Welcome To The Future Part 3: DC’s Future State Justice League Family

Welcome back everyone, as we continue on our long march to the sea of Future State. Today we’re going to cover the last set of titles in the future state line-up, including some fantastic books, and some challenging titles. With no further ado, let’s get to the best of the rest!

The Good

Before we get into it today, I did realize that I didn’t address the title Superman vs. Imperious Lex last time in my round up of the Superman family titles. The reason for this oversight is that, for reasons I do not completely understand, this three part series has not finished coming out. Issues 1-2 tell a fairly contained tale, so I’m not 100% sure where issue 3 is going to go.

This book is, well, it’s OK. Mark Russell is a good writer. The designs are solid and the jokes, while a little stale, generally work. It’s decent, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone as a must read.

It’s fine, and yes, I understand what the phrase “damning with faint praise,” means.

Alright, on with the good!

Future State: Aquaman #1-2

Here’s the blurb from DC: When Jackson Hyde accepted the mantle of Aquaman, he didn’t expect to also have to mentor Andy Curry, Arthur and Mera’s teen daughter. Nor did he expect that he and Andy would get sucked into the Confluence-an interdimensional nexus that connects distant planets and galaxies through the One Great Ocean. And he certainly didn’t expect to lose Andy in the process of trying to find their way back home. Now Jackson’s not sure how long he’s been stuck in a prison on Neptune (five years?) or how many times he’s tried to escape (200 at least!). But today Jackson saw something in the water that gave him hope for the first time in a long time-and his captors have no idea what he’s got in store for them.

This. This is how you do a generational hero book. Future State: Aquaman has everything I wanted from Future State. We have two characters, both directly connected to the original hero, both of whom want to take the mantle of Aquaman (or Aquawoman in the case of Andy). The two have serious, character building conflicts with each other, and it feels believable within the context of the story.

What I also love is that both issues follow each character individually, with issue one being much more focused on Jackson, and issue two telling Andy’s story. This gives us a view to these characters that shows us the forces and factors that drive them, and hints at their futures as heroes.

I really, really want Future State: Aquaman to continue, and hope that we see an Aquaman family book in the future. If you’re going to grab any books off the shelf, I really think these books are perfect for anyone.

Speaking of perfect books,

Future State: Swamp Thing #1-2

Here’s the blurb from DC: From the ashes of a terrible war, life blooms anew in Swamp Thing’s image. The remnants of humanity lie in hiding, forever in the shadow of the green god who now rules the planet. When the new avatar of the Green uncovers a stray human, a rebellion is revealed! But this Swamp Thing is no stranger to violent ends, and neither are his creations. If it’s war humanity wants, it will be at their doorstep-and Swamp Thing will never be the same!

Last week I complained that several books from the Superman family were not friendly to new readers. If you want to see how you do that right, here’s another book I recommend reading . I am not the biggest Swamp Thing fan, knowing about him mainly from JL Dark and occasional crossovers with Constantine. I’m not super up on his mythos or on his continuity, and yet, I was able to dive into this story with no problems.

There are a number of timelines in Future State that hint at an apolcalypse, and that’s the central focus of this work. Swamp Thing, alone and lost, creates a family out of aspects of himself to keep him company and keep him going, but when he finds humans that are alive and need his help, he has to face some hard truths about his existence.

Future State: Swamp Thing a touching and emotional book, and was again another real winner from this line. Even without knowing much about the character I was able to empathize with his struggle, mourn his losses, and celebrate his successes. It is brilliantly written, and a must read for any DC fan.

Future State: Green Lantern #1-2

Here’s the blurb from DC: Assigned to map and contact new lifeforms past the 3,600 known sectors of space protected by the Green Lantern Corps, John Stewart and an elite team of Lanterns are trapped behind enemy lines and fighting for their lives when the Central Power Battery goes dark and leaves the entire corps defenseless. Meanwhile, across the cosmos, Green Lantern Jessica Cruz finds herself powerless and forced to battle the invading Yellow Lanterns of the Sinestro Corps, and Guy Gardner, trapped on distant world, decides to reopen Warriors Bar.

I love the Green Lantern corps, which is funny because I am not the biggest Hal Jordan fan, and that’s OK because Future State: Green Lantern puts a lot of attention back on the Corps themselves, and gives us some fantastic stories about how each of the characters we have known and loved deal with the loss of their powers.

Issue one in particular gets my vote for best single issue of the entire Future State line, but I fully admit that as a fan of Guy Gardner I am very, very biased. I accept the judgment of the council on that.

This two part series also gives us a chance to learn more about some of the neglected Lanterns, with Jessica Cruz and Teen Lantern all getting great stories about them, and John Stewart getting the attention (and the kick butt redesign) he deserves.

Plus G’Nort. Come on! Future State: Green Lantern was a great series and I really recommend it,

Future State: Justice League #1-2

Here’s the Blurb from DC: Witness the start of a new era for the Justice League starring Jonathan Kent as Superman, Yara Flor as Wonder Woman, Jo Mullein as Green Lantern, Andy Curry as Aquawoman, a new Flash from the Multiverse and Tim Fox as Batman! Together, they protect the future, yet apart, their identities are secret even from one another…but why? When their greatest adversaries wind up murdered in an abandoned Hall of Justice, all clues point to…the Justice League! The new team’s adventures begin here!

And in a new tale of the Justice League Dark, a witch hunt across the DC Universe begins as magic users are harvested and executed—and the team is on the run! Zatanna and Detective Chimp (now possessed by Etrigan) must round up new and old teammates, including John Constantine, Ragman and Madame Xanadu. Their mission? To battle the power-mad Crow King, Merlin, before his plans for magical domination destroy the fabric of reality. But where is Dr. Fate? And what led the team to disband in the first place? Discover the truth here!

