Finally after talking about it for a while now DC Comics finally unveiled the details of their upcoming Future State direction. Through their press release on Future State we learned that this will be a two month-long direction that will replace their normal slate of releases for January and February 2021. Based on all the information we are provided Future State looks to be what Jim Lee and the rest of DC’s editorial staff retooled the long teased Generations and 5G direction to become. Now let’s take a look at what DC Comics is doing with Future State and the family of titles that make up this direction
FRESH NEW TALENT LEADING DC COMICS FUTURE STATE
When looking at the solicitation for all the Future State comic books there are the recognizable names of Mariko Tamaki, Brian Michael Bendis, Gene Luen Yang, Joëlle Jones, Joshua Williamson, and Nicola Scott on several titles. But what really stood out was how many fresh names that are on all many of the Future State comics. That was very surprising to see since normally when it comes to directions like this DC Comics has tended to rely on well-known names to their audiences. You can see New 52 and Future’s End as an example of that.
One of the reasons that I did the recent Fantasy Publishing Line targeted to DC Comics was because the company has lacked new voices in their creative teams. We’ve seen far to often the same names on their big titles. But with this Future State direction DC Comics is opening up to bringing in new talent and trusting them to work on their Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Justice League titles. Having talent like Vita Ayala, John Ridley, Becky Cloonan, Sean Lewis, Brandon Thomas, Stephanie Phillips, and Tim Sheridan all come in to lend new voices to the DC Universe will be very refreshing. They have all shown to be very talented in their work over in Marvel, Image Comics, and other places.
Also, since this is a two month run for Future State it gives DC Comics the chance to use this as a test for all these creative teams to line up future projects for. Discovering new talent to work on their books will make DC a much stronger company as they develop their plans for 2021 and beyond. It also gives way for greater collaboration between the new and long-time talent to work together on DC Comics iconic characters together to create new, fun stories for fans to enjoy.
BATMAN FAMILY UNITED BUT SEPARATE
Future State is clearly a big shake up across the DC Universe as new faces are all around this direction. And it is no surprise that the Batman franchise is leading the way with someone new under the cape and cowl. Based on the solicitation and information we get from The Next Batman series the character is teased to be connected to Lucius Fox. Given that the new Batman is wearing a more Batwing style armor it does seem that it is likely Luke Fox who has picked up the mantle. Though there is the lesser known and talked about son of Lucius Fox in Tim Fox who could be under the cape and cowl. Either way it does seem like this new Batman is adopting a more Batman Beyond style look to the costume he is wearing.
Making things even more interesting is the fact that while the world thinks that Bruce Wayne is dead DC Comics does not hide the fact that Bruce is still alive. And based on the information we get about the new Magistrate threat that has taken over Gotham City it seems like something will take place early on in Future State for Bruce to return as a new version of Batman as well. Unlike The Next Batman, Bruce’s Batman costume gives off more Zero Year vibes as it is styled after how Greg Capullo drew the character.
Bruce’s return and the new Batman could all play a role as to why the rest of the Batman Family are as active as they are during the time Future State begins. Throughout the solicitations for Nightwing, Robin Eternal, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn mini-series we are given the idea that there is some unity within the Batman Family as they are all fighting against the Magistrate threat. That is further shown with the back-ups that are in both Next Batman and Dark Detective featuring Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown as Batgirls and Jason Todd’s Red Hood.
On that note it did stand out that out of all the Batman Family characters that we are shown to be active in Future State that Barbara Gordon’s name is left out in all the solicitations. There is no mention of her as Batgirl, Batwoman, or Oracle in any of the solicitations. Which brings to question if she ended up falling at some point leading up to the timeline in Future State to the Magistrate. Or it could be that Barbara did re-adopt her Oracle persona and is the one that will be helping the Batman Family since each member’s story seems to be about a mission they were each given.
