Why You Should Give Future State A Chance! Commentary by Sean H.
As anyone who knows me personally will testify, I was extremely skeptical of DC’s Future State lineup. When it was first rumored a couple years ago as DC 5G, I balked at the concept. Replacing heroes has never gone over well unless they are given due ceremony and a worthy successor is offered (Dick Grayson, Buck Barnes, etc.).
However, trashing the original idea of a reboot in favor of possible futures changes the dynamic considerably. No longer are these stories the new status quo, but an Elseworld that gives DC an opportunity to explore future storytelling ideas, as well as offer the reader an opportunity to gauge the talent of new writers and artists.
This is not a universal endorsement for you to leap headfirst and buy all of the Future State titles. That would not be wise. However, I would recommend that if its focused on a title you personally read anyway, give at least the first issue of their Future State counterpart a chance. You might find them to be better than expected.
I’m not sending you in blind here, however, so with all this in mind here are the titles I would personally recommend checking out.
This is easily the strongest of the Future State lineup, unsurprisingly for DC. If you’ve been reading Batman and Detective Comics, you’re no doubt aware of Batman’s current circumstances. Since Joker War, he’s decided to take a step back and exorcise some of his inner demons, entrusting his resources to longtime friend Lucius Fox, while a misguided former police officer is elected mayor. Fast-forward five years and Mayor Nakano has put Gotham in the hands of the Magistrate, a private military corporation with a zero-tolerance policy on masked vigilantes. With Bruce seemingly taken out by the Magistrate, the legacy of Batman falls to Lucius’s son, who is now tasked with keeping the city safe not just from criminals, but the authorities too.
John Ridley is a fast learner when it comes to comics. He’s a screenwriter first and foremost, talented but with no prior experience in the industry, which didn’t work out so well the last time I saw it with John Semper. However, Ridley won my attention with the fantastic Other History of the DC Universe, which was a breath of fresh air. He continues his hot streak here, with a story that feels like one-third Batman, one-third Batman Beyond, and one-third Ridley. It works, and Nick Derrington’s art is spectacular as always. I’d also encourage you to check out it’s Detective Comics counterpart Dark Detective, written by Mariko Tamaki and drawn by the ever talented Dan Mora if you really need Bruce Wayne under the cowl or just want another good read.
Assuming speculators have not snatched all available copies for the brief (and I mean BRIEF) first appearance of Red X, I would give this one a look. The Titans have been decimated, and the survivors are desperately trying to regroup and mount a counter attack against their enemies. Their best chance lies with a disgraced and imprisoned former Titan, the aforementioned Red X, who might also be partially responsible for the mess they’re currently in.
Tim Sheridan is another newcomer, but a promising one. He gets the Titans as characters, and while their situation may be off-putting to those who feel the Titans have gotten the short end of the stick in recent years (and you’re not wrong, they have) remember this is not their definite future, merely a possibility, and one that seems unlikely to come to pass. Tim Sheridan will be in charge of Teen Titans Academy come March, and the team appears to be in safe hands. Check it out if you can. It also features a very good Batgirls back up story, for those interested.
Now this is my dark horse candidate. I borrowed this book from a friend of mine on his recommendation and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, so much so that I picked up a copy for myself. The premise is straightforward enough. With the traditional heroes busy being depowered, overpowered, displaced, or presumed dead, the world still needs a Justice League, and the legacy heroes of Future State step forward to take the mantle. Only things are not quite as they seem, and they might not get the chance to make a name for themselves before someone else ruins it for them.
Written by Joshua Williamson, of Flash fame, this book had the potential to go either way and ends up being an overall positive addition to Future State. Ironically it does so by bringing back an old and obscure face from DC’s past, whose appearance will likely be satisfying to any fans of Grant Morrison’s JLA.
There you go, some recommendations for those on the fence about Future State from someone who was also on the fence about Future State. If you decide to hold off and wait until Infinite Frontier to once again get your DC fix, that’s totally up to you, but I’d encourage to at least keep an open mind about these new teams and their work. They’ve got the potential to do some really incredible stuff going forward.