Future State: Does it Suck?

Okay, I’ve read over two dozen Future State books, especially if you count the backups as their own separate series. If that’s not enough to say whether the majority of them are enjoyable or not, I don’t what else to say.

Future State is a recent initiative by DC to create this line of books that take place in DC’s future, where mantels have been passed down, and old heroes have moved on. In their place, young heroes have stepped up, and new heroes have been introduced. 

From the Ashes of 5G

It’s famously birthed from DC’s scrapped 5G plans which would have saw DC Comic’s line of books be fitted into a new timeline. With the timeline writers would be able to tell stories across various time periods freely. The controversial part of it was how in the fifth generation, classic characters like Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Diana Prince would no longer be in the roles they’ve had for so long. 

The Next Batman of Future State.

It would not have been the first time any of them have stepped down. The Death of Superman saw four different people take up the Superman mantle. Overtime, nearly all if not most of Batman’s Robins have replaced him at some point. And both Wonder Girls and Diana’s own mother have been Wonder Woman. Passing on the mantle isn’t new, yet it still caused controversy.

This is because the new Batman was Jace Fox, the son of Lucius Fox. He’s a black character who hasn’t been in comics for a while rather than a generic heir to the cowl. Batman’s been white for 80 years, despite the fact that the mantle is supposed to be filled by anyone. 

The Aquaman and Aquawoman of Future State.

Wonder Woman also saw a new character named Yara Flor, a dark skinned brazillian woman take up the mantle. Again, Wonder Woman has been white across mainline incarnations for nearly 80 years so this was something new. Only Nubia has ever co-owned the role with Diana to my knowledge. This time, Yara Flor would be the first non-white Wonder Woman to hold the role by herself. At the same time, she changed the pantheon Wonder Woman directly interacted with.

The Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern are different too. The new Flash was Jess Chambers, a vaguely ethnic non-binary character. At the same time, Andy Curry, Aquawoman replace her father. Green Lantern wasn’t so much replaced because there are always half a dozen at one time. Though a newish black female Green Lantern named Jo became the main Green Lantern.

After hearing this history lesson of what was supposed to be 5G and not a temporary event, take a guess how people responded to these announcements? 

Yeah, and DC buckled, abandoned their 5G plans, and retrofitted their 5G stuff to be Future State. Which I repeat, has been a temporary comic book event.

After all the controversy and changes made to these books, I wish DC had stuck to their guns. These books are really good, and are more interesting than what’s going on in the main books.

The Best of the Best of Future State

Duke Thomas deserves the status quo of Future State.

I have a few favorites, being the Outsiders, Superwoman, Aquaman, and my favorite, House of El. They embody what Future State is. A new status quos that shakes things up but continues the path characters and their families have been moving towards. 

Duke Thomas has finally stepped into his own as a hero of Gotham. He’s able to lead a team after being trained to do so by Katana and Black Lightning.

Kara Zor-El has accepted that she may never be accepted as her cousin was, so why be any hero but who she wants to be. 

Aquaman and Aquawoman of Future State.

But Aquaman truly is the best of the bunch. Arthur Curry and Queen Mera have finally had their Aquababy in Andy, and trust their daughter to the new Aquaman, Jackson Hyde. The old guard gives way to the new. It allows new heroes to grow while the old ones get a well-earned rest.

Aquaman shows this best. In this story, Jackson struggles to mentor Andy, and Andy grows into the superhero to surpass both of her parents. This may be a strange connection to make, but it feels like Future State is built around the ideals of the Justice Society of America. The old heroes breed better superheroes in the new generation. The truth is that the old heroes were never meant to be around forever.

This idea permeates most, if not all of the Future State books I’ve read. Future State brings hope back to DC. 

DC’s main theme is always hope. DC is built on the back of Superman, and Superman is hope incarnate, but every so often DC needs something to bring it back. I’m glad this time wasn’t with the same old characters we’ve had for years. I just wish it was more permanent.

The Worst of the Worst of Future State

The worst thing about Future State, outside of the people who refused to give any of the books a chance from the start, is how its not permanent. This status quo is temporary. From the moment it was officially announced, we knew Future State would only last for two months. Then it would go back to the old world where Bruce Wayne has to be Batman, Clark Kent has to be Superman, and Diana Prince has to be Wonder Woman. 

