DC’s Future State is recasting the universe’s top heroes come 2021, and leading the charge on the iconic Dark Knight is 12 Years A Slave writer John Ridley, who along with artist Nick Derrington, plans to revamp Gotham City as an Orwellian nanny-state in the upcoming Future State: The Next Batman series.
In the recent DC Nation Presents DC Future State magazine special, Ridley discussed his desire to take Batman back to his roots, particularly in terms of his tech and various gadgets, and how he plants to take the Caped Crusader ‘analog’ in face of advanced methods used by authorities to crack down on vigilantes in Gotham.
“It’s really difficult to avoid technology and facial recognition,” Ridley said. “You have a Batman who has to operate in a space where the only advantage he can have is to be analog.”
Likening the Batman in his story to a primitive human dropped into modern times, he added, “When you start removing those digital tools, you’re like a caveman fighting computers.”
According to the magazine special, Dark Knights: Death Metal #7 will “have two epilogues”, one of which will lead directly into the Future State storyline, which will see a tragedy at Arkham force Gotham Mayor Christopher Nakano to pass a zero-tolerance policy for vigilantes and masks that singles out the Bat-Family.
To enforce it, the Mayor will use every tool at his disposal, including the enlisting of a well-armed and supplied secret police/private army known as the Magistrate, a group which Ridley says are “driven not by morality, not by law, but really one edict – that all masks are bad.”
“It really is a logical extension of what we’ve seen going on with Joker War,” he explained. “What happens when Gotham turns into a total battleground? When people start to think ‘there are no good masks. They’re all a threat’.”
Ridley continued, “When you have a city that decides to bring in a private security force, when they decide to turn law and order over to an outside entity, what does that mean?”
Though the identity of ‘The Next Batman’ is currently unknown, Ridley has previously promised that the character will be of African-American descened and will have ties to Lucius Fox.
Whoever it might be, whether they be a young and fresh-faced hero or a grizzled veteran, Ridley assured readers that the latest hero to take up the cowl would follow in Bruce Wayne’s footsteps and use his physical skills and the cover of night to fight back against those who threaten Gotham.
“It really is rolling Batman back to being an individual who is so much about his wit, his guile, and his physical acumen,” said Ridley. “You definitely have to have a different strategy.”
“You’re outmanned, you’re outgunned and the only thing you can really do is go back to the original Batman — the shadows are your friend,” he added. “Night is your ally. The city is your battleground.”
On the flip side of this narrative coin is the Magistrate themselves, whose goals and actions were teased by Future State: Dark Detective writer Mariko Tamaki, whose book will follow the exploits of Bruce Wayne himself as he is both presumed dead and on the run from the totalitarian military group.
“I think the Magistrate wants a lot of things that are all helped by Batman being dead,” noted Tamaki.
“You’d almost have to know who you were dealing with if you wanted to kill him,” noted Tamaki. “And you’d have to have some pretty hefty resources at your disposal.”
Future State begins in January and will unfold over two months across various one-shots, miniseries, and oversized anthologies, but upon their release, the motives and grand schemes of the Magistrate and their leader, Peacekeeper One, are sure to be revealed.
Are you excited for The New Batman? Who do you think is under the cowl? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!