DC Future State: Superman: House of El #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 23, 2021
Cover date: April 2021
“House of El”
Writer: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Penciller: Scott Godlewski
Inker: Scott Godlewski
Cover: Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn
Variant Cover: Jay Anacleto and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Reviewed by: Craig Boehmer
The Red King is sending his hordes against the House of El and the last outpost before Earth. Endless Parademons are fighting the final alliance of the Tamaranean Honor Guard, the Warzoons of War World Prime, Earth, and the House of El. The endless waves are taking their toll on the alliance and they are about to buckle. They desperately attempt to contact the United Planets for reinforcements, but the arrival of a Blue Lantern reveals that the Red King has destroyed the United Planets, and subjugated New Genesis. Brainiac-4 reveals that he has located the last hope they have at winning the war. He is then killed and reanimated by the Red King’s emissary to deliver a final ultimatum. The following day an army of Doomsday’s are unleashed on the allies. Heat vision destroys the armada and Pyrrhos, a descendant of Superman arrives to subjugate the House of El. As Pyrrhos and the future Superman, Ronan, fight, the Doomsdays crush the last of the House of El, until a gust defeats the Red King’s army. Superman arrives to save the day, in epic fashion.
Story – 5: The score for the story is for the climax alone. Johnson provides a fantastic Superman moment that provides a perfect counterpoint to his demise in Immortal Wonder Woman. The rest of the story is pretty good. We get introductions to each of the members of the House of El, some of them are more memorable than others. Johnson also tries to give some character arcs for each of them. Theand’r is an interesting concept, the daughter of Brandon Kent, a descendant of Superman, and a Tamaranean. Khan-El is the El going by Superman in this story, and he is significantly underutilized, coming off as a bland addition with little characterization other than he is a superhero. This is understandable given the scope of the story. These characters would be great in a maxi or mini-series where they could build this world. But I think this is the ideal format for these Future State books, one double sized issue that told a complete self-contained story. I’m assuming Pyrrhos is the Red King, he has a cool design and makes for an interesting villain. I hope that he is picked up again in another story, his domination of both Apokolips and New Genesis could make for a very fun story going forward.
Art – 5: The art is dynamic and fun. It works great for a big bombastic space war book like this. Each of the House of El characters have individualized costumes, even the ones in the backgrounds. The notable exception is Brandon, but his no costume look, works for this story. The fights with both the Parademons and later the Doomsday’s are full of energy and explosive storytelling.
Cover Art – 2: This cover’s biggest problem is that it is too busy with the flourishes at the top and the bottom. So many things distract your eye that it takes away from what could be a cool view. Additionally, the cover kind of spoils the story climax. The colors also feel kind of washed out. The character designs are intriguing, though the helmeted character’s design is probably the least interesting which makes it unfortunate that she is right at the front. Also, why is Superman so angry?
Variant Cover Art – 5: This is a great variant cover. The colors pop, the rays of sunshine are beautifully rendered and add a level of hope to this image of an aged Superman. This cover he comes off as majestic and regal, rather than angry like in the other cover.
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