Future State: Batman/Superman Review #1 - Gotham City The State Of Decay...
So far I've reviewed several Future State comics. Most of which has been covering the events in Gotham city. The stories have had varying degrees of success. The main problem across the Future State line of titles is the feeling that we've been dropped into the middle of an existing storyline with no preamble or recap.
Future State: Batman/Superman #1 acts as a prequel and is tasked with filling in the gaps left by Dark Detective #1, The Next Batman #1, and Harley Quinn #1. In this issue, Gotham has not fallen completely into a fascist state but the writing is on the wall.
We get to see Bruce before his fall and Clark before his exile within the Future State landscape. Bruce mentions the magistrates but they appear to be an emerging threat as opposed to the all-encompassing force we've seen in the other series that have dropped so far.
The story begins with Superman investigating a new drug that allows the user to take the appearance of an animal. Unfortunately, the drug has the side effect of permanently altering the user's physical appearance. The investigation leads Superman to Gotham and Batman, who knows about the drug but already has his hands full dealing with the Magistrate.
There are several solid elements in this issue. I absolutely loved Gene's depiction of Superman. Clark feels like an updated version of Christopher Reeve's portrayal. The depiction caught me off guard because I've been reading so many depressed and damaged heroes lately I forgot what a traditional take on heroism looked like.
Superman is contrasted nicely against Batman who is clearly distressed throughout the issue. He eventually puts his own mission on hold to assist Clark. The two are good together and it's a great setup issue considering what has happened across Future State. I feel like a couple of series like Batman/Superman should have been used at the outset to set up the Future State event, but better late than never.
The art direction from Ben Oliver and Arif Prianto also looks great throughout the issue. Superman is the highlight for me here as well but the issue is also layered with some nice action, splash pages, and dynamic colors. Seeing humanoid penguins is also pretty cool.
There is a massive cliffhanger at the end of the issue and it looks pretty bleak for our heroes. This isn't a shock considering how the issue opens. I appreciate what Gene has done here. Future State Batman/Superman #1 provides some much-needed context for the event and by extension makes all of the Bat-Family tie-ins much stronger.