Warning: contains spoilers for Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2
Though he is an alien, Superman’s humanity makes him heroic. He might not have been born on Earth, but it is the only home he’s ever known, which is why he goes to such great lengths to protect it. But what does it mean to be Superman at the end of it all? When humanity is long gone and Earth is but a charred husk, what will the Last Son of Krypton do? In Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 it becomes apparent that even when there’s no one left to save, Superman is still willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to do what’s right.
Taking place at the very end of not just Future State, but the DC Universe, Immortal Wonder Woman sees Diana dealing with a threat that is impossible to defeat the Undoing. This destructive force is unmaking the universe, one planet at a time, and before it moves to Earth, it devours Apokolips. Big Barda and Orion beg Darkseid to do something, anything to fight against the unrelenting forces destroying their home. Having not changed the tiniest bit in the 100,000 year gap since readers last saw him, he only flies away and observes his planet’s destruction from afar, noting that the Undoing must be the Anti-Life equation itself. With nowhere else to go and nothing else to do, the former Lord of Apokolips flies to the only planet with survivors left; Earth.
As one of the few mortals remaining, an older Superman charges Darkseid. The two brawl until they both fall to Themyscira, where the remaining Amazons launch an assault. Without hesitation, Darkseid obliterates them with his Omega Beams, killing the last of Diana’s sisters. Never one to give up, Superman lands a solid blow on Darkseid, who takes Superman by the neck. Diana tries to intervene, but is only beaten down for her troubles. Realizing that Wonder Woman is the last living memory of Earth, Clark makes one last sacrifice. He picks Darkseid up and flies the both of them directly into the sun, killing the both of them and leaving Diana as the only living creature in the entire universe.
Immortal Wonder Woman by writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad as well as artist Jen Bartel is an immediate standout among Future State titles and this moment exemplifies why. At the very end of the universe, when all pretenses have faded, readers are given something rarely seen from DC’s Trinity; vulnerability. Both Wonder Woman and Superman are incredibly strong and brave throughout the two-issue series, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to cry, aren’t allowed to bear the loss of everything they’ve ever known. Though Superman’s sacrifice does wound Diana immensely, it doesn’t break her, as she is shown to live centuries after her battle with Darkseid, truly the last light in the DC Universe. Last issue Batman’s ghost confess to Diana that she was the DC Universe’s heart, and this shows that in spite of everything, she still is.
There’s a scene where Diana wonders whether Superman thought of her as he sacrificed himself. She eventually decides that no, he wouldn’t have, his only thought would be for the Earth, for the dying planet which he’d called home for so long. In one view it is a sad moment, but in another light, it’s the perfect end. Even when no hope was left in the universe, Superman still manages to be a hero.