“Vermin” – Chapter Two
Writers: Gene Luen Yang
Artists: Ben Oliver, Scott McDaniel, and Stephen Segovia
Color Artists: Arif Prianto
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Review by Bryant Lucas
It’s Dark Knight to the rescue, as the Man of Steel goes under the knife in this week’s Future State: Batman/Superman #2.
While investigating a new street drug called the False Face Serum – a narcotic that transforms a human heads into animal ones – Superman is captured by a frog-faced man wielding kryptonite. When Batman arrives on the scene, he’s faced with an octopus-goat-boar chimera (yeah, you read that correctly).
A Fan-Favorite Returns
Last month, I lambasted Future State: Batman/Superman #1, arguing that the False Face Serum was a stupid concept. While I stand by my previous statement, I will say that this drug makes more sense after reading this week’s issue, as Gene Luen Yang reveals the villain behind this bizarre narcotic. This fan-favorite villain is a relatively new addition to Batman’s rogues’ gallery, and is known for human experimentation.
So let me put it this way – if the False Face Serum hadn’t been introduced as a street narcotic willingly taken by individuals in order to ensure anonymity, then I wouldn’t have had a problem with the concept. The False Face Serum would have made way more sense if it had been introduced as something like “Venom”, which could be used to alter an individual’s strength and abilities. The idea of an army of chimera henchmen doped up on the False Face Serum is actually kinda cool.
Ole Ben Oliver Drew a Farm…
The art for this issue will have you singing “E-I-E-I-O… S~!+! Seriously, the art in this issue is bananas. Ben Oliver, Scott McDaniel and Stephen Segovia do a great job drawing horrific human-animal amalgams. These are the images of a child’s nightmare drawn in a delightfully detailed manner. Between an Octo-ram-boar and a Hog-head-handed-human, there’s enough fodder here to give the most cynical of readers the heebie-jeebies.
Also, Arif Prianto’s colors once again serve as a fantastic compliment to the line-art, and script. Considering the issue’s animal-horror theme, Prianto’s grey-scale reinforces the dark, animal instincts of the story’s villain as well as the oppressive and pervasive nature of the Magistrate. Again – Prianto’s colors add to the aforementioned “heebie-jeebie” effect.
While far from perfect, Future State: Batman/Superman #2 is an improvement from last month’s offering, as Yang’s creative choices make more sense in light of this week’s villain reveal. Nevertheless, the False Face Serum could have been handled a bit better overall.
Art-wise, Oliver and team have, once again, knocked it out of the park, as the issue’s aesthetics capture the terror of Future State Gotham.
Final Verdict: A bounce back is better than an utter flop.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment