Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #3 – Mark Russell, Writer; Steve Pugh, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: It’s an unlikely finish to Future State a month after the rest of the event, as Mark Russell and Steve Pugh bring their satirical space adventure to a close. When we last left off, Lex Luthor’s planet of Lexor had been brought to an economic standstill thanks to Superman exposing his scheme, and the citizens are struggling under a world that no longer works as designed. Luthor, meanwhile, is undeterred and his actions as his master plan crumbles will likely remind a lot of people of recent events. He tries to convince the public that the suffering will pass, then that it’s actually getting better. When that doesn’t work, he amps up the propaganda and even turns on one of his few trusted allies. And as the planet collapses with no sustainable industry, Superman and Lois bring their case to the United Planets that the crisis can’t be allowed to continue.
Russell is a satire writer, but he’s also one of the best Superman writers of the modern era. While some heroes can sometimes seem self-destructive as they battle to save the people who hate them most (looking at you, Batman taking time out of a mission to save Joker’s life), Superman’s grounding in an unwavering belief in the potential of people to do better makes total sense and fits with his origin. Russell’s Luthor continues to be one of the most hateful versions we’ve ever seen—so narcissistic he will gladly doom an entire world to destroy the person he hates most. The snarky but loving bond between Superman and Lois adds some great one-liners to the issue, and the ending has a nice ironic edge to it. This is definitely not something that fits into the main Future State timeline—it’s a Russell joint, through and through—but it makes a fitting capper to these tales of what the future of the DCU could look like.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.