Gene Luen Yang’s final chapter of this Batman and Superman team-up reads like the final chapter of Batman and Superman’s friendship, strained and exhausted, before the events that lead to Superman’s exit from Earth and Batman’s descent into the worst version of Gotham City ever imagined. It’s sad because even as the two allies see their friendship falling apart for various reasons, they still maintain a lot of mutual honor and respect for each other, though they won’t admit it.
Following up on the heels of last month’s story, Superman has been captured by Professor Pyg while Batman discovers that Pyg is working for The Magistrate, though he’s pretending to be leading a resistance group against Gotham’s evil overlords. Somehow, The Magistrate has discovered a way to synthesize a form of kryptonite that allows Pyg to not only get the better of Superman but perform some experiments on him as well. Batman realizes that the experiments Pyg has been doing have allowed him to replicate certain parts of Superman’s physiology into biological weapons, making Gotham an even more dangerous place for vigilante heroes.
Of course, the story wraps up with Superman and Batman removing the biological threats, destroying the lab and the research, and making sure Professor Pyg gets locked away in Blackgate prison, but the story doesn’t end there. Realizing that The Magistrate’s synthetic kryptonite is a bigger threat to Superman’s life than Clark is willing to admit, Bruce turns the table on his friend and banishes Superman from Gotham City under the pretense that the genetic modifications are too dangerous to fall into the hands of the Gotham villains.
Stephen Segovia helped Ben Oliver on the linework this issue and Arif Prianto is back on the colors. The artwork is once again exceptionally stunning and among the best on the stands today. It is somewhat of a shame that these artists aren’t on a higher profile comic that will get them more exposure, but those comics are also not as good as this one, so I guess there’s always a silver-lining.
Just as with issue #1, this issue is only $3.99 and features one story instead of attempting DC’s new initiative of adding extra stories and raising the cover price. Those extra stories can be a mixed blessing as some are better than the feature and are worth the bulk of the cover price while others are downright terrible and would be too expensive if given away for free. Since this story alone is worth every penny and one of the best that Future State has to offer, I’m glad it didn’t get tied down with anything else.
Even if you skip most of Future State because you know better than to buy the mess that DC Comics is currently publishing, grab these two issues. You’ll be glad that you did.