Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #2 is published by DC Comics. Written by Mark Russell with art by Steve Pugh. The colorist is Romulo Fajardo Jr., and the letters are by Yanick Paquette.
The story is set in the not-so-distant future, featuring a middle-aged Lois Lane and Superman. Lois and Earth are members of the United Planets, an organization built around sharing resources to maintain the safety and prosperity of all their worlds. A request comes in for a new planet to join the league: Lexor, a dictatorial globe ruled by Lex Luthor. The United Planets are obviously suspicious over allowing Luthor into their council, but Superman suggests that Lexor be allowed in. Not for their leader, but for the people suffering under his rule.
Within this issue. Lex and Superman journey to Lexor on a dictatorial mission. Superman is there as protection but not allowed on the surface. Even if he could, the planet is in orbit around a red sun, which will nullify the Kryptonian’s abilities within three minutes. On the ground, Lex welcomes Lois in a ceremony. Lois is there to assess the planet before it can be joined, judging the industries, the debt, and its citizens’ welfare. Lex is desperate for The United Planets to accept his planet. But everything changes when something is found in the mountains…
The plot is fun and enjoyable—the comic moves at a quick pace with events occurring quickly. Simultaneously, the issue doesn’t feel like it moves too fast, as there is a lot of content within it. The most surprising aspect regarding the plot is the twist in the story. This twist was not surprising in itself, as most readers probably knew it would happen at some point. The shock comes from how quickly within the series it happened. One may have expected that part of the story to have been extended, but instead, Russell places the twist within the second issue. But the ending matched the comedic nature of the series.
While much of Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #2 is mostly political allegories to present and past situations, it remains a fun Superman comic at the same time. The concept of citizens being happy while not understanding that they don’t have any freedom. Everything about their lives is under Luthor’s control. But at the same time, there is a consistent satire that maintains a humorous tone throughout. And the second half of the comic is filled with exciting action.
One of the aspects of this comic that really shines is the relationship between Superman and Lois. At this point in their lives, they have been together for decades, knowing everything there is to know about each other. But their connection is still crystal clear and as strong as Superman’s arms. If Lois is in trouble, she smirks. Because she knows there is always someone coming to save her.
Lex is also brilliantly written within this issue because Russell highlights so much of his personality. When Lois arrives, he is that smarmy businessman who knows how to make a presentation. Accept he has upgraded a company into a planet. His longing for control is clear as he is possessive over every aspect of his denizen’s life. But there is always a side to the character that is constantly scheming, wanting something out of every decision he makes. And towards the end of the book, he reveals the heartless, evil soul of his that has plagued Superman for generations.
The art is fantastic. Pugh expertly crafts Lexor, using sci-fi to mimic reality. The dictator takes Lois on a tour of the capital city, showing the ruined factories and peasant villages, before directing her to his regal palace. Even the lines look crisper within his home than it does outside. Luthor’s demeanor changes throughout Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #2, visible in his dialogue and how the artist presents him. When Lois arrives, he stands tall with pride and expectation. But by the climax, he looks like he did last issue, old and shriveled. The fact that he has a mask of his own face over his actual skin is a creepy revelation every time it is noticed.
The fight scenes are brilliantly orchestrated. Luthor’s battlesuit looks as huge and imposing as it always has.
The colors are also used beautifully. Superman’s costume, slightly different from his modern suit, is resplendent in blue and red shades. On the planet, Fajardo Jr places the characters below the backdrop of the scarlet sky. The red makes everything on Lexor look much more imposing. How bright the armor and costumes are is something one may associate with Superman comics, but they are dulled ever so slightly by lighting changes.
There is a lot of dialogue within the issue, but thanks to the letterer, the reader can absorb it well without getting lost. The font appears larger than in other comics, resulting in the text being easier to read.
Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #2 is set in the future but feels like a classic Superman comic. The plot is exciting while having a narrative using real life as a basis to tell the story. Each of the characters is so true to themselves. To the reader, Russell instills the idea that these three have been part of each other’s lives for so long, whether they like it or not. The art feels classic as well while generating new ideas. With the twist happening much sooner than expected, it leaves one wondering where the series will go from here.
Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #2
Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #2 is set in the future but feels like a classic Superman comic. The plot is exciting while having a narrative using real life as a basis to tell the story. Each of the characters is so true to themselves. To the reader, Russell instills the idea that these three have been part of each other’s lives for so long, whether they like it or not. The art feels classic as well while generating new ideas. With the twist happening much sooner than expected, it leaves one wondering where the series will go from here
Screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”