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DC Comics is launching 2021 with a massive, ambitious trip into its future. The publisher announced Thursday that it will begin next year with Future State, a line-wide publishing event that will feature a huge array of miniseries and one-shots that will take its various heroes and villains, including brand-new characters, into "futures both near and far."
Future State will begin in the wake of the DC's current massive event, Dark Nights: Death Metal, which "has shaken loose the very fabric of time and space," giving the publisher a chance to explore an "glimpse into the unwritten worlds of DC's future." That means that for two months at the beginning of next year, we're going to jump ahead to see what the next generation of DC's heroes and iconic locations might look like.
“The DC Universe has always been fertile ground for new and refreshing takes on our characters, and DC Future State definitely contributes to this legacy,” said DC Executive Editor Marie Javins said in a statement. “When the event begins in January, some savvy readers will not only pick up on some of the breadcrumbs that have already been tossed out in our current titles, but they will also find new hints and clues of what’s to come in 2021.”
Current DC Comics storylines will hit the pause button in January to accommodate Future State's massive publishing line-up, which will be split into stories covering the Batman Family, the Superman Family, and the Justice League Family. The talent involved in each Future State book will be a mix of current DC talent — including Brian Michael Bendis, Mariko Tamaki, and Joshua Williamson — and "new voices from the worlds of TV, movies and animation" including John Ridley, Brandon Easton, and Paula Sevenbergen. The DC storylines occupying the current books will pick up again in March.
So, what does this all look like in terms of setting? Well, the Batman Family books take place in a future version of Gotham City under the control of The Magistrate, a surveillance state regime that has killed Batman and outlawed masked heroes. But of course, that just leaves room for a new Batman to rise. Here are the titles and teams for that group of stories.
Future State: The Next Batman #1-4
- The Next Batman, by John Ridley, Nick Derington and Laura Braga
- Outsiders, by Brandon Thomas and Sumit Kumar
- Arkham Knights, by Paul Jenkins and Jack Herbert
- Batgirls, by Vita Ayala and Aneke
- Gotham City Sirens, by Paula Sevenbergen and Emanuela Lupacchino
Future State: Dark Detective #1-4
Dark Detective, by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora
Grifters, by Matthew Rosenberg and Carmine di Giandomenico
Red Hood, by Joshua Williamson and Giannis Milonogiannis
Future State: Batman/Superman, by Gene Luen Yang and Ben Oliver
Future State: Catwoman, by Ram V and Otto Schmidt
Future State: Harley Quinn, by Stephanie Phillips and Simone Di Meo
Future State: Nightwing, by Andrew Constant and Nicola Scott
Future State: Robin Eternal, by Meghan Fitzmartin and Eddy Barrows
In Superman's family of titles, Clark Kent has been "rejected by Earth," leaving him to take his gifts to other planets like Warworld to fight the good fight while his son Jon becomes the new Superman. At the same time, the world gets a new Wonder Woman in the form of Yara Flor, who will one-day join forces with Jon Kent for a powerful new team-up. Here's the list of titles for that block of stories.
Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1-2
- Superman of Metropolis, by Sean Lewis and John Timms
- The Guardian, by Sean Lewis and Cully Hamner
- Mister Miracle, by Brandon Easton and Valentine De Landro
Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1-4
- Superman: Worlds of War, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Mikel Janin
- Midnighter, by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Gleb Melnikov
- Black Racer, by Jeremy Adams and Siya Oum
- Mister Miracle, by Brandon Easton and Valentine De Landro
Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1-2
- Immortal Wonder Woman, by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Jen Bartel
- Nubia, by L.L. McKinney, Alitha E. Martinez and Mark Morales
Monthly Miniseries and One-Shots
Future State: House of El, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Scott Godlewski (one-shot on sale February)
Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman, by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage
Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes, by Brian Michael Bendis and Riley Rossmo
Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman, by Dan Watters and Leila del Duca
Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex, by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh (3-issue series ending March 2021)
Future State: Wonder Woman, by Joëlle Jones
The Justice League Family will, of course, feature various new versions of League heroes, but the plot sounds even more ambitious. Here's how DC's press release describes it:
"For Flash, Shazam, and the Teen Titans, it all begins when the four Riders of the Apocalypse unleash hell in a battle at Titans Academy, Barry Allen is cut off from the Speed Force, a Famine-controlled Wally West may be beyond saving, and Billy Batson makes a deal with the devil that will change Shazam forever. Off-world, John Stewart and the remaining Green Lanterns are stranded in the shadow of a dead power battery; Jackson Hyde and Andy Curry are separated across the galaxy; and Amanda Waller executes her ultimate plan with a new but terrifyingly familiar Suicide Squad on Earth-3.
"At the end of time, Swamp Thing reveals its true intention, ruling supreme until a remnant of humanity launches a rebellion, and Black Adam looks to the past as the only way to save the future of the Multiverse."
Here are the titles that will make up that massive effort.
Future State: Justice League #1-2
- Justice League, by Joshua Williamson and Robson Rocha
- Justice League Dark, by Ram V and Marcio Takara
Future State: Green Lantern #1-2
- Last Lanterns, by Geoffrey Thorne and Tom Raney
- Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, by Josie Campbell, Ryan Cady and Ernie Altbacker, with Sami Basri and Clayton Henry
Future State: Suicide Squad #1-2
- Suicide Squad, by Robbie Thompson and Javi Fernandez
- Black Adam, by Jeremy Adams and Fernando Pasarin
Future State: Aquaman, by Brandon Thomas and Daniel Sampere
Future State: The Flash, by Brandon Vietti and Dale Eaglesham
Future State: Teen Titans, by Tim Sheridan and Rafa Sandoval
Future State: SHAZAM!, by Tim Sheridan and Eduardo Pansica
Future State: Swamp Thing, by Ram V and Mike Perkins
For more on Future State, including lots more cover art, head over to DC's website.
So, beginning next year DC Comics is launching a massive new effort that hopes to appeal to both new readers and old, something that seems to have grown out of the long-discussed idea to deliver a new generation of heroes and a new DC timeline, but which doesn't make that necessarily permanent. What are the implications of this timeline on the "present" of the DC Universe when it returns in March? How many of these creative teams will stick around in the wake of Future State? Will more Future State-set stories follow? We can only guess for the moment, but strap in, because one thing we know for sure is that this trip to the future will definitely be a wild ride.