Of all the Future State comic books the ones that I have been least interested in has been the Superman Family titles. Though I’ve enjoyed certain runs in different titles within the franchise the Superman Family titles just aren’t comics I normally seek out. That said, with how much I’ve enjoyed Future State thus far I wanted to give some of the Superman titles under the banner a shot. One of those titles is Superman Of Metropolis. Given how Jonathan Kent’s Superman is part of the Future State Justice League I was interested to see what his direction is in this possible future without his dad around. The first issue of this series didn’t hit the other Future State comics have thus far. That was mainly due to how much exposition there needed to be to get over where both Jonathan Kent is as Superman and the status quo of Metropolis during Future State. Now that the set-up is out of the will Future State: Superman Of Metropolis end on a strong note with its second and final issue? Let’s find out.
Writers: Sean Lewis (Future State: Superman Of Metropolis, Future State: The Guardian); Brandon Easton (Future State: Mister Miracle);
Artists: John Timms (Future State: Superman Of Metropolis); Valentine de Landro (Future State: Mister Miracle); Cully Hamner (Future State: The Guardian)
Colorists: Gabe Eltaeb (Future State: Superman Of Metropolis); Marissa Louise (Future State: Mister Miracle); Laura Martin (Future State: The Guardian)
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere in space inside Brain Cell’s ship Brain Cell mocks Superman (Jonathan Kent) for not living up to his father’s name and the fact there isn’t record of Jonathan’s existence in any other universe. Brain Cell then creates clones of all the different versions of Clark Kent’s Superman to fight Jonathan while he studies Metropolis. The Clark Kent clones then start overpowering Superman.
Meanwhile, at the Fortress of Solitude, Supergirl recovers and has Kelex help her in tracking down where Brain Cell took Superman. After finding the location to be somewhere in Nebula-1 Kelex gives Supergirl a ray gun that shrinks or grows its target. Supergirl then takes off to find Brain Cell and Superman.
Back in Brain Cell’s ship Superman does his best to fight all the clones but is severely outnumbered. Superman is then driving into the ships core room. Superman notices the Nirodhium Core that is powering Brain Cell and tries to rip it out.
At the same time, Supergirl approaches Brain Cell’s ship. Brain Cell knocks the ray gun out of Supergirl’s hand and then destroys it with a powerful blast. This pisses Supergirl off as she decides to stop holding back.
Back inside the ship, Superman uses the Nirodhium Core against all the clones since they are full Kryptonian. This takes out all the clones in one giant blast. This ends up destroying all the Nirodhium.
Supergirl then appears and apologizes to Superman for punching him and calling him weak earlier. Superman admits that Supergirl was right. He then says that Supergirl can repair the ray gun with Brain Cell’s help. While they do that Superman goes back to where Metropolis was before to get it ready to regrow to its natural state.
Back on Earth, where Metropolis once stood, Superman gets the city ready. Once in the right stop Supergirl and Brain Cell put Metropolis back to its original size.
Seeing that there are a lot of disasters going on in the city Superman goes around Metropolis helping everyone.
Once everyone is saved Superman says he will work hard to be their Superman. He tells the crowd gathered “I am Jonathan Kent. The Superman of Metropolis.” End of issue.
The Good: Building on the foundation that the first issue constructed Future State: Superman Of Metropolis #2 works well to get over Jonathan Kent’s new position in this DC Universe. Even though he has done the job of a superhero for a long time by this point this very much felt like the beginning of Jonathan’s journey.
Going with the route that Jonathan Kent did not feel he was living up to the Superman name when we catch up with him in Future State was a good way to build his voice. We see how unlike other next generation heroes stepping into iconic roles Jonathan did not only grow up around the iconic DC Universe heroes but looked up to them his entire life. Having looked up to his dad and other heroes his whole life you can tell he is not fully comfortable in now taking on the role of Superman. There is a sense that he has created his own demons because of this.
Which made the fact that Brain Cell used this fact about Jonathan to create clones of Clark Kent and Conner Kent to fight the new Superman even more impactful. Jonathan’s own demons manifested in real life for him to overcome. Sean Lewis did a very good job using this situation to continue Jonathan’s arc of fully accepting himself as Superman in not just name only. This is who he is and he needs to accept that being Superman is who he is.
