Future State continues with Superman: Worlds Of War #1, I have been very excited for this ever since I saw the variant cover. It seemed like it was going to be a completely different take on Superman which is always exciting to me.
But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the covers. The standard cover is by Mikel Janin and showcases a powerful looking Superman as he takes on an army of creatures in front of Mongul. This is the first introduction to his new look, where he is covered in chains. This is a fantastic cover with phenomenal detail and I cannot wait to see Janin’s interior artwork.
This variant cover is possibly one of the best I have ever seen! It’s by Riccardo Federici and the detail is absolutely phenomenal. The realism is impeccable too, each and every single muscle is defined perfectly. Straight off the bat you can see that Superman is in real danger and that’s thanks to the red colouring of the atmosphere. This whole piece has a real John Carter feel to it and I love it.
Superman Worlds Of War #1 is broken up into four mini-stories, just like Superman Of Metropolis #1. The first story is titled “The Many Lives Of Clark Kent”, and acts as a sort of flashback story, which highlights the impact that Superman has had on the world. This feels like a real tribute story, which sets the stage perfectly.
A majority of the story takes place in Smallville, which is almost unrecognisable. It used to be a humble town known as the birth place of Superman, but this issue showcases it as a mainstream tourist destination, where you are sold some sort of Superman merchandise at every opportunity. It’s almost sad to see that, and sadly that’s what I believe it would be like in this day and age.
Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson introduces a ‘ Superman support bubble’ and I love the notion of this. It’s a place where those who have been saved by him or touched by him in some way are united together in a community. It really shows the impact that he has had on the world, as I’ve said before. It’s so interesting to see all of these different stories about these individuals and it’s fascinating to see all of different takes on Superman, who he is, what he has done and where he has gone. What I love is that it’s not only Superman that has made an impact, but Clark Kent too, that was a real nice touch.
Another thing I really liked about this was the contrast of perspective between Superman and those he saved. To the individuals it means the world, it saved and changed their lives, but to Superman it was just another day at the office. That’s what he does, he doesn’t do it for the glory or to purposefully impact peoples lives, he does it to help, to do right.
This whole sequence also highlights the fears that people have now that he has gone, and for us readers it clears up the fact that no one seems to know where he is, what happened or what he is doing. At the end of this story we get an answer to all of those things, though I still have questions about what happened. People clearly do not have the faith in their new Superman as they did with his predecessor, and that’s something that has been hinted throughout the Future State event so far.
The artwork by Mikel Janin is beautiful. Like I said the first part of this story is like a tribute to Superman so we see him in many different environments. Some of the panels are absolutely incredible and that is only enhanced by Jordie Bellaire’s colours. I do love the atmospheric colour change between the two locations, it’s really effective and it’s instantly clear how high the stakes are. The moments in the final pages are on epic gladiator scale thanks to Janin’s artwork. Though this is a slightly different take on Superman in the sense of his location and actions, he still has his core fundamentals at heart and I love that.
The other three stories which are titled “Mr Miracle: Time And Effect”, “Midnighter: Future State”, and “Black Racer: Do Not Go Gentle” do not feature Superman at all, so I won’t go into any further details on those. Though some do link into the events of some other Future State titles, it is really confusing to have all of these completely different stories in a Superman title, I admit.
Superman: Worlds Of War #1 perfectly highlights the impact that Superman has had on the world. This feels like a real tribute story, which sets the stage for the continuation of Future State perfectly. If this is Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s take on Superman… I am very excited to read his run on the solo Superman titles.
Haven’t picked up Superman: Worlds Of War #1 yet? You can get the standard cover by Mikel Janin here (UK), or here (US). Or if you prefer the variant cover by Riccardo Federici, you can get that here.
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