DC storylines took a little break at the beginning of the year to bring us an amazing series of a *potential* future. Future State gives readers an insight into the superhero universe if the “magistrate” is introduced into Gotham.
What Is Future State?
2020 ended off with many of Gotham’s vigilantes entering a new era in one way or another. From Damian Wayne putting an end to his reign as Robin to Dick Grayson finally putting an end to Ric and bringing back Nightwing, there were several exciting events leaving fans begging for more action. One significant event not to be overlooked is the introduction to the newest mayor.
Mayor Nakano points out one of the controversial points in the universe many criticize about the Gotham scene. The introduction of caped crusaders had great intentions but consequences on the villains. Sure, Batman fights crime but also introduces some new, more masked enemies to join in the “game.”
The Batfamily had their disagreements with Gotham Police Department for some time, but Nakano’s entire platform is based around ending masked vigilantes once and for all. His platform divides Gotham between the people who stand with his efforts to “clean up Gotham” and the vigilante supporters who think Batman and his crew are just doing what is good.
Future State sets us in the future where extreme measures to ban vigilantes led to a disturbing dystopia in Gotham that was explored through several different special character runs. Of course, Future State was not all about Gotham, but some of the most notable moments came from the Batfamily.
Now that it’s over, it’s time to look back on Future State’s best Batfamily moments!
Bruce Wayne’s New Life
The scene is set after the “death” of Bruce Wayne that all fans knew not to trust. Like with many of his other lethal encounters, Bruce managed to survive using his cunning skills and physical prowess. Bruce Wayne’s death is publicly announced, and he lets it end that way. Peacekeepers, the Magistrate’s army to battle just about anyone, wanted him dead for a reason.
The Peacekeepers keep talking about how they “killed Batman,” and many are left to believe that they knew who Wayne’s alter ego was all along. Through the Dark Detective issues, we follow Bruce as he tries to take down the Magistrate the best way he can.
Without any access to funds and a disturbing lack of any privacy, he is forced to take residence with a “deranged” doomsday prepper, Noah. It’s a stark difference from his old living arrangements, and you can tell Batman is doing everything he can to try to do his part without being noticed.
The Oracle Goes Online
The Magistrate monitors every part of everything in Gotham by using a lot of 24-hour surveillance tech. Who better to combat the tyranny than the Oracle herself? Unfortunately, she is missing from the start (although she is shown among Nightwing’s active comrades).
The Magistrate kidnapped her, bringing her to prison just like all the other “criminals.” Unlike characters like The Spoiler and Poison Ivy, Babs is locked away in a secret room, only free with Cassandra Cain (a.k.a. The Orphan) finds her.
She breaks out Gordon, who is able to free the inmates enough to start a large prison riot. It’s exciting to see so many villains and heroes working together. It ends with The Oracle going back online and sending out a message to everyone – right before finally having a heartwarming moment with Nightwing that had all DickBabs fans cheering.
Tim Drake’s Death
Tim Drake is a fan favorite, Robin, who was the Robin Eternal series’s main character. Fans knew right from the preview that we were going to see time die (again), and he would be resuscitated moments later with superhuman skills.
A team-up with Stephanie Brown (a.k.a. The Spoiler) was something fans were looking forward to since the previews came out. However intense his fighting and death scene was, he actually offered us the most insight into what the Batfamily was up to.
He talks about how he has to take down the Magistrate for the safety of his family, mentioning things about key characters like Jason Todd, Dick Grayson, and Damian Wayne.
Harley- Scarecrow Team-Up
Harley rose to popularity since her debut on Batman: The Animated Series. The fun-loving psychologist often finds herself walking a thin line between villain and semi-vigilante. Weirdly enough, she is not the only psychologist in the DC universe finding themselves on the opposite side of the law a little too often.
