Friday, March 5, 2021

Review: Future State Batman/Superman #2

Future State Batman/Superman #2 came out last week, finishing a two part story set in the near future. I thought the first issue was a decent story by writer Gene Luen Yang (who is taking over the book once Future State ends), showing his thoughts on the pair, having their thoughts contrast and setting up what they think of each other.

This issue seems to push that a little bit further in a direction I'm not exactly happy with. While last issue it was clear that while fundamentally different, the two work together well and like each other. This issue again veers into the all two common realm of breaking the two apart. I mean, these are the World's Finest and should be best friends. But here Batman can't even be honest with Superman, even if the lie is to protect his friend.

I am hoping that this doesn't continue in the main book once Yang takes over. I'd rather see the two be buddies working together. But that might be too much to ask these days.

One thing that is interesting is that I feel that Yang likes Superman more than Batman (no surprise given prior works) as the Man Of Steel's character really kind of shines here.

The art is a hodge podge with Scott McDaniel doing breakdowns and Ben Oliver and Stephen Segovia splitting the hard work. Segovia and Oliver's art complement each other. The book feels seamless. And the art is gorgeous. But I wonder who couldn't meet the deadline.

On to the book.

Last issue, Batman and Superman broke into the False Face Society stronghold. Unfortunately, this rebel leader, supposedly working against the awful 'Magistrate' of Gotham, stabbed Superman with a K-knife. So much for good friends.

Batman dives in to rescue only to find himself up against a wild boar/octopus hybrid.

I find it odd that this serum, which initially was described as being a way to bypass facial recognition tech, now seems to also be a bit of a super-serum, conveying powers and strength commiserate with the animal. Maybe that is a nitpick. 

But this boar/octopus thug breaks requires a maximum concussion grenade to his head to knock him out. And even then he is able to toss Batman out of the place, breaking the Dark Knight's leg in the process.

As I said above, part of this story is to differentiate our heroes. This is something many Batman/Superman stories do.

Last issue, Superman lit a fire for these homeless guys to warm up by. When they want to pay it forward by helping the wounded Batman, they are rebuffed. Batman can't trust them.

Superman helps. Batman is suspicious.

Nice little scene calling back to the minor event from last issue.

Then the part I don't like ... easily synthesized Kryptonite. Made by Professor Pyg of all people.


And if Pyg has these tools, why not extract the DNA he wants and kill Superman.

The 'artist' line did remind me of Nicholson's Joker in the '89 Batman movie. 'You see, I make art ... until someone dies.'

Our heroes put the pieces together.

The Magistrate is responsible for the False Face drug epidemic. Even if it helps people hide, it can be used to control the upstart rebels from within.

Here, Superman asks Mr. Toad why he would help the Magistrate. Mr. Toad says it is to protect his daughter. As long as he works for the Magistrate, his daughter is safe.

Even ill, Superman is trying to inspire here. I like how he asks about ethics and being true to oneself.

As for Batman, he splints his leg (can't have an injury hold him out of the finale). He even trashes a Magistrate officer who suddenly has x-ray vision.

It turns out that the Magistrate has imbued all the fauna of Gotham with Superman eyes. Suddenly his net of observation is vast and super-powered. And now it becomes clear why Superman was lured there in the first place.

Okay, love the art here, Cronenberg gross.

But are you saying the Magistrate rounded up all the birds and vermin? I know, if I can buy genetic splicing, I should be able to buy that.

Inspired by Superman, Mr. Toad helps our hero recover, moving away from the Kryptonite. I like hearing how Superman relies on the goodness in people and how it usually helps him out.

But even though the surgery and genetic extraction was just a short time ago, Professor Pyg has been busy. He made one of his henchmen a sort of Spider-Super-man, complete with multiple heat vision eyes.

Great art here.

Batman returns and fights Professor Pyg who has given himself wild boar level strength. (You think he'd be the first in line for Kryptonian level powers ... but I guess he isn't that smart.)

In a classic comic move, the two heroes swap combatants. Batman takes down the Kryptonian infused thug with Kryptonite shivs he discovered in the base. 

Superman decks Pyg.

 It is also weird that this drug seems to have an on/off switch. It is almost like a drug pump. Once deactivated, these folks return to normal.

We can't have a stockpile of Kryptonite and a reservoir of easily injected Superman DNA hanging around. So Superman brings the place down around them.

Still, it is nice characterization of Superman who again realizes that his insistence on thinking the best of people again paid off.

With some Animal Man help, the critters of Gotham are returned to normal.

And then the turn.

Superman wants to help clean up this Magistrate business. He wants to plan with Batman.

Batman is actually worried that Superman is in danger. Maybe next time they will kill him. But instead of saying that (maybe because he knows Superman won't listen), he lies. He tells Superman he doesn't want him because the Magistrate will co-opt his powers again.

Not exactly friendly.

So a miffed Superman flies off.

He trusts Batman. Why can't Batman do the same?

Again, Superman comes off very well here. Hope Yang keeps that up on the run.

But how I wish for mutual friendship, respect, and cooperation with these characters when they team up. And maybe less of the constant differentiation would be helpful. Let's just have them head into adventures.

Still, not a bad story. Great art, especially the creepy mutated people and animals.

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

Now I’m glad I didn’t bother with this one, that ending would have annoyed me hugely. And you know I get tired of the back and forth narration very quickly.

Still, the art looks great. I’ve never been a McDaniel fan but his layouts look great, and I always enjoy Segovia and Oliver.

Top review!