Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #3 (of 3) - Review

by Olivier Roth on March 30, 2021

Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #3 (of 3) - Review

Writer: Mark Russell

Artist: Steve Pugh

Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr. 

Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

Published by: DC


“We start in reality. And then, with each passing day, we move a little deeper into the dark warmth of the cave. Until we grow so comfortable with the shadows on the wall that we forget there ever was an outside world.” - Lex Luthor


Having read the entirety of the Future Even “mini-event” from DC these past few months, I can honestly say that Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex was hands-down my favorite of the titles. Why? Because it was written by Mark Russell and drawn by Steve Pugh. 


The concept of this mini-series was quite simple: what would happen if Lex Luthor would become a would-be dictator of a planet orbiting a red sun on the fringe of space, because you know, Superman, having the love of the native people and still manage to “Lex it all up”. 


As described, though I have simplified it, makes for a very entertaining story. Lex, being the megalomaniac that he is, throughout the issues, continuously loses - blaming the failing economy on his robot assistant X-99 for accidentally freeing Lois Lane, is particularly funny - yet still looks for the play that will get him victory.


What makes this comic stand out for me is Russell’s ability to craft a story that is timely and shows the reader that a lot of what we see going on in the world today - the manipulation of the media, stealing of resources - does have consequences. The quote at the beginning of this review sums up what I believe the message of this series was: we live in a world where a lot of us are comfortable not facing reality and would rather stay in our fantasy worlds as depicted in Plato’s cave.


Pugh, as a frequent collaborator of Russell’s, brings to life this story and provides probably one of the smarmy Lex Luthor’s I’ve seen in comics in ages. His design just makes Luthor’s face oh so punchable, and I love it! His Superman isn’t half-bad either. 


What I enjoyed the most in this series from Pugh was two-fold: his ability to utilize the whole page when crafting a scene as not one page uses a typical panelling system and because of this, you are able to follow the action from one panel to the next. One example of this - when Lex is addressing his “people”, the panel on the left, which is a frontal shot of Lex, is lower than the one on the right, where you see Lex on the balcony, looking down on everyone. It’s small little touches like this that I love spotting in comics. 


The next, is Pugh’s great expressions that he gives to all the characters. You can feel Lex’s pomposity and general disdain for everyone around him just by looking at the image on the page. 

Russell’s comics at DC have been some of my favorites from the company in the past 5 years as his work takes situations from real life, and sometimes, like this series, straight out of today’s news cycle, and superimposes it on the wackiness that the comic format allows. Whether it be everyday modern life seen through the eyes of prehistoric man in The Flintstones or how social media has consumed and runs our lives like Prez, this mini-series showed us how Lex’s quest for glory would always fall short once the populace saw the man behind the curtain. Couple that with Pugh’s outstanding art and you are treated to a grade A comic!


Our Score:


A Look Inside