Will Tim Drake Headline the New Batman Beyond Series?

DC-Comics-New-52-Futures-End-47-coverWarning: Actual spoilers ahead for today's The New 52: Futures End #47, and potential spoilers for next week's finale as well as Convergence and/or June's Batman Beyond #1.

The New 52: Futures End #47, in stores today, centers on Tim Drake, formerly Red Robin and before the New 52 relaunch, the Batman family character with the longest-running solo series of the last thirty years or so.

And, based on this issue, it seems they may be positioning him to have his own ongoing again -- in an unexpected way.

Editor's Note: Unexpected to me, anyway. Apparently this theory has been out and about for a while and I had no idea until last Wednesday when the pieces finally fell into place in my sleep-addled brain.

Following the death of Terry McGinnis in Futures End #46 last week, Tim Drake has taken over the role of Batman Beyond -- one which, unless today's issue is undone by Convergence, he seems positioned to carry over to the upcoming Batman Beyond series from Futures End contributors Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang.

First of all, in a series with such a huge cast, it would be somewhat baffling if they spent the second-to-last issue entirely focused on a major status quo shift for one character, and then said status quo shift didn't impact the future of the DC Universe in some way.

batman-beyondSecond, Tim successfully achieves the goal Batman Beyond set out to undertake in The New 52: Futures End #0, defeating Brother Eye and preventing Terry McGinnis' future from happening. It's after doing so that he's shunted back to the future -- or to the place that has replaced it.

And here's what's interesting: That time and place? It's very...green. There are trees there, in spite of the fact that the last several issues of The New 52: Futures End all appear to have happened in New York City, and there's no indication that Tim has traveled in space, just time.

Now, given that Tim was falling from the sky when he arrived at his destination, he clearly wasn't in Earth orbit and Brother Eye could perceivably have deposited him anywhere, but it seems worth mentioning how much of the story had centered on New York becuase that's where the events of Jack Kirby's Kamandi took place.

In Kamandi, a "Great Disaster" has leveled civilization and humans have been reduced to savagery in a world ruled by intelligent, evolved animals. Since it's heavily inspired by the Planet of the Apes franchise, the visual of the Statue of Liberty in wreckage is a familiar image to just about anybody who's read Kamandi before.

So...what's the significance of all that? As you can see above, the cover to Batman Beyond #1 features O.M.A.C., Kamandi, the Atomic Knights and other characters from Kamandi's post-apocalyptic future on one side and the superhero characters from Batman Beyond on the other. Promotional interviews and solicitation text have indicated that Batman Beyond will find himself in an unfamiliar and exotic situation -- and given all the greenery, it seems entirely possible that Brother Eye spat Tim Drake out near Kamandi's overgrown New York.

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Which, of course, suggests that it's Tim Drake we see on the Kamandi-featuring cover of Batman Beyond #1.

Many fans have speculated that the Days of Future Past-style storytelling of Futures End would mean that once its grim future was erased from the timeline (and condemned to Convergence), the impact of the nearly year-long miniseries would be fairly small. Instead, it seems that one of the most anticipated new series of DC's June mini-relaunch is spinning directly out of the story...and likely dividing fans along the way, given the passions that run high for both Batman Beyond and Tim Drake.