REVIEW: Future State: Batman/Superman #1
Future State: Batman/Superman #1 is finally here and I have to say it is my favourite issue so far to be released under the Future State banner. But before we go into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers.
The regular cover for Future State: Batman/Superman #1 is nothing but intensity as Batman and Superman are backed into a corner and seriously out-gunned. Batman looks totally intimidating as he draws the ire of the pairs would-be assailants. Superman looks to be in total anguish as he fights the effects of Green Kryptonite. Ben Oliver’s realistic art style is perfect for such intensity.
The variant cover is by Arthur Adams and Sabine Rich and I love it! Though it is a little deceiving as to the contents of the issue, this cover is very striking, action packed and just all out epic. Superman’s exhaustion and pain is instantly clear, as Batman jumps to the rescue to save him. I love the colour contrast of the cover too as it shifts from a burning ember to the Kryptonite pit.
If you are craving familiarity in your Future State reading then this is definitely the book for you. Future State: Batman/Superman #1 sees the original Batman and Superman teaming up to take on an all new sinister False Face Society in a dystopian Gotham City controlled by the uber-authoritarian figure known as ‘The Magistrate’.
As I eluded to earlier its a little confusing to work out how this team up come to be considering how Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent have been represented so far during this event. In all honesty the confusion lies with me as I was expecting this team up book to follow the same formula as Superman/Wonder Woman #1 which features the new iterations of Superman and Wonder Woman in the form of Jonathan Kent and Yara Flor.
Whether you were expecting an updated version of the World’s Finest or surprised like me to find the original team back together, this issue is a joy to behold thanks to the creative teams wonderful understanding of these iconic characters.
The world constructed in this issue is that of a cold and unforgiving future Gotham populated by oppressed citizens living under the boot heel of the mysterious ‘Magistrate’. Writer Gene Luen Yang has made sure that this uncompromising Gotham of tomorrow is full of intimate and personal stories of those who live within the City limits.
This very issue deals with depression in it’s many forms including suicide which was handled extremely well. In my opinion Superman is only one of a few characters you can do such a sensitive story line with. Superman’s empathy and understanding in the face of such despair is awe-inspiring, his unwavering belief in a brighter tomorrow is infectious.
The recipient of the Man of Steel’s timely intervention points Superman in the direction of Gotham City, home to the False Face Society and its new designer drug. Like Superman, writer Gene Luen Yang has captured Batman’s character perfectly. Batman is surly and uncompromising just like his surroundings. This really is quintessential Batman and Superman. The duos interactions and chemistry is so on point. Batman’s gruff demeanor works in perfect contrast to Superman’s hopeful and optimistic outlook.
The antagonists of this issue are facinating to say the least. The Magistrate who is currently being built as the big bad of the series remains shrouded in mystery. The leader of the False Face Society who goes by the name of Mr Toad appears to have altruistic reasoning behind his actions though his reckless abandon leads him into direct conflict with our heroes. The contrast between these two antagonists is perfect to say the least, one deeply entrenched in Batman lore while the other is a product of the Future State event itself.
Straight off the bat, cover artist extraordinaire Ben Oliver does not do enough interior artwork. Ben Oliver is an incredible artist who’s work I hold in the highest of esteem. I was simply overjoyed to see that Ben was providing not only cover art but interior art too.
In regards to the interior artwork, Ben Oliver and colourist Arif Prianto have created one of the best looking books I’ve seen in a long time. The colour palette instantly reminded me of sci-fi blockbuster Minority Report. In my opinion, nobody draws technology quite like Ben Oliver. From the Bat-plane to robotics, the extreme detail Ben pours into his work is on another level.
This very issue features one of my favourite panels from this year in the form of Superman simply swating away one of The Magistrates’ drones. Ben Oliver’s realistic style really is something to behold. Every smile, frown and grimace is truly felt.
Future State: Batman/Superman #1 is a must read for any fan of the World’s Finest. Even though it’s not entirely clear when this issue is set due to the whereabouts of our heroes in previous outings, the striking story line and irresistible artwork puts this issue as my favourite Future State title to date. I for one cannot wait for the next installment of this series.
Haven’t picked up Future State: Batman/Superman #1 yet? You can get the standard cover by Ben Oliver here (UK), or here (US). Or if you prefer the variant cover by Arthur Adams, you can get that here.
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