Set to take over the ongoing Action Comics and Superman series when they return, Philip Kennedy Johnson is using his story in Future State: Superman: Worlds of War as an introduction of sorts. Only, instead of coming at it directly from Clark's perspective, it has been more orientated around the people who have been influenced by his presence, while he's been trapped on Warworld fighting like a gladiator.
Written by Philip Kennedy Johnson, Brandon Easton, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, and Jeremy Adams
Art by Mikel Janín, Jordie Bellaire, Valentine De Landro, Marissa Louise, Michael Avon Oeming, Siya Oum and Hi-Fi
Lettered by Dave Sharpe, Travis Lanham, and Gabriela Downie
Published by DC
'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10
Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #2 features one of his battles under Mongol's rule, giving Mikel Janín and Jordie Bellaire some close-quarters fighting to depict. The former's tight framing and the latter's use of red and similar colors capture the brutal tone well without coming across as too vicious.
If this were the only part of the story present, it would stand as a strong take on Superman's characterization, only the other half which involves an obituary that Clark once wrote complicates things. The man being eulogized chose to fight in World War 2 despite being exempt from the draft, and when he returned home, devoted much of his life to trying to make the world a better place, even when the world failed him due to factors like systemic racism and lack of care towards the homeless.
Johnson might acknowledge these within the text, but a strong angle of critique is lacking, instead, the dominant point is based on the inherent goodness of serving a country. Much like the suicide bomber component of the previous issue, the politics skew towards jingoism and nationalism in ways that would be unpalatable by themselves and are even more out of place in a book centered around a hero with socialist beginnings.
Of course, the book is not just this one story, the anthology format means it is supplemented by three back-ups starring Shilo Norman, Midnighter, and the Black Racer respectively.
As with the previous ones starring the first of those characters, Valentine De Landro and Marissa Louise's thick lines and dynamic swathes of color pop on the page and easily stands as some of the most distinctive work to be found in 'Future State.'
The second sees Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad gradually get lost in time-related convolution, though Michael Avon Oeming's trademark style is further enhanced by Bellaire's eye.
Finally, the last of the three - Black Racer - has the benefit of speed, though this does mean there's not enough meat on its bones to be that substantial in fleshing out Warworld.
Can't get enough post-apocalyptic comics? Check out Newsarama's list of the darkest dystopian comic book futures of all time.