DC Future State: Superman
DC, pb, £27.97
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
After Dark Nights: Death Metal, the timeline fractures, revealing glimpses of possible futures. Future State: Superman brings together a collection of possible futures, starting with his son, Jon Kent. With Superman/Clark Kent missing, presumed dead, Jon takes his father’s mantel as Metropolis’s protector. But when faced with army attacks against citizens with nanotechnology, Jon takes drastic action, shrinking Metropolis and hiding it in a glass dome. Future State: Superman explores the consequences of Jon’s decision, both for the new Superman and Metropolis’s inhabitants.
While Batman and Red Hood are my favourite DC characters, I have a soft spot for Jon Kent. His portrayal in Super Sons captures the energy and insecurity of a preteen boy with Jon’s extraordinary parentage and powers. So, when I realised this collection focused on him as an adult, dealing with his father’s legacy, I couldn’t wait to get started. And I wasn’t disappointed.
From the start, Jon is still that idealistic young man, bright and cheerful but edged with determination captured in his earnest speech and all-or-nothing decision making. John Timms’s art marries this character with youth’s energy and reminds us this is not Superman no matter what he wears with Jon’s slender form and open facial expressions. We don’t need the speech to understand what is going on.
A shift in sharp, vibrant art comes with one of the sub-stories about Mister Miracle trapped under Metropolis’s dome. Valentine de Landro and Marissa Louise opt for a simplistic, almost retro style with thicker black lines and minimal detail. While Mister Miracle is under the dome, the colours have green undertones, showing the events through a lens. I appreciated the continuity, which tied the storylines together.
The second part of the book contains stories that look at other futures for Superman, such as the absent head of a house of Supers or a member of the United Planets advocating the inclusion of Lex Luthor’s planet, Lexor. But my favourite focuses on Superwoman.
In this future, she lives on the moon, helping the settlers with her powers, but is treated as an outsider. Humans’ acceptance of her cousins, Superman and Jon Kent, compared to her own is stark. She is feared and isolated because of her otherness rather than adored. It was a strong feminist piece comparing the different ways people judge powerful men to powerful women. Marguerite Sauvage’s style reminded me of Aurora from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Maybe I’m overthinking it, or perhaps that was the point. Why should we only perceive women like this? It’s a bittersweet story that touched me more than any of the others and is worth the collection on its own.
Future State: Superman is a collection of stories utilising different artistic styles coherently tied together by the theme of Superman/Clark Kent’s legacy and its impact on future generations.