Future State: Wonder Woman #1 review: Dazzling Yara Flor takes over the mantle

DC Comics is going pretty far afield with its current project, Future State, a series of stories set in possible futures for the DC Universe following the events of Dark Knights: Death Metal. While many of these series feature familiar characters like Harley Quinn and Nightwing, Future State: Wonder Woman #1 introduces an entirely new version of the hero in the year 2050.

Yara Flor is the daughter of an Amazonian warrior and a Brazilian river god, making her DC’s first Latina hero with her own comic. In the absence of Diana Prince, the original Wonder Woman, Yara has become the champion of the Amazon’s home of Themyscira.

Her first adventure centers on an Orpheus-and-Eurydice-style plot to venture into the underworld and rescue one of her fellow Amazons from the clutches of Hades. The mission proves Yara is more than worthy of the mantle, and taking the series in an exciting new direction.

WHO IS MAKING FUTURE STATE: WONDER WOMAN #1?

Yara Flor swipes at a hydra head, which makes a big WA-SCHLOOP sound

Image: Joëlle Jones/DC Comics

Future State: Wonder Woman is led by writer and artist Joëlle Jones, who first truly established her talent in 2015 with the Eisner Award-nominated limited series Lady Killer, which was published by Dark Horse Comics. She made the move to work exclusively with DC Comics in 2016, illustrating issues of Supergirl and Batman before taking over both drawing and writing Catwoman in 2018.

Jones’ new book shows off the full range of her talents, with panels full of witty dialogue and absurd scenarios that ground Yara in a more mythical world than typical superhero comics. Her imagery of monsters and gods is detailed and often contrasted with softer backdrops that give the impression of a background layout.

That effect is heightened by the mix of bright hues and pastels provided by Eisner-nominated colorist Jordie Bellaire (The Wake). Her work on the violet, pink, and gray scales of a hydra is particularly striking. Eisner-nominated letterer Clayton Cowles (Daredevil) is doing heavy work with a variety of styles representing the noises of a pegasus, a demonic receptionist making small talk, and an angry, dead sumo wrestler.

WHAT IS FUTURE STATE: WONDER WOMAN #1 ABOUT?

An unknown and cryptic narrator tells the tale of Yara Flor, a hero capable of navigating both the worlds of the gods and humanity, which have become increasingly distant over time. The narrator seems pretty skeptical of her credentials besides being born at exactly the right time, and that’s an understandable criticism because Yara seems like a hothead who doesn’t think her plans through and has a strong tendency to get into trouble.

Set in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, the story shows Yara killing a hydra to use its horn to threaten Hades into releasing her sister warrior. She’s also assisted by Caipora, a figure from Brazilian mythology who rides a peccary as she prevents poaching.

WHY IS FUTURE STATE: WONDER WOMAN HAPPENING NOW?

Yara Flor faces 7 hydra heads, which look like cat dragons

Image: Joëlle Jones/DC Comics

Future State: Wonder Woman kicked off on Jan. 5 as part of DC’s larger Future State event running through February. Additional versions of Wonder Woman are also happening as part of the event including Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1, which depicts an older version of Diana Prince “at the end of time.”

Yara will also be appear in Future State: Justice League #1 and in Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1, both of which release on Jan. 12. In fact, DC is so confident in the future of the character that a new Wonder Girl series headlined by Yara is in development as part of CW’s lineup of superhero shows.

IS THERE ANY REQUIRED READING?

Only a vague awareness of who Wonder Woman is and a bit of grounding in mythology. Given that Yara will cross over with Superman and the rest of the Justice League, you might want to read a fair bit of the other Future State comics to keep up with how their stories intersect.

IS FUTURE STATE: WONDER WOMAN #1 GOOD?

This issue is excellent, showing the wild potential of Wonder Woman taken out of familiar territory. The effect is reminiscent of the particularly zany stories in Jason Aaron’s Thor run, with Greek and Brazilian mythological pantheons mashing together in the modern world. For instance, the part of the underworld where souls are sorted into their appropriate afterlives manifests as an airport with dead people hanging around in a way highly reminiscent of the waiting room in Beetlejuice.

The idea of Wonder Woman serving as a go-between for the realms of man and gods, combined with the quirky characters she encounters and Yara’s general vibe, makes the issue feel reminiscent of The Legend of Korra. Yara seems to revel in her power and is not one for subtle solutions even when they might be the best way to get out of a sticky situation. She’s having fun fighting beings of legends, and that enthusiasm pops out in the pages thanks to the stunning fight scenes. She does unfortunately embody the fiery Latina stereotype but hopefully we’ll see a bit more depth to her character in future stories.

Yara Flor ropes Caipora, a tiny redheaded nymph girl who apologizes for trying to kill the new Wonder Woman

Image: Joëlle Jones/DC Comics

Adding to The Legend of Korra similarities is Yara’s stubborn pegasus companion Jerry, who spends most of her initial fight scene studiously ignoring her increasingly desperate yelling. Pets have been a typically pretty cheesy element of superhero comics since the ‘50s and Jerry seems like a specific homage to Disney’s 1997 Hercules. But he also adds to the generally goofy vibe that’s refreshingly different from the typically more serious and dutiful Diana.

The dialogue is witty, particularly the banter between Yara and the mischievous Caipora, and there are a huge number of clever touches in character design, like Yara using bolas instead of Diana’s traditional lasso.

DC’s clearly betting big on Yara, but her debut shows tremendous promise. It’s a glimpse at a new version of Wonder Woman that’s grounded in modern fantasy as much as superhero comics, providing ammo for a huge number of thrilling new stories.

One panel that popped

Yara Flor and Caipora meet a demon in Hades who sits at a desk using a computer

Image: Joëlle Jones/DC Comics

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long added to this report.