By now, you may have caught on that DC Future State isn’t just a collection of stories about the potential future of the DC Universe. It’s about painting a picture of the future lineup of DC comics as well. In what we might consider a bit of a time paradox in its own right, the distant future seen in these comics is a prelude of what’s to come, if not in linear content, then in character. Many of the characters highlighted in Future State will be taking the center stage once the DC line returns to tales of the present day in a week, so now is a perfect time to take stock of these legends of tomorrow before they become the heroes of today. To illustrate, here are just a few of the Future State icons with bright futures ahead.
Wonder Girl, Yara Flor
First Appearance: Dark Nights: Death Metal #7, 2021
Future State: Wonder Woman
Next Up: Wonder Girl
Wonder Woman has always been an ambassador of peace and sisterhood to Man’s World. But because of her Greek mythological origins, Diana has always come with some Eurocentric baggage. For a future which embraces all cultures joining in Wonder Woman’s mission, a wider variety of perspectives is required. Enter Yara Flor, a DREAMer from a lost Amazon tribe along (appropriately enough) the Amazon River in South America, with a Brazilian river god as her father. While Yara strives for a deeper connection to her more well-known Themysciran sisters, Future State shows within Yara Flor a Wonder Woman who owns her identity, and the potential endpoint of a journey we’ll walk together with her in the new Wonder Girl series this May.
Green Lantern, Jo Mullein
First Appearance: Far Sector #1, 2019
Future State: Justice League
Next Up: Green Lantern
Gerard Way’s specially curated Young Animal imprint has been delivering bold new angles on the DC Universe since 2016, but the project’s most recent offering may just be its greatest. In Far Sector, newly appointed Green Lantern Jo Mullein plays up the less-explored detective side of the “space cop” template of the Green Lantern legend, doing her part to solve an impossible murder in an unfathomably large spacefaring city. But like most Young Animal projects, Jo has remained a part of the DC Universe without interacting with the rest of it at large. That changes in Future State, where a mature Jo Mullein is not just the leader of a new Justice League, but considered “the greatest detective in the universe.” This April, Jo will join former Corps leader John Stewart in Green Lantern #1, taking up the next leg in her journey towards becoming one of the world’s greatest heroes.
The Kent Brothers, Superboys
First Appearances: Adventures of Superman #500, 1993; Convergence: Superman #2, 2015
Future State: Suicide Squad; Superman of Metropolis
Next Up: Suicide Squad; Superman and Action Comics
The definitive Superboys of the 1990s and 2010s are both set up to be back in action in DC’s next lineup, thanks to roles heavily foreshadowed in the Future State line. Throughout the Superman family of Future State books, the role of the Man of Steel has fallen to Jon Kent, son of Lois and Clark, who has made some not uncontroversial moves in his duty to protect Metropolis. In the dual Superman and Action Comics runs beginning this March by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, a young adult Superboy fresh back from his time-hopping adventures with the Legion of Super-Heroes will be fighting for truth and justice right by the original Superman’s side. Conner Kent, on the other hand—the clone of Superman combined with Lex Luthor’s DNA—has a more harrowing fate in store, as one of the stars of Amanda Waller’s new Suicide Squad. Good luck, Conner—serving as a member of Task Force X never comes with survival guaranteed.
First Appearance: Teen Titans, 2004
Future State: Teen Titans
Next Up: Teen Titans Academy
One of the most talked about mysteries of the original Teen Titans animated series—rivaled only by whatever was going on with Terra at the end—was the identity of the mysterious original villain (or antihero?) known as Red X. After years of quiet on that front, Red X has returned in Future State as part of a dark, untold chapter in Teen Titans history—one which we will begin to explore in the upcoming Teen Titans Academy series this March. Any of the new class of Titans could potentially be Red X… but who could it be?
Jess Chambers, Kid Quick
First Appearance: DC’s Very Merry Multiverse, 2020
Future State: Justice League
Next Up: The Flash
Like many heroes from the Flash’s history, Jess Chambers is the latest with origins multiversal in nature. Hailing from Earth-11, Kid Quick is DC’s first major nonbinary superhero. Depicted as the speedster-in-residence for the Justice League in Future State, Jess has a bright future ahead of them in upcoming issues of The Flash as they take their place in the continuously expanding Flash Family.
“Shoes,” Cheshire Cat
First Appearance: Catwoman #25, 2020
Future State: Catwoman
Next Up: DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Super Hero Celebration
The mysterious but profoundly likeable street thief dubbed “Shoes” by her peers is just one in a gang of youths taken in by Selina Kyle in Ram V’s newest ongoing Catwoman run…but as the thrilling Future State: Catwoman shows us, there’s a lot more in store for Shoes’ future, taking a sort of role as Catwoman’s protege, “Cheshire Cat.” How does the humble Shoes embark on this journey from Cat-Ward to Cat-Girl? We’ll get a look for ourselves this May in the one-shot special DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Super Hero Celebration, featuring a myriad of Asian heroes in stories by Asian writers and artists.
Tim Fox, The Next Batman
First Appearance: Batman #313, 1979
Future State: The Next Batman
Next Up: The Next Batman; The Next Batman: Second Son
Timothy Fox, the long-forgotten son of Lucius Fox’s family, is the Next Batman. What else is there to say? After Lucius received control of the Wayne family fortune in the aftermath of “The Joker War,” writer John Ridley is elaborating on the future, present and hidden past of this latest Dark Knight in Future State: The Next Batman, the 12-issue limited series The Next Batman, and the digital-first The Next Batman: Second Son. As followers of his The Other History of the DC Universe already know, when it comes to DC history, John Ridley rolls DEEP. So even if Bruce Wayne is sitting this one out, these adventures starring a new Batman are ones that lovers of Gotham City lore will not want to miss.
What other secrets does the Future State line hold for DC’s own future? Perhaps a greater role for the new Aquababy, Andy Curry? Or, hopefully, some further appearances by Diana’s sister Nubia, as seen in Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman? One thing we can guarantee is that we’ll be seeing more of the insidious Magistrate in upcoming issues of James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez’s Batman. The DC Universe will always provide new ways to challenge our heroes, but for these rising stars, the Future State is bright.
Which of these future stars has got you excited for tomorrow? Will you be downloading the first chapter of The Next Batman: Second Son tomorrow? Let us know your thoughts over in the DC Community!
Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCItyQuestion.