This week marks the halfway point of Future State, DC’s two-month experiment in storytelling and continuity. For the uninitiated, the mainline DC titles are on hiatus, replaced with their Future State counterparts from all-new creative teams. It’s a vision of the near, far, and very far future of the DC Universe.
In November, DC released a preview of Future State, including an official timeline breaking down what happens when. It can all be confusing to keep track of, especially when characters like Jonathan Kent (Superman) and Yara Flor, the new Wonder Woman, appear in multiple titles and multiple time periods. To help, I’ve broken down the major events of each story.
Be aware: spoilers ahead!
Arkham Knights: With Wayne Manor as her base of operations, Astrid Arkham, through a mix of validation and empowerment, leads a team of Gotham’s villains in the fight against the Magistrate. The Knights aren’t just taking back Gotham from the paramilitary might — they’re taking back the Arkham name. The name of the place that has often failed them.
Batgirls: When Cassandra Cain (Orphan) is taken into a Magistrate prison, she’s reunited with fellow Bat-family member, Stephanie Brown (The Spoiler). With Bruce Wayne dead and Barbara Gordon missing, it’s up to the Batgirls to rally the rest of the inmates to take back the prison from the inside.
Batman/Superman: In the early days of the Magistrate occupation of Gotham, Batman and Superman investigate a new experimental drug that allows people to turn their faces into that of an animal. The False Face Serum has some unintended consequences, turning its users into dangerous, mutated monsters. When Superman discovers that Mr. Toad is the one behind the serum, he tries to convince him to give up on the False Face Society and work together. Toad has other plans, and stabs Superman with a Kryptonite knife.
The Next Batman: Tim “Jace” Fox is the Next Batman. He’s untrained, under-equipped, and up against the high-tech forces of the anti-vigilante Magistrate. Not to mention the new gangs popping up in the power vacuum left behind in a Bat-free Gotham. The prodigal son of the Fox family has the odds stacked against him.
Catwoman: Selina Kyle is on a mission to rescue the children of Alleytown, who are being sent out on a train to a reformation facility. It’s a high-speed race against time as Catwoman boards the train, takes down guards, and has an unlikely team-up with Onomatopoeia. Selina isn’t the only one on a mission though, and it’s revealed that Talia al Ghul is undercover in the Magistrate and searching for Bruce Wayne.
Gotham City Sirens: After a heist involving one of the biggest tech companies in the Magistrate’s Gotham, Poison Ivy and Catwoman show their new friend Dee-Dee Prime, a curious and powerful android, a night out on the town. Of course, no place is safe, even the mask-friendly speakeasy, and it isn’t long before Magistrate goons show up to take down the Sirens.
Harley Quinn: Imprisoned by the Magistrate, Harley is forced to work for Jonathan Crane, formerly the Scarecrow, in his mission to bring in more of Gotham’s criminals. Using her knowledge as a psychiatrist, she takes down Professor Pyg and Firefly. Now it’s time to take down the biggest bad left in Gotham, Black Mask.
Grifters: Arrested by the Magistrate, Cole Cash and Luke Fox form an uneasy alliance to weasel their way through Gotham’s seedy underground. Through a combination of hand-to-hand combat, gunplay, and sheer dumb luck, the duo can break free of the Magistrate’s clutches only to be dropped in on by the Black Mask Syndicate and, ultimately, the Huntress.
Nightwing: Operating out of the remains of Arkham Asylum, Nightwing is leading the masked Resistance in Gotham. But when cybernetically-enhanced Magistrate officers start showing up on the streets, he must team up with The Next Batman before the Cybers seize Arkham.
Outsiders: Katana and Signal are working together to take refugees out of Gotham’s new police state. Confronted by Kaliber, the Outsiders’ former teammate, the Magistrate appears to have the upper hand. Until Black Lightning, presumed missing but now powered by dark magic, comes to their aid.
Red Hood: Jason Todd is working for the Magistrate, rounding up masks in Gotham. When vigilantes resembling the original Red Hood Gang pop up, Jason and his partner Ravager are on the trail. It leads them to the hideout of the Mad Hatter. It’s there that the tables are turned against Jason: the Magistrate has put out a huge reward — dead or alive.
Robin Eternal: Tim Drake, a.k.a. Robin, discovers the Magistrate is using the power of the Lazarus Pits to create even more unkillable Cybers. He and Spoiler raid an airship in the hopes of destroying their supply of Lazarus Resin, but nothing in the Future State goes as planned. Tim is killed in the struggle, exposed to the Resin, and Robin is suddenly reborn. Maybe things do go as planned after all.