The solution for how Superman overcame Brain Cell also worked to establish how Jonathan can solve problems with more than just his powers. Using the fact that Nirodhium does not affect him and that the clones Brain Cell created were full Kryptonian was a god use of the rules Lewis established in the first issue. It came back around to get over how even if Jonathan may not be as strong as his dad or Kara that he will be just as good of a superhero as the new Superman.
As we see Jonathan come into his own as Superman it was good that along the way we did see Kara starting to accept him in that role. There is clearly still work for Jonathan to fully establish himself as Superman in the eyes of everyone around him. But as we see with Kara, he is now on his way to get to how so many viewed Clark as the hero everyone can place all their hope in.
The speech Jonathan makes as he vows to be the Superman for the people of Metropolis was executed well. It got over how at this point Clark Kent’s Superman has grown to be a symbol for the entire universe. Because of that there is a giant hole left for who will fight for the people on the streets. Jonathan’s speech spoke to how he will be the one stepping up to be the Superman for the next generation to look up to. It also helps to frame why Jonathan over in the Future State: Justice League series still believes in what the classic DCU hero is supposed to be compared to his teammates that don’t have those same ties.
Both Mister Miracle and Guardian back-up stories in Future State: Superman Of Metropolis #2 work well to enhance the main story. More so than back-ups we’ve seen in other Future State comic books, the Mister Miracle and Guardians stories were built to specifically enhance the main story rather than being standalone adventures set in the same setting and time period. That worked well to make them standout as they are directly addressing what both Jonathan Kent was doing in his adventure.
The artwork throughout this series from John Timms, Valentine de Landro, and Cully Hamner were all well done for their respective stories they were assigned. Timms artwork very much had the look that you picture a Superman comic book to have in the modern era. He got across what Jonathan’s current power level is as Superman. The speech at the end of the main story also captured the moment as being a being a turning point where Jonathan fully embraced what it means to be Superman.
Landro’s artwork for the Mister Miracle story most stood out because he has such a different style than what is normally seen in a DC series. Landro’s style fit well with how Mister Miracle’s adventure was more on the high-adventure-fantasy side of things. It worked to show that what we are seeing in this story is just one part of a bigger storyline going on in the Superman Family books under the Future State banner.
Hamner also did a good job giving a grounded feel to The Guardian story to differentiate it from the cosmic tone of the Superman and Mister Miracle hit. It helped get across how life was still going on in the shrunken Metropolis and how Guardian filled the role of the protector of the city. This put over how Superman will have help in protecting Metropolis in Guardian.
The Bad: While Future State: Superman Of Metropolis #2 made improvements to the main story there were still problems with certain story choices that could not be avoided. The biggest one is the relationship between Jonathan and Kara. While we saw hints of their relationship improving it was still odd that there wasn’t much explanation as to the animosity between them. This is where the time jump in Future State hurts the type of stories that are trying to be told. We are getting so much that is not explained, especially when it comes to character relationships.
The way Kara continued to act even when not affected by Brain Cell’s Nirodhium made her come across as unlikable. Even as Lewis hints at why Kara may have this attitude that is a very thin explanation for why she was so antagonistic. More than anything it came across as a plot beat that was just here to have conflict for conflict sake. Because of that this didn’t capture the more hopeful nature the Superman Family are supposed to have compared to other superhero families.
Brain Cell was also a very weak and uninteresting villain when all was said and done. The flip from villain to ally at the end came across as a very awkward thing to do. This turn made Brain Cell a weaker villain because he just did it on a whim. There should’ve been more than just having his ship disabled by Superman’s efforts for Brain Cell to decide to be helpful. Especially with how much Brain Cell got on Jonathan’s case for not being Superman it would’ve been better if this story was more about establishing it as a threat for the Future State universe.
What made this turn even less effective was the fact that the Trojan zealots were never actually dealt with after being introduced in the first issue. They were largely forgotten as part of why Jonathan did what he did in shrinking Metropolis. It would’ve made the ending of the main story more impactful if we saw Superman going around taking out what was left of what Andrej Trojan created in Metropolis. Not addressing that major sub-plot that was introduced felt like there was something that was just cut and the hope was the readers would forget about it.
Overall: Future State: Superman Of Metropolis #2 built on the foundation that the first issue created to wrap up Jonathan Kent’s arc. There were still problems with Supergirl and the villain Brain Cell roles in the main story coming across as rushed. But even with those problems the story of Jonathan’s rise as the new Superman who is ready to step out of the large shadow of his father had a satisfying payoff. The success with that arc made this series that strengthened the quality we’ve seen in Future State.
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