Simone Di Meo is a rising star, quickly becoming one of the most interesting line artists with his work in We Only Find Them When They’re Dead. The angles, panel shapes, and layouts all demonstrate a creator who succeeds at delivering work that’s different from most, someone who, again, is quickly gaining in skill and popularity.
My question going into this issue was: is he enough to sell me on this issue?
And to be fair, the answer isn’t no, but it’s still only kinda.
Di Meo’s art here is very cool. His style is perfect for the story being told, and looks great over Dan Mora’s Harley design. However, he has some quirks that don’t work for me.
The extreme closeups on stuff is the main one, but I also don’t like the black gutters, especially reading digitally, which is how I typically read comics. It makes panels bleed together in a way that makes it hard for me to read, which is exacerbated by reading digitally, for whatever reason.
The best example of this is probably the double page spread in the issue. It’s eight tall and skinny panels where Harley is narrating over events, or at least I think that’s what it is. The problem is at least partly due to the colors, but with the angles and staging in each panel, I’m not sure the coloring could have helped the situation too much. They aren’t ugly pages by any means — they are often beautiful! — they’re just hard to understand.
Even still, this feels like a star finding their footing more than anything else, and it will be a joy to watch develop. And I do think some of these issues would be helped by getting a print copy, so, if you want to read this comic, head to your shop.
As for the actual story…it’s fine? I like the situation Harley’s in — it feels like a fun twist in the normal Batman/Commissioner relationship, but this issue feels way too compressed for what happens in it. For Harley to go from where she’s at to where she ends up in 20 pages is a bit ridiculous to me.
But even then, part of my problem is the depiction of Harley herself. It’s not bad by any means, but it feels off. Comparisons aren’t always extremely helpful, but I vastly prefer most of the chapters of Harley Quinn Black + White + Red to the version here. Here she feels lacking in personality, which I wouldn’t mind as much if I felt like there were enough runway for future stories to play with. As it stands, this feels like pretty much any character could take Harley’s place and the story would be exactly the same.
It also doesn’t feel like it’s really using the Future State status quo to its full potential, which again, is fine, but feels like a missed opportunity to me.
This comic was fine. It had mostly above-average art with some hiccups, and a mostly forgettable story with a fun twist on a classic relationship. In a few years, the thing I’ll remember about this issue is that I got to talk about what a star Simone Di Mio was gonna be before he was one, and I think that’s worth it. Definitely not the best that Future State has to offer, and if it’s the worst, then the event will be a great success.
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