Dark Detective: Batman and Bruce Wayne are presumed dead, killed by the Magistrate’s Peacekeeper-01 in an alleyway. But Bruce has been in hiding in the shadows for the past two years, ducking the growing surveillance state in Gotham. Now he resides in the basement of a conspiracy theorist living off the grid. But the Magistrate is everywhere, it’s only a matter of time before they catch up with Bruce — unless Bruce can get to the bottom of his own death without the use of his tech or his billions.
The Flash: When Impulse is killed on a Flash family raid of Checkmate, Barry Allen takes it upon himself to set his failures straight. Using the Speed Force to try and save Wally West, now a relentless arbiter of death. In true Flash fashion, Barry’s plan backfires and he must now use the weapons and tech of his Rogues for one last chance at redemption.
Teen Titans: The Titans Tower and school are in ruins, and many of the Titans didn’t survive. The remaining heroes are trying to take back their world from a mysterious threat that expands into the pages of Future State: The Flash and Future State: Shazam! Nightwing, donning Deathstroke’s mask, releases Red X, the hero who turned on the Titans, to help them out of this desperate situation.
Shazam!: Something isn’t right with the World’s Mightiest Mortal, and his teammates can tell. Their missions are becoming more deadly both for them and their adversaries. When confronted, Shazam reveals he’s the one who’s been behind all the violence. Shazam had been separated from Billy Batson, allowing a corrupting force to take his place.
Aquaman: While on a mission, Jackson Hyde and Andy Curry discover the Confluence, a celestial nexus that connects oceans all across time and space. After traveling across many worlds, the two become separated and years pass. Jackson is imprisoned on Neptune and during his most recent escape attempt, he discovers Andy (now Aquawoman) is still out there. This gives him the courage to call himself Aquaman and make one final breakout.
Black Racer: Believed to be dead, Black Racer wakes up in the outer rings of Warworld. A former mech pilot, she is using her fearlessness to race to the core, breaking out Mongul’s prisoners along the way.
Justice League Dark: Merlin has taken the world’s magic for himself, defeating the Justice League Dark in the process. But hope is not lost. Zatanna and Detective Chimp wander the wasteland, searching for whatever and whoever remains of the magic community, Merlin’s hunters on their trail. Ragman, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu join the party, but when Doctor Fate reveals himself the JLD decides it’s time to fight back.
Guardian: A sect of Metropolis citizens are revolting in the aftermath of the city’s bottling, convinced it’s a hoax by Superman. After receiving a tip from Jimmy Olsen, the Guardian looks for answers as to who is behind the mobs. In the process, Guardian needs to protect Metropolis from themselves, no matter the cost.
Midnighter: It’s a white-knuckle journey across Warworld and Midnighter is leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. It’s a journey he believes is righteous, but Apollo has other plans for him.
Mister Miracle: Shilo Norman, Mister Miracle, is trapped in the bottled city of Metropolis. When he uses his Mother Box to figure out the source of the barrier, the power signature gets the attention of some powerful, deadly mechs. Later, after Mister Miracle somehow escaped Metropolis, he finds himself on Warworld. It’s not long before he discovers that maybe this place is even more dangerous than the bottle.
Suicide Squad: Things are not as they seem. Amanda Waller is heading up the new Justice Squad, a shoddy facsimile of the Justice League led by Connor Kent. Connor is disappointed with the team and talks with Waller about picking his own roster. She suggests the Crime Syndicate, the villainous Justice League of Earth-3. She insists they can be controlled with the power of the Black Lantern Ring. Meanwhile, the real Suicide Squad are targeting Waller, and have come to Earth-3 to stop her.
Superman of Metropolis: Clark Kent has left his city behind, his son is now Superman. In a last-ditch effort to save Metropolis from the remains of Brainiac, Jon Kent decides to miniaturize and bottle the city. It’s a controversial decision, especially to Supergirl. While the Kryptonians fight, Brain Cells can regroup and take the bottled Metropolis for themselves.
Superman: Worlds of War: Smallville has transformed into a holy city of sorts after Clark Kent leaves Earth. People travel from all over to celebrate Superman. Some believe he’s in space, fighting potential alien threats. Others say he’s still on Earth, all around the world at once, protecting people. In reality, Superman is competing in gladiator battles and becoming a symbol of hope for the people of Warworld.
Nubia: During a fight with Darkseid’s daughter Grail, Nubia has a vision of a summoning. To get to the source, she visits her Aunt Nancy. Nubia learns that the vision was of ancient rituals with ties to the minds of gods and interdimensional travel. It’s just then that a portal appears around Nubia, and she’s taken away to an unknown location.
