Writer: PHILLIP KENNEDY JOHNSON, MICHAEL W. CONRAD, BECKY CLOONAN, JEREMY ADAMS, BRANDON EASTON
Art: MIKEL JANíN, GLEB MELNIKOV, VALENTINE DE LANDRO, SIYA OUM, MIKEL JANÍN, and RICCARDO FEDERICI
Publisher: DC COMICS
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
FUTURE STATES’ ambition has been to capitalize on the subsequent generation of supers following our normal DC heroes approximately 25-30 years in the future. Readers have seen familiar faces as well as new ones since DC FUTURE STATE began. However, while the proceeding FUTURE STATE: SUPERMAN tales have centered on Jon Kent as the new SUPERMAN, this issue of WORLDS OF WAR investigates a type of Swan Song for the MAN OF STEEL. Now, to anyone reading the prior FUTURE STATE: SUPERMAN titles, Jon appears to be a little wet behind the ears. Nevertheless, Phillip Kennedy Johnson uses this opening installment as more of a world reaction to Clark’s vacancy and a peek at how the world responds to the absence of a savior.
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Johnson’s opening tale may be a bit disappointing. It wasn’t terrible by any stretch. It’s just that the covers may have led readers to believe they were getting a mega-space battle royale. Sadly, that was not the case as the action and thrills escape this first story having Johnson focus more on deliberation and reflection. Granted, the angle isn’t a bad take, however, it’s not what I was expecting. Johnson uses bystanders throughout the story for him to go super-meta on SUPERMAN. It’s almost as if Johnson wrote himself into the story to provide a sense of hope to all readers traversing this new FUTURE STATE.
Now, even though this may not have been the story expected, Janín’s pencils were totally on point. His extraordinary art style blended flawlessly with this tale. His sharp illustrations provided the book with rich, almost natural layers that enhance the emphasis on the characters throughout the story. Janín is a wizard with the way he crafts a page, empowers movement in each panel, and allows the reader to feel apart of the narrative. Additionally, he knows exactly where to place splash pages to free up space and slow down the story when deemed fit. Furthermore, Jordie Bellaire’s vigorous color choices complemented Janín and Johnson masterfully. Moreover, each mini-narrative had its tone and juxtaposition thanks to the dynamic art team that ushered in the right intensity within each story.
Next, to quickly summarize, the MISTER MIRACLE backup story came off as jammed and a bit confusing leaving this reviewer with more questions than answers. It may have been better suited in SUPERMAN: MAN OF METROPOLIS instead of squeezed into this issue. However, the next backup focused on MIDNIGHTER. And can I say, this story was the most action-driven out of any of the stories in WORLDS OF WAR. Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad instantly commandeer the grainy and almost raw courage that’s MIDNIGHTER providing readers with the story they kind of thought they were getting on the cover… just with a different character in a way. Nevertheless, it’s Gleb Melinkov’s art that helps set the stage beautifully. He instills within the tale this guttural panache that faultlessly fits this melee. Melinkov’s gritty design helped portray this distinct feeling and flirted with the vicious propensities of the character.
Culminating the backups was a BLACK RACER story that satisfied as a renewal of the Fourth World character bringing a modern take to the manteau. Like the MISTER MIRACLE backup, its addition performs as a means to wash out Warworld in this FUTURE STATE. Now, while the story is largely comprised of elucidative exposition, the story does contain some elements of action that position itself towards establishing a new BLACK RACER.
SUPERMAN: WORLDS OF WAR #1 was an oddly homogeneous assortment of tales that stretch across the DC landscape. Johnson’s SUPERMAN premier provides a compass guiding readers towards the path he plans on guiding everyone’s favorite Boy in Blue as he takes the reigns when FUTURE STATE ends. Furthermore, the backups together merely enhance the Warworld silhouette while showcasing the overcast that remains surrounding the world itself. There is a ton in this issue for everyone. I highly recommend giving this overly packed issue a try. It has its moments to shine AND wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. That said, it was still well worth the buy and a solid read for any fan excited for Johnson’s SUPERMAN run as well as Warworld, the Fourth World, and so much more. What did you think? Hit me up, let me know, have a great week, and God Bless!
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