Superman Is About to Fight a Powerful Villain - and He's Destined to Lose
Andrew Herbison
Future State Superman Worlds of War
Future State Superman Worlds of War
Warning: The following article contains spoilers from Action Comics #1033, on sale now from DC Comics.
The most recent issues of Action Comics introduced new Kryptonians to the DC Universe in the form of refugees from the dire planetoid Warworld. While Clark Kent welcomes them with open arms, his son Jonathan isn't convinced. Having learned in the future that his father is set to disappear around this time, he believes these mysterious refugees could be responsible, and he might be right.
Everything kicked off when a ship from Warworld crashed into the sea. Superman responded and discovered those onboard spoke an old Kryptonian language and were even branded with his family crest. He brought them to the Fortress of Solitude to try and uncover the mystery of who they were and how they came to be on Earth. Only one, a woman named Thao-La remained conscious. One of the strangest things of all was that, even in the safety of Superman's home, she refused to take off her chains, believing that "He Who Holds All Chains" would know.
Action Comics #1033 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Daniel Sampere, Adriano Lucas, and Dave Sharpe reveals why Thao-La is so afraid and shows that even the hallowed walls of the Fortress aren't a safe haven from one particularly powerful villain. Warworld's despotic dictator Mongul has been watching his runaways this whole time, including their time spent in the Fortress. This explains the fear of Warworld's residents, even when off-world. They believe Mongul will know if they take off their chains because they believe he can see them, as he sees everything.
His surveillance isn't just contained to the Fortress of Solitude, it extends to Atlantis and beyond. The footage shown on the Warworld's screens reveals that he has eyes on Superman as he confronts the U.S. and Atlantis above the seas. He also has eyes on the powerful Genesis artifact in Atlantis below and his loyal soldiers who are locked up there as well.
Mongul doesn't just stand by passively and watch everything unfold. The brutal tyrant acts on the information he learns. Seeing that Thao-La might forget why Mongul sent her to Earth in the first place, he gives his servants captive in Atlantis a means of escape and a new mission.
Although it's unsure exactly how Mongul has eyes everywhere, his reach is alarming. Those who were imprisoned in Atlantis find a way inside the Fortress thanks to their master. Not only is Mongul capable of watching what happens in one of the most secure places on Earth, but he also has a way of getting in that Superman doesn't even know about.
This shows that the events of Future State: Superman: Worlds of War by Johnson, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Sharpe are well on their way to becoming true. In this possible future, Superman is trapped on Warworld as a slave in chains and is seemingly powerless, at least according to his captor. During his captivity, one of his aims seems to be to break the slaves' chains that present events show hold so much power on the planetoid. Nevertheless, the Man of Steel seems caught in an endless battle where he tries to save slaves from certain death in the arena, and he hardly ever succeeds.
Future State's bleak destiny for the Man of Steel is essentially the result of the Justice League's refusal to help in this issue. They're more concerned with staving off war than helping those under Mongul's thumb. Superman is destined to go it alone against Mongul with little chance of victory. Still, the Future Superman tries again and again, just as his present day iteration tries with the Kryptonian refugees. Superman will get justice for all of the slaves Mongul has tortured over the years, but it might take a lot longer than he expects.