WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Electric Warriors #1 by Steve Orlando, Travel Foreman, and Hi-Fi, in stores now.
Electric Warriors, the six-issue miniseries from writer Steve Orlando and artist Travel Foreman, takes place in a previously unexplored span of time in the DC Universe's future. The year is 2735, and Earth has just overcome what comic book fans know as the Great Disaster. The adventures of Kamandi are over, and the Legion of Super-Heroes is still centuries away.
In the first issue of the series, we're not just introduced to War Cry and Deep Dweller of Earth, but also the grand bureaucratic process that has been conceived to keep the universe from destroying itself. By the end of the book, we learn that not everything is as it seems, and a familiar face sits on a shadowy seat of power -- but how is this possible?
A New Order in an Unfamiliar Universe
On this version of Earth, the Age of Heroes we know as the present day is something between history and legend. The Justice League is long gone, but stories about them still exist. Mankind is free from hundreds of years in servitude, and now it is ready to compete with the tribes of intelligent animals that have ruled over the planet for a long, long time. In order to show what it's capable of to the universe at large, humanity must put forth an Electric Warrior, a gladiator to the stars.
In the future, war has been eliminated. In its place are gladiator battles designed to solve political differences between worlds without endless bloodshed. Each member planet of the United Planets send a representative -- an Electric Warrior -- to Covenant in Sector 666 to fight on behalf of their world. Some say it is a high honor to be chosen, others consider it a death sentence.
Planets are given one Electric Seed apiece in order to gift their champion with incredible powers. But Earth, as we know, is often unique. The division between animal kingdom and humankind has led to the successful petition to allow two Electric Warriors from Earth. They are Deep Dweller of the Octopus Tribe, and War Cry, representing humanity. Though Kana of the Animalfolk sees this as an honor, Ian Navarro believes it to be a fate worse than death.
A Familiar Face Emerges From Shadow
Presiding over these great gladiator games is the Gil'Dishpan, an alien race longtime DC fans should be familiar with. With no real horse in this race, they act as independent arbitrators who set the rules and monitor the results of these battles. Though everything appears to be straightforward at first, by the end of the issue we learn that there may be a hand manipulating the universe from the shadows.
As a new Season of Diplomacy is scheduled to begin again, it is revealed that there is a single person in power behind the scenes. This Preceptor, as his title implies, is tasked with keeping the laws and processes of Covenant in order, but he doesn't exactly seem to have much of a public face. Where you might have expected someone with a history of manipulating events from behind the scenes, the last page reveals that Firestorm, the Nuclear Man is the most powerful man in the universe.
This revelations leaves us with more questions than answers. How is Firestorm here in the future, hundreds of years after he was a superhero on Earth. It appears he was around for the fall of mankind, but what happened that prevented him from interfering? What combination of Ronnie Raymond, Jason Rusch and Martin Stein is this? The character's appearance doesn't make it clear, so he really could be of the three -- if not all, or even none.
Finally, what is Firestorm planning? Despite his time as a hero in his own time, he doesn't look to be up to any good in the future. He appears to be bitter about what happened to Earth, so what will this powerful superhuman be capable of in such a prominent seat of power? Electric Warriors could change the way we see this former hero forever.