like his precision here, adding up the snippets of time he needs to do what he has to. 

And having Midnighter as 'the man in the chair' is a nice wrinkle. It is a sort of World's Finest.

When Solaris wins the speed race, Kuat challenges him to a heat-off. He beats him.

Now you think that at this point, someone ... like maybe Superman ... would toss the burned out husk of Solaris somewhere else.

But instead, they let him hang around. And like villains who are allowed to hang around, he reboots now with deicidal upgrades.

I hate to say it but that is pretty stupid. Much like Jon's idiotic treatment of Brain Cells in Future State Superman of Metropolis, this is pretty idiotic.

So now a red sun Solaris is in the sky with Kuat who is overcompensating.

I do like that Jon doesn't believe he is a god, thinking he is more likely an imp.

But guess what, 2 suns hanging out isn't helping the Earth.

Maybe, I don't know, they should have done something while Solaris was temporarily depowered?

So Jon takes the fight to Solaris. 

Like Kuat, he throws down the gauntlet. Solaris might best Superman but Superman and Kuat together? Solaris might not like those odds.

Rather than destroy each other, how about a test of strength, winner take all.

Jon finds Yara and let's her know his plan. While waiting for the duel, the JLA have been dealing with the solar disasters. But Wonder Woman isn't joining in.

But wait, rather than helping with the solar disasters happening, she first has to give a little lecture about how humans are inherently fallible and will always destroy nature. She looks angry.

This isn't her complaining about specific evil people. This is her putting down the entirety of humanity. It feels like political activism gone wrong. Beating up leaders and complaining about power corrupting everyone. 

I like the Wonder Woman in the solo book so much better, fighting hydras and conning her way into Hell with a wink. Not this bitter hero.

At the very least, she realizes Kuat is part of the problem. She'll deal with him personally.

Before the big fight though, the suddenly fickle solar environment wreaks havoc on Jon. He tumbles from the sky spewing heat vision.

Look, this could have been a fun melding of two worlds, the gods of Brazil and the technovillains of the DCU inadvertently threatening the Earth and forcing our heroes to work together. And it times it felt like that. 

But I can't get behind this Wonder Woman here. Which is a shame, because I liked her so much in the Joelle Jones book. 

Overall grade: C+


Martin Gray said...

Thanks for the review, I couldn’t face this after the Superman book, and the WW book was fun, but didn’t have me gasping for more. The gods as roomies bit sounds fun, but Scapa Flow or whoever sounds like an entitled jerk. That bits about imps is great, though, perfect for someone who’s a literal member of the Superman Family.

Anonymous said...

Given my crapulous mood, I am strangely heartened to see that DC can get "Wonder Woman Wrong" as easily and purposefully as they get Supergirl wrong.


Anj said...

Yeah. This was a letdown.

FS Justice League was better I thought!