DC's upcoming Future State event is going to shake things up considerably, revealing a jump to the future where many of the iconic heroes have either passed their mantle onto someone else or have vanished, leaving the mantle up for grabs. While these changes will affect every character in the universe, some of the biggest changes are in store for Batman and the Bat-Family, and we got a lot more details on those changes to Batman and Gotham as a whole thanks to the DC Nation Presents DC: Future State special. There are lots of interesting bits coming from this new preview, so let's dive in.
Future State will stem from one of the two epilogues in Dark Nights: Death Metal #7, and when we head back to Gotham after the dust has settled things are quite different. After a tragic and deadly event at Arkham Asylum Mayor Christopher Nakano institutes a new "no vigilante" policy, which of course is targetted at Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, and the rest of the Bat crew.
If you don't have heroes on your side, you need someone to enforce it, so he enlists a shadowy organization known as the Magistrate to help police the city, essentially giving security and law to a private security force. They have a job to protect the city, though as writer John Ridley explains, it does come down to all makes are bad more times than not.
"It really is a logical extension of what we've seen going on with Joker War," Ridley said. What happens when Gotham turns into a total battleground? When people start to think 'there are no good masks. They're all a threat'. Even when the police are not equipped to handle them. When you have a city that decides to bring in a private security force, when they decide to turn law and order over to an outside entity, what does that mean? It's a private army driven not by morality, not by law, but really one edict-that all masks are bad."
We also see the introduction of a new Batman, one completely masked whose identity has not been revealed yet. Thing is, this mystery hero has their work cut out for them, as they are trying to avoid facial recognition and technology to give themselves some kind of advantage over the Magistrate, and that means a more analog Batman will need to focus more on wit, guile, and physical acumen according to Ridley.
We also get a tease of the original Batman from writer of Future State: Dark Detective Mariko Tamaki. "I think the Magistrate wants a lot of things that are all helped by Batman being dead," Tamaki said. "You'd almost have to know who you were dealing with if you wanted to kill him, and you'd have to have some pretty hefty resources at your disposal." Tamaki then added "Bear in mind that Batman is many things, but he's not one to share his feelings all that readily. You'll have to read issue #3 of Dark Detective to find out more!"
We also get updates on Nightwing and Harley Quinn, with the former on the run from the Magistrate and staying out of their sights by hiding in plain sight. Writer of Future State Nightwing Andrew Constant said "Nightwing is living in what is a pretty brutal and oppressive future. This makes it hard for a hero to find a place to call their own," Constant said. "He understands that no one wants to go near Arkham, especially due to certain horrific events there. Which makes its abandoned remains a perfect place for his headquarters."
As for Harley, Future State: Harley Quinn writer Stephanie Phillips reveals she is actually pursued by the Magistrate for a different reason. "The Magistrate sees Harley as a key player in Gotham," Phillips said. "Her knowledge of both the good and bad of Gotham's streets makes her integral to helping bring in other masked figures. However, the Magistrate underestimates Harley, seeing her as a tool to help further his agenda, and doesn't realize that Harley is not one to go out without a fight."
"I think we're really used to seeing Harley use a bat or mallet to smash her way out of situations, which oftentimes works really well for her," Phillips adds. "In this instance, Harley can't physically fight her way out, so she will need to rely on her intelligence and coming to manipulate the situation and find a new way to escape."
DC Future State kicks off next year, and let us know what you're most excited for in the comments or feel free to talk all things comics with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!