WARNING: The following contains the elements that spoil the Future State: Harley Quinn # 1 by Stephanie Phillips, Simone Di Meo, Tamra Bonvillain and Alw’s Troy Peteri, on sale now.
Professor Pyg, also known as Lazlo Valentin, is a gruesome character with a complex psychology, and in Future State: Harley Quinn artist # 1 Simone Di Meo relives her face in terror. Although Lazlo maintains his current modus operandi in the future Gotham City, he exchanges his porcelain pig mask for a gas mask with rings.
Harley’s first profile is about Valentine. Crane gives you a quick breakdown of the « Professor’s » ravings and carnage; how he kidnaps the Magistrate’s officers and turns them into mutilated Dollotrons. His treatment of the Magistrate differs little from his normal plans, but when Harley intervenes, he corrects Crane and offers a more accurate perspective on Lazlo’s crimes.
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Harley explains that Lazlo sees himself as an obsessed artist, reaching a perfection he can never achieve and ranting against the Magistrate’s authority. His explanation offers Crane a new approach to capturing Professor Pyg: If the Magistrate attributes an imperfect crime to the villain, then it will be revealed to clarify that he only makes true art. Upon completion of his profile, the underline action reaches a critical point and the magistrate arrests Lazlo. Crane shares the pig mask with Harley as a trophy and they move on to their next case.
Pyg’s new look is his most notable change in Future State. Typically, Pyg wears a butcher’s apron, wields a kind of knife, and finishes it off with a porcelain pig mask. But instead of looking like it belongs on a tchotchke shelf, DeMid gives it a simple redesign. He keeps the butcher outfit and knives, but changes the facade for something more like a heavy gas mask. Huge gold rings hang from his ears and seep, making him look more like a huge pig than a mad scientist. The fangs also help in that regard.
Di Meo also gives Mother a new look, streamlining her on a panel. Now it looks more like a totem than a trash heap, made of tall black spikes and topped with a bleached skull. Phillips and Di Meo’s use of Pyg is intentional and sets the tone for Harley’s new job as a profiler. Lazlo Valentin’s first appearance was in Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s Batman # 666. # 666, as Future State, presents an alternate future, albeit much more macabre than the one seen here. Pyg also appears often with other villains, rarely headlining their own stories, as in Beware Batman and Batman: Arkham Knight.
The fact that Phillips and Di Meo only give him half a number maintains his reputation on the B list. But the fact that they dive deep into his psychology in a setting similar to that of his first appearance makes it clear that they understand his character. and the context that Future State has within Death Metal and everything else that happens in the DC Multiverse.