“Future State: Wonder Woman“
Writers: L.L. McKinney, Joëlle Jones, Dan Watters, Becky Cloonan, and Michael W. Conrad
Artists: Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, Joëlle Jones, Leila Del Duca, and Jen Bartel
Color Artists: Emilio Lopez, Jordie Bellaire, Nick Filardi, and Jen Bartel
Letterers: Becca Carey, Clayton Cowles, Tom Napolitano, and Pat Brosseau
Review by Steve J. Ray
I can’t believe that the “Future State” event happened right at the beginning of a year which is now just a few weeks away from ending. Back in January and February of 2021, this cosmic set of titles replaced every DC book, gave fans a glimpse at the possible futures of the publisher’s greatest heroes, and introducing us to some brand new ones. Future State: Wonder Woman collects Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1-2, Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1-2, Future State: Wonder Woman #1-2, and the two Future State: Nubia back-up stories.
That’s a whole lot of wonder!
What a way to start a collection! I’ve loved Nubia for decades, so finally getting to see her shine as a fully-fledged Wonder Woman filled my heart with joy. You’ll hear me say this again later on in this review, but the costume and character designs for the two new Wonder Women are nothing short of spectacular! Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, and color artist Emilio Lopez give us a costume that’s very different to Diana’s, yet still screams “Wonder Woman”… I absolutely love it.
L.L. McKinney gives us a fresh take on Nubia too. This Wonder Woman feels like a real human being; she isn’t infallible or indestructible. In fact, she falters at first, before standing up, dusting herself off, and coming back fighting. This iteration of the character is a true hero and more than deserves her time in the sun.
This adventure makes Nubia’s rise to become Queen of the Amazons, after Diana’s “death” and apotheosis at the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal, feel all the more fitting. She’s a hero, a Princess, and an inspiration. McKinney also gives her a wonderful supporting cast, which enriches the tale even further.
I love the character of Wonder Woman. Actually, let’s be clear… I love Diana of Themyscira. I’m a huge fan of Joëlle Jones, particularly after her stellar work with Tom King on Batman, and her own run on Catwoman. I only picked up Future State: Wonder Woman on release, purely because Joëlle was on the book. I was fully prepared to hate Yara Flor.
Over the decades we’ve had other characters pick up the mantle of Wonder Woman, either in possible futures, alternate realities, or due to other weird and wonderful comic-book tropes. We’ve seen Nubia, Artemis, and Cassie Sandsmark inherit the title, but none of them had the staying power of Diana. With that in mind, how would Yara Flor be any different? Also, how could she ever become a credible future Wonder Woman in the space of just two issues?
Joëlle Jones, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles showed us how. They created a Wonder Woman trying her best to live up to the original but with a younger, fresher vibe, a killer look, fantastic supporting characters, new weapons, a flying horse, and a whole load of sass. My expectations were completely blown, my negativity was eradicated, and I learned to love a whole new Wonder Woman.
This story is pure magic; we got Hades as an airport terminal, Hydra, the Underworld, Charon, and Cerberus as we’d never seen them before. Yara Flor may just be Wonder Girl in current continuity, but I (and all the other DC Comics News writers) have so much love for her that we’d all be happy with her one day becoming Wonder Woman.
If you love Yara (and Jerry) as much as we do, you may want to check out my interview with Joëlle Jones, on this very website.
The Planet’s Finest: Superman/Wonder Woman
Yar Flor isn’t the only hero trying to fill some big shoes; young Jonathan Kent’s trying to fill his dad’s! Any youngster taking over the family business from a parent who’s a legend will find it hard, but when that parent is the Man of Steel… well, I feel for the lad. Thankfully, Jon has a great friend in Yara Flor.
This story is so fun. Dan Watters writes these young adults brilliantly, and his Silver-Age-Esque scenario – replete with a sentient sun, ancient gods, epic challenges, and two heroes trying their best to live up to legendary legacies – is a two-part treasure of a tale.
Leila Del Duca and Nick Filardi draw and color the adult Jon Kent and Yara Flor brilliantly. Their storytelling is sublime, and their characters emote, move, grimace and sweat just like real people. Yes, the situations are strange, fantastic, and ridiculous, but they’re also hugely entertaining, have great dialogue, and look fantastic.
Immortal Wonder Woman
Where most of the “Future State” tales, both in this book and in all the other titles for the event, seem to take place a decade or so from now, Immortal Wonder Woman is set at the end of everything. Of course, you can’t have a book called Future State: Wonder Woman without featuring the original, legendary, and eternal Diana.
I read these two issues on release, they appear in the magnificent Wonder Woman: 80 Years of the Amazon Warrior collection, and they’re presented here as well. Did I read the story again? Yes. Do I now own it three times? Again… yes. Is that a bad thing? Hell, no! The amazing Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad have gifted us with a bittersweet, beautiful tale of a Wonder Woman full of hope, even at the end of everything.
This is Diana, this is heroism… This is Wonder Woman.
If you haven’t guessed already, I love this story, and not just because it was written by two talents at the top of their game who are now chronicling Diana’s adventures in the present, but also because of the magnificent art by Jen Bartel. Look at it! This book is full of beautiful visuals created by amazing talents, so ending it with this story is the icing on the greatest cake ever baked.
Jen’s art is elevated even further by the work of the brilliant craftsman that is Pat Brosseau. Diana’s inner monologue is gorgeously rendered, and the fact that we have unique speech bubbles for Darkseid, Swamp Thing, and The Spectre, along with some gorgeous sound effects and titles, adds yet another dimension to the story.
I’d like to applaud Becca Carey, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Napolitano too. Without these fine people, we wouldn’t actually have anything to read.
The book ended.
It’s no secret that Batman and his extended family are my favorite characters (why else would I manage a Batman website?) but, for me, 2021 has been the year of Wonder Woman. This isn’t just because the character celebrated her 80th anniversary this year, but also because books like Future State: Wonder Woman, the 100 page Super Spectacular, the ongoing Wonder Girl, and the original Wonder Woman series are all in such great places right now.
Read in awe, and read with respect. The only fictional female character to have new adventures published consistently for eighty years is still going strong. Here’s looking forward to the next eighty. She’s. No… scrap that. They’re a Wonder, Wonder Woman!
Review Copy Courtesy of Penguin Random House. Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment