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The DC Universe is taking a giant leap into the future

DC Comics’ next event, Future State, launches in January

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

DC Comics will mark the beginning of 2021 with a bold move: Hitting pause on the present day of the DC Universe to spend two months exploring a strange new future. Across a slate of dozens of one-shots, miniseries, and over-sized anthology issues, we’ll get a new Batman, a new Superman, a new Wonder Woman, and new, well, almost everyone.

In Gotham, Bruce Wayne is dead, and an all new, “probably” POC Batman steps up to save the city. In Metropolis, Jon Kent steps into the boots of Superman after his father is exiled to space. And in the Amazon rainforest, a new Wonder Woman is chosen by the gods. This potential future seems to have its beginnings in the yet-unpublished finale of DC’s current cosmos-shattering crossover event, Dark Nights: Death Metal, which will conclude on Jan. 5, 2021.

“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 Marie Javins, DC’s executive editor, in a press release. “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.”

But what about DC’s main line of books? They’ll resume in March, resuming their usual storylines and introducing new ones — likely a few that reference Future State events. Some Future State books even appear to spin directly out of current events in DC books. Aquaman, for example, appears to feature a teen version of Aquaman and Mera’s currently-toddler daughter.

Future State’s artist lineup — its Future Slate, you might say — is nothing to sneeze at either, including Mariko Tamaki, Brian Michael Bendis, Gene Luen Yang, Joëlle Jones, Joshua Williamson, Nicola Scott, and John Ridley.

What’s on the future slate of Future State?

DC has organized the books in to three sections: Batman, Superman, and the Justice League.

“In this future, Gotham City is controlled by the Magistrate,” reads DC’s news release. “This villainous regime has taken control of the city, now under constant surveillance. All masked vigilantes have been outlawed and Batman has been killed. But led by an all-new Batman, a new assembly of Gotham’s guardians rise to give hope to all of those who lost it!”

The “Batman Family” line will include two, four-issue anthology series, featuring John Ridley and Nick Derington on Batman, Vita Ayala and Aneke on the Batgirls, Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora on a “Dark Detective” story, among others. The line will also include monthly miniseries like Gene Luen Yang and Ben Oliver’s Batman/Superman, Stephanie Phillips and Simone Di Meo’s Harley Quinn, and Andrew Constant and Nicola Scott’s Nightwing, among others. That’s right: Nicola Scott’s Nightwing!

“Due to his involvement in an international crisis happening in the near future, Clark Kent has been rejected by Earth,” DC’s press release says of Superman, “causing him to focus his lifesaving efforts outside his adopted home. He travels to Warworld to rise through the ranks of gladiatorial combat in order to defeat Mongul with the help of some unlikely heroes. Back in Metropolis, Clark’s son Jon has taken on the mantle of Superman. After seeing the horrors that befell Gotham, he bottles Metropolis in order to keep it safe, putting him at odds with Supergirl.”

The “Superman Family” line will also feature Shilo Norman as a new Mister Miracle, Yara Flor as a new Wonder Woman from “the Amazon rainforest.” Its three anthology series will feature Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad Midnighter and Wonder Woman stories, L.L. McKinney, Alitha E. Martinez and Mark Morales’ Nubia, and more. Monthly miniseries will include Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage’s Superwoman, starring Kara Zor-El; Brian Michael Bendis and Riley Rossmo’s Legion of Superheroes; Dan Watters and Leila del Duca’s Superman/Wonder Woman, Mark Russell and Steve Pugh’s Superman vs. Imperious Lex, and Joëlle Jones’ Wonder Woman.

The third pillar of Future State is “Justice League Family.” A new League “is built upon secret identities (even from each other),” and includes the magic-battling Justice League Dark, Swamp Thing, Shazam, the Teen Titans, the Green Lanterns, and a Suicide Squad, all thrown together by Amanda Waller of Earth-3 — that is, theEarth where all the good guys are bad and the bad guys are good.

Check out over two dozen covers from Future Slate’s books, coming in January and February of 2021, below.

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