Future State: Justice League #1 review – an intriguing, if hamstrung, twofer the next generation

January 13, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Comics
3

Summary

Future State: Justice League #1 presents some interesting ideas in its two stories, but it also raises more issues around the limits of this publishing initiative than are ideal.

3

Summary

Future State: Justice League #1 presents some interesting ideas in its two stories, but it also raises more issues around the limits of this publishing initiative than are ideal.

The big question surrounding DC’s Future State is to what extent any of it is going to matter. With comics being what they are, which for the most part is an impenetrable warren of interlocking continuities, a big reset is usually a great time for new readers to jump on-board with new versions of popular characters going on big new adventures. But when that reset is only temporary, the effect is lessened a bit. I found myself pondering this more than usual while reading Future State: Justice League #1, which is both hemmed-in by having to explain too much in a single issue, and yet full of potential that you have to imagine won’t be realized come March.

So, a problem, then, especially for Joshua Williamson’s titular story, which has recast the enduring Justice League as the next generation of heroes, with an all-new way of doing things that takes several pages of dense exposition to explain. It’s a win for representation and bold new storytelling potential, but it’s not a win for Williamson, who has to spend far more time than is ideal on providing basic context.

And you can see the glimmers of good character work here. We’ve met Jon in his own book, and Yara in hers, but seeing a new Superman and Wonder Woman interact is nice, especially since they’re both so different now. Green Lantern Jo Mullein fulfilling Batman’s detective role is a nice twist on the formula, too. These new interpretations are backed by Robson Rocha’s artwork, with both the new Justice League and the new Legion of Doom having undergone impressive, instantly-fitting redesigns. It feels like the next generation – it also feels like we’re not going to get to spend anywhere near as much time with them as we might like.

The second story, Prophéties, provides an intriguing flip-side with Justice League Dark. Written by Ram V and with Merlin cast as the villain, it’s very different in tone from the opening story, and a touch confusing, but it works at setting the new stakes and suggesting a lot more to come – which, of course, we know there won’t be. There’s obviously a pattern emerging here.

The tone established in this second story really gave Future State: Justice League #1 some texture for me, and I was left lamenting the line’s brevity even more. Of course, this is going to be an issue with the entire Future State project, but I felt it more strongly here than I have in any of the other books thus far. If everything can be capped off neatly and satisfyingly, then perhaps my concerns will have been unfounded. But thus far that seems rather unlikely, and there’s a good chance that the great takeaway from Future State will be that you’re left wanting more of it that you might never get.

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