Last Lanterns: The Green Lantern Corps’ Power Battery is dead. John Stewart leads a team of former GLs to bring justice to a war-torn planet. Jessica Cruz protects an abandoned space station from the Sinestro Corps. Guy Gardner is trapped on an alien planet in the middle of a religious feud, only to accidentally become their new deity.
Justice League: The new Justice League team, living in the shadows and the mistakes of their predecessors, investigate the deaths of the Legion of Doom. On the verge of cracking the case, Jo Mullein (Green Lantern) is betrayed and captured by Jon Kent (Superman). She’s not the only one either. It appears the Justice League has turned on one another. In a shocking twist, the Hyperclan reveal that they are behind the Justice League betrayals, seeking revenge for their imprisonment.
Kara Zor-El, Superwoman: Not unlike her cousin Clark Kent, Superwoman leaves Earth behind for a new calling on the Moon. She’s learning to live with the fact that no matter how hard she tries, she will always come second to the son of Superman. A spaceship crash lands on the Moon, housing a shape-shifting young girl called Lynari. Superwoman takes Lynari under her wing and with many things in common, they begin to learn about family and belonging from one another. Things are peaceful until Lynari’s draconic aunt comes to the Moon to take her home.
Yara Flor: Deep in the Amazon Rainforest, the new Wonder Woman is hunting monsters as a means to convince Hades to return her sister. When she runs into the goddess Caipora, Yara is given an alternate route to the Underworld, the front door. They just have to make it through without making any trouble, something the new Wonder Woman isn’t capable of just yet.
Superman Vs. Imperius Lex: To escape the heroics of Superman, Lex Luthor decides to conquer another planet in the far reaches of the outer rim. However, when Superman discovers that Luthor has been manufacturing robots to terrorize and loot neighboring planets, he decides to pay a visit to planet Lexor. Superman destroys the robotics plant, but that leaves the citizens of Lexor in a failed state with a despotic leader. Luthor wants to join the United Planets, and with Superman’s convincing, they grant Lexor membership. The only condition being Lois Lane is the UP’s sole representative.
Superman/Wonder Woman: Jon Kent and Yara Flor cross paths when Solaris, an alien sun god, and Kuat, the Amazon sun god, get into some not-so-friendly competition. The dueling gods are unaware of the consequences on Earth, including rising global temperatures and minutes-long day-night cycles. Their score is settled, and Earth is safe for, but the solar-powered Man of Steel’s powers have been disrupted. Jon and Yara must find a solution before the gods go for a rematch.
House of El: This is the only title in the Future State line that hasn’t yet been released. In lieu of a summary, here is the official solicitation.
“Centuries into the future, the bloodline of Kal-El, the hero we know as Clark Kent, continues. Meet a new generation of Kryptonian heroes as they stand against one of the greatest threats they’ve ever faced: a diabolical foe called the Red King. Get ready for the unexpected debuts of the twins known as Rowan and Ronan Kent, descendants of Jonathan Kent. Rowan is the new Superman of Earth, while his sister is a Blue Lantern. Also on board are Theand’r Ban-El, whose mother was Tamaranean, and other heroes—all led by the original Man of Steel himself!”
Legion of Super-Heroes: The Legion has disbanded. The United Planets have fallen apart. There’s been an Elemental Rapture and Legionnaires are scattered across the galaxy. That’s not stopping Ultra Boy from trying to put the Legion of Super-Heroes back together to face one last foe, Jan Arrah a.k.a. Element Lad.
Swamp Thing: In the wake of humanity’s downfall, a god-like Swamp Thing uses the power of The Green to create a family of plant beings. When one member of the tribe is murdered, they discover the culprit is a human refugee who had escaped from S.T.A.R. Fortress in the search for other humans. Now the Swamp Things and the human, Venen, must set their differences aside to take down S.T.A.R.
Black Adam: The Seven Deadly Sins, with the help of Vandal Savage, are on an unstoppable warpath across the omniverse. After the Sins easily take out Superman Prime, the Justice League head to Khandaq, now a planet-wide utopia, hoping Teth-Adam can help them. Despite being at peace for centuries the Sins’ arrival leads Teth to summon his magic and become Black Adam once again. As suddenly as the Sins corrupted the Justice League, they’re stopped by the crash landing of a ship piloted by Gold Beetle.
The End of Time
Immortal Wonder Woman: Outliving her fellow Justice Leaguers, Diana and the Amazons have inherited what remains of the Earth. But when Apokolips is destroyed, Darkseid rockets to Earth, dead set on making it his new domain. Before he can get there, he’s intercepted by Superman. The two take what seems to be their final battle to Themyscira, and to Wonder Woman.
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