It’s hinted that The Scarecrow will play a major role in the upcoming comic series. It’s not so surprising that he ended up in the cast of Future State. What was surprising was that he came to Harley for help in an effort to try to find masked villains still in hiding. It was fun to see them working together, and it ended on a very satisfying note.
Harley- Scarecrow was not the only interesting team-up in Future State. Many reading the Teen Titan’s take on Future State noticed a significant costume change of the former Robin.
Dick Grayson somehow combined the classic Nightwing uniform with Deathstroke. Considering the long and bloody history, Dick Grayson had with Slade during his entire superhero career, it was shocking to see him playing homage like that.
Of course, this was not the same uniform he wore for his other appearances in Future State, where he wore an altered version of the black and blue Nightwing uniform. Many fans were left begging for more details as we were really teased over what happened to make him do that.
The New Batman
Many were surprised they didn’t; instead, see Dick, once again, donning his mentor’s cowl. After the “murder” of Bruce Wayne, the mantle of Batman was kind of up for grabs. Surprisingly, none of Batman’s mentors stood up to the plate (not that they weren’t already doing their part).
When released covers showed that the Future State Batman was a person of color, many speculated it to be Luke Fox (a.k.a. Batwing). Many were surprised when it was revealed that his estranged brother, Tim Fox, would be taking the mantle. Despite obvious protests of the original Batfamily, Tim did the mantle proudly and had some amazing storylines and character interactions.
Tim wasn’t the only new addition to the vigilante squad as we got a sneak peek into Catwoman’s crew of child vigilantes. Selina Kyle was as cool as ever, having an entire army of children and defying all odds to save them (and Bruce!). There was even a surprise team-up with Thalia, which was well written.
While she does successfully reunite with her ex-fiancé, their passion is short-lived as he insists he’ll find her again.
Red X’s Comic Debut
Someone fans never thought they’d see again was Red X! Anyone who watched the animated run of the Teen Titans back in the 2000s remembers the complicated arc of Robin, Slade, and Red X. While most characters in the series were more child-friendly versions of DC comic characters, Red X made his debut on the series.
He was a hit with fans who always hoped he would make his way into the comics one day. Fans can rejoice that after all these years, he finally did it in the Teen Titans series, and it seems we will be seeing more of him. All we know so far is he is a hero-in-training at Titan’s academy and inadvertently did something that betrayed everyone.
Red Hood’s Betrayal
No stranger to betrayal, Jason Todd is a complicated character who was always a little more rebellious than the other Robins. Since his revival, he’s had several different roles as both a hero and villain to the Batfamily. As Tim Drake stated in Robin Eternal, Jason Todd Betrayed the Batfamily and actually worked for the Magistrate.
Although it seems everyone sees it as backstabbing, we can’t help but wonder what really happened to get him there and what he was really up to. His insistence on not killing and the fact he was betrayed by the Magistrate, in the end, leave readers feeling like things are not so straightforward.
Bruce Wayne’s son was also vaguely mentioned in Tim Drake’s monologue. By mentioned, we mean just that. Instead of saying anything about what he was up to or what he did, he simply said something along the lines of: “So much has gone wrong; Bruce is dead, Nightwing is battling in Arkham, Jason betrayed us, and…. Damian is…..”
Between killing again and the whole incident with Jon where people who lived in the future referred to him as “little Hitler,” there were many speculations that he was behind the Magistrate. Specifically, there are many hints that he is Peacekeeper #1.
While readers spent the whole series scouring the comics for answers, we never got one. Essentially, we know he exists somewhere but did not make a single named appearance. We may just have to live with not knowing forever as the series is already over, and we never got answers.
What Does Future State Mean For the Future of Gotham?
Future State was just a DC-wide special of a possibility in the timeline. The stories are in no way canon. However, they do highlight some disturbing details to look out for. The storylines were mere glimpses that were never even finalized. However, they did set the scene for things to look out for in Infinite Frontier.
What were your favorite Future State runs? Let us know in the comments below!