REVIEW: ‘Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Future State: Superman Vs Imperious Lex #1

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #1 is published by DC Comics. Written by Mark Russell with art by Steve Pugh. Colours by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and letters by Carlos M. Mangual. 

This story takes place in the future, featuring a slightly older Superman and Lois Lane. Earth is now part of an interplanetary community, with the universe having a much stronger connection with each other. The United Planets is a council that meets to discuss issues on each planet, discussing how they can help each other. The new headquarters has been built in Metropolis, and Earth has chosen Lois as their representative. During their first meeting, a new petition comes in for a planet to join the United Planets: Lexor, a planet ruled by Lex Luthor. There is understandably resounding rejection to the proposal, but that may change when Superman returns to Earth.

The plot places the audience after the formation of the United Planets and years in the future, with little explanation of the history leading up to that fact. Placing the audience in medias res has been used throughout the Future State books, and this issue is just an example of it working well. The series’ concept is explained quickly and in an exciting way, allowing the plot to continue from this point. When Superman arrives, the issue switches between the United Planets’ meeting and Superman’s past encounter on the Lexor planet. This is balanced nicely, featuring debate and humour during the meeting and action in the flashback.

The ending can be seen coming from an early point in Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #1, but the mystery is in how this ending is achieved. This aspect of the narrative was surprising. 

Superman doesn’t actually feature much within the comic initially, acting as a means of providing exposition. Both he and Lois are older, somewhere between 45 and 60 in how they look. But what primarily comes across in the narrative is his compassion towards innocents. Superman’s soul has always been his most endearing feature.

A fascinating aspect of the comic that Russell implements is how both Lex Luthor and the citizens of Lexor view the arrival of Superman. As Superman attacks the planet in response to Luthor’s robots causing chaos across the universe, the people on the planet are terrified of his arrival. Because to them, he is the villain. The reader is actually made to feel uncomfortable over Superman’s behaviour for a change. For Luthor, his populace adores him as a benefactor, but he is starting to develop a paranoia about his position as discontent starts to surface.

The dialogue is brilliant, especially at the United Planets meeting. There is a lot of humour to be found within the conversations between the different races. It is incredibly fun to see this council full of aliens, chaired by a Guardian. The society on Lexor also possesses many conversations and snide little comments that will result in multiple chuckles.

The art is superb within Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #1. Each of the characters has a beautiful and unique design, fantastically created by Pugh. The United Planets members all look like different species, truly individual in their size and form. One of the most impactful aspects of the line art is the way Luthor is drawn. Lex looks odd and, at times, unnerving. He seems to be slightly weaker and frail, depicted through intricate and detailed inks. For much of the first pages of his appearance, he is naked or topless, so the wrinkles on his back can be seen, a sign of age starting to affect someone who is only human. Another detail is one that I only noticed on a second readthrough and will remain unrevealed within this text, but it is uncomfortable to discover.

The colours throughout the issue are stunning. A variety of vibrant colours are used within the United Planets meeting, resulting in each figure standing out in scenes full of characters. The comic is bright for the most part, often seen within Superman comics, to increase the positive tone. But on Lexor, it is much darker and scarier; even the sky has a red shade to it. This creates the insinuation that those on the planet are a threat.

The letters are straightforward to read, with a slightly larger font aiding the readability. Superman’s attack on the robots is accompanied by a cacophony of SFX, which are all dynamic and engaging.

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #1 is an enjoyable first issue. The comedy within the dialogue allows the reader to skim the book first before going back to look for potential details they missed. This increased connectivity between Earth and the rest of the universe is a great concept to use within a DC story as there are so many possibilities. The art adds to the fun of the issue as there are fantastic fights and beautifully drawn planets. 

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #1 is available where comics are sold.

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #1
4.5

TL;DR

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #1 is an enjoyable first issue. The comedy within the dialogue allows the reader to skim the book first before going back to look for potential details they missed. This increased connectivity between Earth and the rest of the universe is a great concept to use within a DC story as there are so many possibilities. The art adds to the fun of the issue as there are fantastic fights and beautifully drawn planets.