SUPERMAN AND WONDER WOMAN NEVER ENDING FIGHTS
Like Bruce Wayne, it looks as though something also happens to take Clark Kent and Diana Prince off the board in terms of them being the lead Superman and Wonder Woman, respectively, in this universe. For Superman, it looks like DC is leaning into the ramifications of Clark revealing his identity as the reason for why he was forced off Earth. Based on what we learn about Clark’s adventures in Warworld it looks like whatever happened to Clark it has caused him to adopt a Superman costume that is identical to his Kingdom Come suit. Which brings to question what tragedies Clark went through to get a costume that takes inspiration from the Kingdom Come universe.
While Clark is forced off world it is interesting that his son, Jon Kent, was allowed to adopt being Earth’s Superman without repercussions. Though that could bring into play of how Jon as Superman takes it upon himself to bottle up Metropolis for his own reasons. That is a big Brainiac-style move for Jon to take. Making things even more serious is the fact that this will put him into conflict with his aunt. Having Superman and Supergirl on opposing sides does make for an intriguing family conflict especially with Brainiac and Lex Luthor out doing their own things during this time as well.
Like her fellow Trinity members, Diana Prince also looks to be taken off the board as she is positioned to face off against Darkseid in her Immortal Wonder Woman series. What stands out from this is her design that is featured on the covers. In particular it looks like Wonder Woman is wearing a Kryptonite necklace and one of Batman’s utility belts as part of her costume. Which does seem to indicate that there is more to what the Trinity are doing in this Future State direction. Though it could also mean that Diana is more cut off from her fellow heroes as the solicitation mentions not many heroes remaining from her era of Age of Heroes.
With Diana off on her own adventures a new Wonder Woman rises Yara Flor, who is an Amazon based in Brazil. Taking Future State as an opportunity to explore how the Amazons don’t all reside on Themyscira is something that I have been hoping that the main Wonder Woman series would tackle for a while. Expanding on the concept of the Amazons to include a group in South America gives way new possibilities in the mythology around Wonder Woman. The design for Yara Flor’s Wonder Woman also pops as being unique and different while still retaining elements from Diana, Donna Troy, and Cassandra Sandsmark costumes.
JUSTICE LEAGUE LEADS NEW FUTURE STATE TEAMS
The final family of titles that encompasses the Future State direction is all the comics that fall under the Justice League. That includes Justice League, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, and Swamp Thing. As a fan the one title in this group that immediately stood out was The Flash for the fact that the torture of Wally West just seems to continue in Future State. From the moment he returned in DC Rebirth Wally just cannot catch a break whatsoever as we learn that in The Flash he will be positioned as an antagonist the rest of the Flash Family fight. It’s disappointing that Wally’s sole direction since being brought back is how to make the character suffer more after spending so many decades establishing himself as Flash in pre-New 52.
Outside of that we do see with the Justice League book we’ll be having the new generation of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquawoman, Flash, and Green Lantern forming the team. Based on the cover the Green Lantern for this new Justice League looks to be Jo Mullein as DC starts to integrate her into the greater DC Universe. It’ll be fun to see what this new generation of Justice League members dynamic is and who takes the lead.
What’ll make this new Justice League team even more intriguing is if we end up seeing them come into conflict with the Suicide Squad, who very much look to be the Dark Justice League. We know that Conner Kent is leading the Suicide Squad that features their own versions of Batman and Wonder Woman. Given that he is the only one not mentioned in the Batman Family solicitations it would not be surprising if the Batman in Suicide Squad turns out to be Damian Wayne based on appearance.
The other Justice League Family title that stood out from these solicitations was Teen Titans. For this mini-series it looks like DC Comics is going back to what is the iconic version of the team with Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven. Though I do wonder when this Teen Titans book takes place since the Nightwing on the cover has a different costume to the more armored Arkham Knight-style suit he is wearing in his solo mini-series. In addition to that we are also getting the introduction of Red X who was first part of the original Teen Titans cartoon. This could be another stop where Damian Wayne is Red X or some other character that is brand new.
Source: DC Comics
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