THIS WEEK: The DC Round-Up crew once again convenes to discuss the penultimate week of Future State releases! Which new DC Comics releases stood out to the team, and what failed to live up to expectations?
ZACK QUAINTANCE: Welcome back, gang. It’s week…um, 27 of Future State? I can’t keep track anymore. We’re definitely getting close to the end, though. So…I’ll ask the usual starter, how did everyone feel about this week’s books?
CORI MCCREERY: With a singular exception, I thought this was an incredibly strong week of books for the event.
GREG SILBER: There was actually one book I quite liked last month that I felt took a dip in quality, but mostly, yup, pretty good week.
ZACK: Oh, the intrigue! Let’s start there then, Greg. Which book did you feel had a noticeable drop in quality?
I should point out that I’m 99.9 percent sure I know which book is Cori’s singular exception, but we’ll get to that later…
GREG: It’s not that I actively disliked it, but Immortal Wonder Woman.
CORI: See, I felt Immortal Wonder Woman hit about the same as last month. It’s neither good nor bad, just kind of there. [Jen] Bartell’s art on the main story is very pretty, but she still struggles with sequential story telling, and with stylistic choices that don’t necessarily fit the narrative.
ZACK: This second half of Immortal Wonder Woman had some major Jason Aaron’s Thor run vibes to it as well. Although, I guess there’s a lot of inherent commonality, being as they are both superhero gods that the arc follows to the end of time, essentially.
GREG: The thing is, Immortal Wonder Woman #1 had more going on. More characters, more tension, just more to keep me interested. This time around, it felt rather inert. I tend to dislike comics that have more caption boxes than dialogue boxes, and in this case, it started to feel more like a lecture than a story–although I do appreciate the message Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad were going for. They definitely seem to “get” Diana which is a good sign for their ongoing run.
As for the backup, I had the same issues as last time with being uninterested in the story, but boy does Alitha Martinez know how to draw a fight scene.
CORI: Yeah the fight scenes were great, but I still don’t know why we had to ever bring up Grail ever again. Just let that character fade into obscurity until the end of time.
ZACK: Grail sucks, and, really, I think this book in general had a tough road, because Yara Flor is just lightning in a bottle. That was always going to be the breakout Wonder Woman comic in this event.
CORI: Agreed whole heartedly Zack, she’s just an amazing character right out of the gate.
ZACK: So, I have used up all of my (arguably) pithy segues from previous weeks, so I’ll just ask…what is a book one of you all loved that you’d like to talk about next?
Boom! Slap! Onomotopeia!
CORI: “Slap!” was a great moment, and Otto Schmidt did a fantastic job homaging the classic Bat-slap panel.
ZACK: Loved Catwoman. I know this is riveting in a discussion roundtable, but I don’t have anything much to say about that one past see last month’s chat. It just ruled start to finish.
GREG: It’s a zany, short story that doesn’t bite off more than it could chew, with a few big (often hilarious) surprises. The ideal event tie-in, far as I’m concerned.
CORI: Yeah everything about it was absolutely fantastic from start to finish, and I do want to point out it feels like Cheshire Cat may be yet another one of those lightning in a bottle characters, considering she’s also going to be getting quite a push after this event.
ZACK: Oh wait! I do have something new to add here…in the end, I liked that this story was not only fun but also gave us some key connective tissue for the larger Magistrate story.
CORI: Yeah, agreed there Zack, it’s nice that we’re what two weeks away from this event ending and that reveal still hasn’t been made? Though the one person I thought it was and was prepared to be mad about it being turns out not to be.
ZACK: Who was that?
CORI: I thought for sure it was going to be Batwoman, but she actually showed up this week in not one but two books!
ZACK: She did! Yeah, I’m at a point where I kind of hope it’s just a rando or a new character with it. Or Maxwell Lord….kidding….kind of.
GREG: What if it’s Onomatopoeia?
What else did we like this week?
GREG: I’ll let Cori take the baton here, but I have a feeling I loved her favs too.
