With a throughline of sacrifice and misinformation at its center, this issue answers some questions about (aptly enough) whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow as the second generations of the Fourth World and stars from Wildstorm play in the periphery. Balancing out the other half of the set up from Future State: Superman of Metropolis, this shows that things in this corner of the DC Universe are pretty messy as well.
The lead story is kind of the weakest link here: a paean to Superman's myth more than any facts or plot-relevant details until its last pages. Clark Kent is gone from the world, leaving a credulous populace to hypothesize in the absence of facts. Suffice it to say, a lot of pages are used to establish a similar challenge as what the Doctor faced as a prisoner of the Judoon before Captain Jack showed up. If you liked the Grandmaster scenes in Thor: Ragnarok, this set up might seem familiar as Clark Kent stands in a difficult position but still sticks to the moral high ground.
After that, we get to Mongul's War World, where Shilo Norman has taken a Boom Tube to find himself in the thick of it, running into the brutal hero Midnighter and told to call for backup. There are some fun action scenes, which is great teamwork between Brandon Easton's script and the artwork from Valentine De Landro, Marissa Louise, and Dave Sharpe, but a page count that's too abbreviated for the reader to get their bearings.
The aforementioned Midnighter has to deal with a challenge he's not very happy about, only to get a surprise he does not like. This section has a great narrative balance that works all right despite its lean amount of story content (punching! realizations! punching! realizations!).
Finally, a new Black Racer (no, not his son) is an ace at what looks like roller derby for mecha (which, admittedly, sounds cool). She becomes an unlikely hero (shades of what Seven of Nine is going through in the current Start Trek: Voyager miniseries) but again gets short-sheeted by a page count just when things were getting interesting.
This anthology method of presentation may be a stronger business choice — given that an untested Black Racer doesn't have to carry the risk carrying of a whole title — but it's creatively a mixed bag that cuts the interesting bits off where they should forge ahead and leaves a lot of page count for less intriguing material. Making the man himself a guest star in the book doesn't do it any favors either. RATING: MEH.
Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1
By Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Mikel Janin, Brandon Easton, Valentine De Landro, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Gleb Melnikov
This monumental Future State title features four big stories! First, Clark Kent is gone, leaving a Superman-shaped hole behind. People gather in Smallville to celebrate their hero, little realizing that he is across the galaxy helping others. Superman has gone to Warworld, where he fights as a gladiator in the deadly pits of Mongul. But this is Superman we're talking about — and his idea of a victory does not line up with the expectations of Mongul's hordes! Meanwhile, on the other side of Warworld, other agents are at work, struggling for a better life. Shilo Norman, the man known as Mister Miracle, has ridden a Boom Tube across the cosmos from Metropolis to finds himself at odds with an entire planet! At the same time, Midnighter, the greatest fighter from Earth, is punching his way through a whole mess of trouble. He's on the hunt for a new energy source deadlier than Kryptonite. His goal: to shut it down before it gets unleashed on an unsuspecting universe. On top of that, the Black Racer, a girl raised in the slums of Warworld to be one of its top competitors, turns betrayal into a crusade to fight for the freedom of others like her.