The Original DC Trinity.

I’m excited for some of the books coming out. They have talented writers and artists on them, but they’re just not as exciting as Future State. And, they have led to the greatest flaw in most of the Future State books.

The Future State books are ending as if they’re going to continue. They’re not telling self-contained stories save for a few exceptions. They’re telling stories that setup more to come, but the more isn’t going to come! 

Honestly, it sucks that the Future State Outsiders has finally made me care about Duke Thomas. It sucks that The Next Batman has such an intriguing ending. It has Jace Fox is being hunted down by his family who are mostly anti-vigilantes. 

For god’s sakes, the Future State Justice League book setups an already intriguing roster, right before it gets new members. And are we gonna see that roster hang out, introducing new teammates to the status quo of the future? No, we’re not, and that sucks more than anything.

I could list some books that aren’t worth your time, as if they were the problem with the Future State line, but they’re not. The temporariness of Future State, and people’s inability to give it a chance, is the failure of Future State.

Sure, some books have turned out better than others. Not every book can be fantastic, but even the worst ones are far from terrible. Except for the Flash book, because that one is bad. 

But, the same was true of the old books that people supposedly wanted back. We give the same characters a hundred chances to give us a good story again and again, in the same status quo again and again. 

Future State’s failure is not a sign that DC should stop bringing in new characters for their mantles. Instead, we should stop attacking them for it, and standing by when people attack them for it. We should support these new characters. 

If you’re someone complaining about having nothing new to read in superhero comics, but you didn’t give a single Future State book a chance, than honestly, shut up. You don’t want something new, you just wanna complain.

For everyone who gave Future State a chance… there is hope.

Hope In a Deep Dark Place

The Next Batman: Second Son is how Future State lives on.

It’s not likely, but its not impossible that some of these Future State books could continue on. Future State: Gotham is the first title. It will continue the Future State stories for the bat-family. Another mini called The Next Batman: Second Son, seems to lead into Future State’s Next Batman book. 

Yes, I understand the eyerolls some people will make about their being more bat-books, but its still a good sign. This means that readers turned out for the bat-titles of Future State, and supported a Bat-family led by Jace Fox. It can’t be a bad thing that readers are willing to give this black Batman a chance. 

Yara Flor even has her own Wonder Girl series like the Next Batman book, so its not just Batman. 

We can have some grounded hope that DC will continue some of the great stories they have in Future State. Future State doesn’t suck, it’s good, it’s really good, and more people should buy these books.

Future State Recommendations

If I had to pick my favorites to recommend, it would have to be Future State Aquaman more than anything. Right now, there’s no title in the Aquaman line post-Future State. That’s a crime when this books is easily one of the best of the bunch. Not only that, it perfectly sets up the premise for an Aquaman series.

But, while Aquaman is probably the best Future State book, Superman: House of El is my favorite. It makes for an excellent book end for Future State. It shows the future of Superman’s legacy, where the hope and goodness he inspires as spanned the galaxy. Hybrids between Superman’s descendants and other races make up the House of El. This shows that truth, justice, and hope doesn’t belong to Earth and Krypton. It introduces amazing new characters, and elevates the meaning behind the symbol on Superman’s chest. 

Theand'r of the House of El.
If Theand’r doesn’t come back DC, we riot.

Also, if Theand’r doesn’t come back after Future State, I’m starting a riot, that’s the rules.

Another favorite would have to be Future State: Red Hood, which is a backup story to Dark Detective. Dark Detective is good in its own right with amazing art, but the Red Hood story I really care about. It gives us a Jason Todd who may have finally given up on killing every criminal he sees.

Then there’s the aforementioned Future State: Outsiders. It gives us another fantastic book that’s been relegated to being a backup for the Next Batman. Though, the Next Batman is great too, so you get two great titles in one. 

Kara Zor-El Superwoman is another book that needs more eyes on it. It’s short, impactful, and it finally upgrades Kara from being Supergirl to Superwoman. She deserves the name of an adult, and this book shows why. She’s a mature, headstrong hero who does what is right simply because its right. It doesn’t matter if people like her or not. 

Please check out your local comic book store, and give one a chance if you haven’t already. I won’t stop saying it, Future State doesn’t suck, it’s good, it’s great even, and it deserves your time. If you want to see the video, check it out on Youtube.

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