CORI: If we’re going to talk about favorite overall, I have to go with Superman: Worlds of War. I’ve completely come around on how Philip Kennedy Johnson handles the character, and while there’s a little bit of glorifying the military industrial complex in this, there’s also a lot of pointing out how that glorification often fails the more marginalized when they get home. I thought the in-universe editorial by Clark Kent was great, one of the few examples of an in-universe newspaper article that’s well-written.
ZACK: Hear hear.
GREG: Yeah, this is pretty damn close to my platonic ideal of a Superman story, up to and including the spelling out (quite elegantly, I should say) of the core Superman theme of “it’s not his powers that make him super, it’s his goodness.”
ZACK: I absolutely loved the Superman Worlds of War story, start to finish, and I thought the concept, themes, and sentence-to-sentence writing – both in terms of the editorial and dialogue – was all fantastic.
CORI: I loved the assertion that had he not had powers, he still would have helped people in his own way thanks to Ma and Pa Kent’s morals.
GREG: Loved that to pieces. Plus, the self-indulgent idealistic writer in me loves that he saved someone’s life with his writing. We don’t see enough “Clark Kent is a great writer, actually” in Superman stories.
ZACK: What did you all think if the backups in this one?
CORI: I liked them pretty well, even if as I haven’t actually started my “Read all New Gods” project, they are a bit outside my wheelhouse. I do love me some Kirby characters though, and the stories were fun, and just left enough open for future stuff.
GREG: Midnighter was easily my favorite, and maybe my favorite backup in this whole event. I was thrilled to see the tease for his story to continue, because man, I am hungry for more Midnighter and DC has been starving me for years now.
Oh, my kingdom for a Black Label Midnighter book where he gets to curse and eviscerate as much as he wants…
ZACK: Midnighter ruled, and really, as soon as I asked the backup question, I was already doing math in my head about how quickly could I point this conversation to Michael Avon Oeming’s Baby Midnighter and Grandpa Midnighter drawings.
CORI: Oh yeah, I forgot Midnighter was in this one! Yeah, that one was also great, and I’m excited for more backups with this team in future Superman issues.
GREG: More superhero comics should feature superheroes turning into babies. It’s happened since the Silver Age and it is never not funny.
ZACK: You hear that Marvel and DC bigwigs who 100 percent without question read every word of these things? The Beat wants more superhero babies. Nay! Demands more superhero babies.
GREG: Marie Javins, if you’re reading this, I will write DC Superbabies for the low-low price of $0 per issue.
CORI: But only with artists who are good at drawing babies, please, no more Hope Summers who looks like a soccer mom at age 5.
GREG: You know what else I love? I love that this villain’s evil plan was basically to turn everyone on earth into robots. That kind of goofiness is what I read superheroes for.
Real “but I don’t want to cure cancer, I want to turn people into dinosaurs” vibes.
ZACK: What did you all think of the finale (for now) of The Next Batman?
CORI: Well the main story was fine, and did a great job of tying everything off nice and neatly, it wasn’t really why I wanted to read this issue.
GREG: Yeah, I liked the main story and I look forward to seeing how the ongoing picks up where this left off, but my OTHER favorite Future State backup is “Cass and Steph start a prison riot.”
ZACK: The main story did a really great job of launching, as the name promised, The Next Batman, and now we have this character, supporting cast, and future reality to operate in. So kudos all around to the creators there.
But yes, on to the backups…
GREG: Is it just me, or were there flirty vibes between Steph and Killer Frost?
CORI: And her and Cass. Steph is insatiable flirt and it’s great that Vita Ayala played that up. I loved this story from start to finish and I am ponderously poring over each every month of solicits for the next Batgirls sighting. Vita Ayala was a perfect voice for all THREE Batgirls, and I just want more.
GREG: Heck, give Ayala the keys to all three Batgirls in mainline DC continuity and let them run with it.
ZACK: I feel like Batgirls is more a question of when than if…it’s just too good and they’ve laid too much groundwork.
The other backup was, meanwhile, was why we have the word romp.
GREG: Speaking of flirty DC ladies.
CORI: God, the other backup with the Sirens was just FUN.
GREG: I didn’t like this installment as much as the last one simply because I wanted more of Slam Bradley’s rooftop bar for superheroes and supervillains to dance with each other, but this was such a delightful story from top to bottom.
CORI: Heh heh bottoms.
ZACK: Heh, indeed.
CORI: And Zack’s not a coward, so I bet he’ll leave it in.
GREG: Wow, I was under the impression this was a family round-up series.
ZACK: I was just thinking, Joe’s gone, let’s do this.
But let’s move on to Nightwing!
GREG: Uh “Nicola Scott should draw Nightwing forever” is the main one.
CORI: Read Next Batman first since Nightwing spoils the end of the Batgirls story.
GREG: There’s a moment where Dick does this sliding-dodge thing that was the coolest panel I’ve seen in months.
CORI: But I’m with Greg, as good as Bruno Redondo and Tom Taylor are, there’s still a part of me that is sad that this is the rare Future State team not carrying over to the main-line and that’s 100% because I want Nicola on Nightwing forever.
GREG: And that’s not just because she understands that when you draw Dick Grayson, you are basically legally obligated to draw that butt.
Did we talk last time about the outrage over her naked Dick art getting censored in the first issue?
CORI: I think we did, but if we didn’t it deserves to be mentioned again. I can’t believe they added more steam to that shot and took away some of the metaphorical steam.
ZACK: Also, Joe’s out for this Future State chat, so all bets are off on what is allowed to make it into the post…
GREG: I haven’t heard the song “Ms. New Booty” in years but the Ying Yang twins singing “booty booty booty booty rocking everywhere!” has been playing in my head ever since you brought up Nightwing.
ZACK: Excellent, thanks for sharing, Greg.
So, we’ve inadvertantly saved what I assume is everyone’s least favorite for last…who wants to start talking Shazam!?
GREG: It was advertent for me.
Yeah, this comic is bad.
CORI: Oh look, nothing actually got resolved in what the sixth part of the badly handled Teen Titans/Shazam/the other book I’m forgetting crossover.
Oh Flash. How could I forget Flash?
GREG: I’d be less mad if this was explicitly described on the cover as a 6-part crossover / prelude to Titans Academy. It would still make me angry, but I’d be less baffled.
It’s not a story. There’s no clear beginning or middle, and there sure as HELL isn’t an end.
ZACK: Honestly, I don’t even know what the central issue of this corner of Future State was. It seemed to just force minor connections and coherence on those titles, without the overarching unifier that is The Magistrate for Gotham. It didn’t even really have a compelling set of major events like the Super books did, or a great new character like Yara Flor to offer, or a unique perspective on the IP like Superman vs. Imperious Lex. It just felt the goal was to be sensational by stringing together a few shocks (most of which we’d seen done before).
GREG: Hey, I have a question about this whole triumverate that I don’t think we’ve discussed in our previous conversations: Who is this comic (along with Future State: The Flash and Teen Titans) FOR?
CORI: It also brought in nothing from the other better Future Event of the DC Universe that Justice League and Superman/Wonder Woman did. Now that you’ve read One Million, Zack, I assume you appreciate those bits a little more?
And to answer your question Greg, I don’t know that this is the right set of books for anyone. Certainly not for fans of the various multimedia properties that might have been intrigued to pick up these books and give them a shot.
ZACK: Oh my goodness, I entirely forgot the bit I wanted to do this week where I confuse plot points from DC One Million (which I also read over the weekend) with plot points from Future State! But yes, I really did. I didn’t think I could like Superman/Wonder Woman more, but I did!
GREG: Well, these books certainly aren’t for kids either, despite vaguely revolving around youngish heroes.
CORI: See, the thing about Solaris, the Tyrant Sun, is that he HATES Superman.
ZACK: I picked that up from context in Superman/Wonder Woman…but I know exactly how hot that hatred burns.
CORI: Overall I’m glad that this week of Future State was so strong, hopefully next week can finish us out (other than Imperious Lex coming a month later) strong.
ZACK: I’ll close by seconding that, and noting that I’m very excited for the House of El comic next week and also hopeful there’s some nod to the Superman Dynasty from DC One Million.
GREG: And I’ll close by saying that, uh, I’m grateful to you all for putting up with me.
ZACK: It’s our pleasure, and we’ll continue to do so in the future!
See everyone back here for the stunning conclusion of The Beat’s two solid months of Future State roundtables!
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