There is so much good in Future State: Justice League. First off, the new Justice League is great, and I love the dynamic between the characters. It’s nice to see a league that is both worried about the mistakes of the past, and also worried about the state of their future. This is the book that made me understand the dynamic between Jon Kent and Yara Flor. This is the book that made me appreciate what Jace Foxx could be as Batman. I honestly would love a follow-up series about these characters, and really hope that we see something from them in the future.

And the Justice League Dark back-up story may be just about perfect. If the main series doesn’t pick up threads of this for their future stories, well, they’re just leaving money on the table!

Future State: Justice League is a fun, fast paced and interesting set of stories, and it moves all of the characters forward in a believable, and dynamic way. This is what the Justice League should be, and I really, hope DC pays attention to this series and learns from it moving forward.

Future State: Suicide Squad #1-2

Here’s the blurb from DC: The Suicide Squad enters the Future State era as Amanda Waller uses Task Force X to save the world and remake it in her image-but what happens when the team shows up to stop her? And in the second story in this extra-sized issue, Black Adam, the immortal one-time champion of the wizard Shazam, rules the planet Kahndaq in the 853rd century. Can he save the future from a threat rooted in the past?

Future State: Suicide Squad is really, really interesting to me for a number of reasons. First, with the re-introduction of the Crime Syndicate and Earth-3 in the main continuity, I think that the Suicide Squad book will get something it has long been lacking, which is stakes. With the current cast being so popular, and made up of so many heavy hitters, it’s been a while since we have really lost many of the characters.

By bringing in alternate universe versions of current heroes, the writers can now kill people off without having to worry about continuity and rebirths. Want to kill Harley Quinn? Grab an alternate universe version and off we go. In a series that seems to be so shy about killing its cast, I really hope we now have a way for the book to actually matter again.

Plus, the introduction of Conner Kent as the new leader of the team is probably the best use of the character I have ever seen. Conner got brought back into the main continuity with Bendis’s Young Justice series, where he just kind of, well, existed. His roll in Future State: Suicide Squad is perfect, and since he will be part of the Squad moving forward, I can’t wait to see what will happen to him from here on out.

And the Black Adam back-up story is solid, although it does raise a number of issues for the character moving forward. I have no doubt this will be addressed in future stories following the character, who for some reason has way more hype than Shazam does, which is sad because I feel like, while it wasn’t the best, there were some bright spots in his two parter from Future State as well.

Speaking of which, let’s get into the bad

The Bad

Future State: Shazam! #1-2

Here’s the blurb from DC: No one’s seen Billy Batson in years-not since the incident known as the Final Battle of Titans Island. Now leading a small band of heroes, even his allies have begun to ask who’s controlling Earth’s Mightiest Mortal. In a story set years after the events of Future State: Teen Titans, learn the truth behind the sacrifice Billy made to imprison an ultimate evil even he couldn’t destroy.

Alright, so I want to be perfectly clear here: Future State: Shazam! is not a bad book. Really, it isn’t, even though I placed it in the bad category. See, the premise is interesting and unique, and we are seeing something we have never seen before, namely Captain Marvel (sigh, fine, Shazam), separated from Billy Batson. We’re seeing a completely new character, freed of his human host, and we get to see the issues that that separation causes. It’s interesting and unique and I love that idea.

What’s bad about Future State: Shazam! is that it is tied into one of the worst parts of Future State, the Teen Titan’s apocalypse story. This story weaves it’s way into other books too, most noticeably the Black Adam back-up from Suicide Squad, and it’s just, boy, it’s just a mess.

This whole time line story seems to exist solely to kill off characters DC doesn’t want to write about anymore, and I just don’t get it. It’s too dark and violent for the post-rebirth DC Universe, and frankly feels like it belongs in the New52.

Speaking of which…

Future State: Teen Titans #1-2

Here’s the blurb from DC: When the original New Teen Titans formed a school to mentor and train young heroes, they wanted to help save the world. Years later, Titans Tower is a monument to a graveyard of pupils lost in a terrible battle. Returning to the site of their greatest failure, Nightwing, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Cyborg join Raven to plot a course to face off against the evil that destroyed their team and school. Loyalties are questioned and motives are suspect as the former teen heroes must turn to the mysterious Red X-a former student-for help. Don’t miss the first comics appearance of this Red X, previously seen only in the hit animated TV series Teen Titans Go!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Future State: Teen Titans is a series wherein things I cannot explain happen for reasons I cannot understand. It’s a mess that seems to only exist to introduce Red X into the main DC continuity, but it doesn’t really do that in a way that makes sense. It also introduces a lot of other new characters without any time spent on developing them into anything worthwhile.

It’s a murky, messy jumble of a story, seemingly designed to sell new action figures, and frankly I am very, very concerned about where the new Titans book is headed since they seem to very much want to drive towards this story with that book.

Not only would I recommend skipping Future State: Teen Titans, honestly if this is the direction they want to go with the Titans, I’d recommend skipping the new Titans Academy book as well. It’s just a bad book overall, and needs to go.

Alright friends, that’s it. All of Future State reviewed in 3 nice, easy to read articles. Hopefully you enjoyed…what’s that? There’s one title I didn’t review? Oh, you mean The Flash. Well now, I have a special treat for you. You see, part 4 of this article series is dedicated entirely to the Future State The Flash book.

You see, it’s is, without a doubt, the worst comic I have ever read, and it needs special attention. So I’m going to take my time and really, really break it down so that hopefully no one ever, ever has to read it or think about it ever again.

So join me next time for Future State: The Flash #1-2, and watch me weep my way through the worst hit job DC has ever done on any character, ever!

Until then, stay safe!

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