Technically, all of these books released in January. But, you know what you get here at 2 Guys Gaming. I’m not part of the comics media elite (yet, and I may never be, but hope springs eternal), so I order my books from Discount Comic Book Service and they arrive all in a big box at the end of each month. And, so, you read the general review of the first month of books DC Future State February 2021 instead.
I originally planned to review each book individually as I do for all of my comic reviews. That plan is unfeasible for a couple of reasons. One, there are a ton of books (my order doubled for this month) and I only give myself a week to read and review the books. Two, none of the books have been very good so far.
I ran the gamut when it came to opinions of Future State. Initially, when I thought DC planned to use it as a reboot, yet again, I met it with my usual cautious optimism. When Chris assured me that DC said it was an event and not a reboot (though that’s looking to be delightfully devilish on their part in retrospect), I jumped all in. I put ever single book on my pull list. I even added a few variant covers by mistake. Now that I read a few of the books, put me on the (spoiler alert) extremely disappointed list. What makes DC Future State February 2021 so disappointing? I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with the good news first.
Sorry folks, no great this time. I wager there are more than one or two great books here. They have some of their best writers (Tamaki, V, Jones, Bendis, among others) on the “project”. So, once I get around to reading them on vacation, I might write an amendment to give them their props. Overall, though, as mentioned, the books give me the impression of a failed reboot that they repackaged as an event. It all looks and feels like the next generation reboot that pissed off so many Marvel fans about a decade ago now.
I, personally, would have more respect for them if they just powered through the awkwardness of another reboot until the books got good again. You know it would happen eventually. The hard core collectors would keep collecting because they’d be afraid of missing out. The lovers like me and Chris would grab the books that held our attention and eventually found new books to enjoy. The casual fan (haha), if they still exist, would pop in here and there. Who knows, you might even expand your audience. Again, I mock, haha. Instead, we’re met with this mealy mouthed “event” in which nothing really happens.
That can be forgiven when Bendis writes for a title for 3 or 4 years. There’s bound to be lulls in the story. But, when you give these characters 2 or 4 books in which to be introduced and possibly concluded? Those books had better be damn good. And, quite frankly, they just aren’t.
Marketing – I often say that I’m not very susceptible to marketing. I say it almost as much as I say that I don’t hate Tom Brady. Both come out of my mouth (and virtual mouth) enough that you may think that I’m compensating. Chris has said as much on numerous occasions. Honestly, that may be partly true.
Mostly, I repeat myself because I don’t know which post might lead someone to the page. Therefore, I feel the need to explain myself on as many articles as possible so people know what they’re in for. To make a long story short…
Even though I generally feel like I don’t respond to marketing, of course I do. It’s just that marketing needs to be tailored exactly for me. DC accomplished that with Future State admirably. I went from not caring and maybe picking up a few titles that interested me to ordering every single title they published. Well played, DC.
The Stories: I don’t mean to imply that the books are bad. They’re not. Admittedly, at this writing, I’ve only read three of them. However, the overall trend follows this pattern. They’re DC books set in the future. Sure, Aquaman mentions the multiverse. However, the Batman Superman and The Next Batman stories are just Batman and Superman stories set in a near future dystopia.
Don’t get me wrong. That’s all fine. It’s just not “event” stuff. As I said, it looks, smells, and feels very much like an aborted attempt at another reboot. I give them some credit for trying to switch it up and give the reboot some flavor. However, I have no respect for backing off and then trying to resell it as an “event”.
This is no event. Civil War was an event. Planet Hulk was an event. Secret Empire was an event. This is a well (at least to suckers like me) marketed shift of focus. Again, nothing wrong with that. They invested quite a bit into this and want to see some return. I just don’t understand why they’re being so coy about it. Perhaps their margins are thinner than Chris and I have feared all these years. If so, do what you need to do to keep making comics, guys. I’m 100% behind you.
I will read the rest of the books in DC Future State February 2021. I’m on break next week, so I’ll need things to keep me occupied. Perhaps I will also write an addendum article with some of my free time. I mean, there are some great writers and artists on the project. Almost every one of my favorites is involved other than Tom King and James Tynion. I suppose some had to stay back to hold down the fort when we return to the present. At the risk of sounding like one of those comic nerds, that return can’t happen soon enough. In the meantime, there’s always WandaVision.
Note: Header image from here.