REVIEW: ‘Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Future State Superman vs Imperious Rex #3 - But Why Tho?Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #3 is published by DC Comics. Written by Mark Russell with art by Steve Pugh. Colours from Romulo Fajardo Jr and Carlos M. Mangual is the letterer. 

Set in the distant future, the Earth and several other worlds are now part of the United Planets, an organisation set up to help other planets and stop struggling worlds from destruction. A new planet sends in a request to join the group, ruled by Lex Luthor. Concerned for the civilians of Lexor that are under a dictator’s command, Superman and Lois Lane encourage the congregation to accept.

Superman and Lois traveled as a delegation to Lexor, where Lex accepted Lois with open arms. But when precious crystals were found in a mountain region, Luthor held Lois hostage and had the rest of the delegation slaughtered. Superman defeated his arch-enemy, also developing a way to replicate the crystals off-world, essentially rendering Lexor’s minerals worthless.

Within this issue, the United Planets are still struggling to agree on a course of action regarding Lexor. Most of the ambassadors want to either abandon the world or declare war. Superman and Lois are reluctant to leave the innocent civilians under the iron fist of Luthor, deciding to travel to the hostile planet again. This time, with the goal of encouraging the people to leave and come to the safety of other worlds within the United Planets instead. On Lexor, the populace is on its knees but still looking up to their leader in adoration. Lex desperately looks for someone to blame for the disaster, his ire landing on his loyal robot servant, X-99. But X-99’s plan of getting back into his master’s good books could cause huge complications.

The structure and plot of the comic is much more disappointing than its two predecessors, mainly because it is almost exactly the same as them. The setup and execution of the three issues have been carbon copies of each other. A scene in the United Planets, then Superman and Lois making their way to Lexor. There is usually build-up with Lex in his palace before a battle takes place, usually ending with a comical last page. This repetitive structure sucks the motivation from the final part of the comic, as it feels like the reader has seen this before. The idea of the United Planets is squandered by the repeated journeys to just one planet. There are jokes within Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #3 that even allude to how many times Lois and Clark have been to Lexor. There aren’t any surprises, with even the battle being boring.

Russell has explored the theme of dictatorships heavily in this series, and this continues within the dialogue and presentation of the third issue. There is a comedic and satirical tone within every page. Lex’s pompous and self-important attitude is twinned with this utter disregard for the safety of other people. The dialogue has obvious inspiration from a certain American president, also describing many tactics that real dictators have used. There are many historical comparisons made as the dark times that Lexor has fallen into are described. One that comes to mind is one of the Lexorians carrying the now nearly valueless red crystals in a wheelbarrow. This is possibly a reference to Germany during its depression, where inflation forced people into actually needing a wheelbarrow full of money just to pay for simple groceries. 

The dialogue is smirk-inducing throughout the comic, but its energy is suffering just like the plot is. The characters haven’t changed throughout any of the three issues. None of the conversations feel new or different, even the romantic exchanges between Superman and Lois growing tiresome because we have already read them before.

The art is brilliant again. Pugh’s design of Luthor is fantastic as his power is evident. He is tall and captivating, but there is still that uneasiness that emanates from him. There is more detail directed towards his “new face,” with it even being manipulated at times. The biggest issue with the art is that while well-drawn, everything else has been seen already. The other aliens among the United Planets are cool to see but not a surprise anymore. And the fight at the end, whilst nicely laid out, is against the same enemies that have appeared already.

The colours are stunning. The lighting the Fajardo Jr. uses has a dynamic feel, constantly changing. The contrast between the cold blues of Luthor’s palace and the warm red from the passionate crowd below is beautiful, the panels overlapping in one occasion. The colours within that crowd change like a wave, preventing it from being just a sea of red. When they fight, the iconic colour themes of Superman and Lex are gorgeous.

The lettering is great, fitting the comics well. Each word balloon is easy to read with a font that is also fun instead of informal. There are multiple caption boxes, but each one is colour coded so it is easy to see whose thoughts they are. The SFX are large and add so much to the combat.

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #3 is a dull and disappointing end to the series. The first two issues were brilliant, with a great structure and story. But this third issue stretches the repetition too far, damaging the whole miniseries. There’s nothing new in this final part, nothing to separate it as a third chapter. The message that the civilians of Lexor shouldn’t have to suffer because of the actions of their dictator is an honourable one. But that could have been filtered into the second issue. Beyond that, the comic doesn’t have anything to even warrant its creation.

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #3 is available where comics are sold.

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #3
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TL;DR

Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #3 is a dull and disappointing end to the series. The first two issues were brilliant, with a great structure and story. But this third issue stretches the repetition too far, damaging the whole miniseries. There’s nothing new in this final part, nothing to separate it as a third chapter. The message that the civilians of Lexor shouldn’t have to suffer because of the actions of their dictator is an honourable one. But that could have been filtered into the second issue. Beyond that, the comic doesn’t have anything to even warrant its creation.