[Updated 12/7 6:15 PM EST with additional art and creative team information]
The CCXP Worlds virtual convention was held this past weekend, and DC Comics came out in force with a slew of news and announcements coming out of their numerous streaming panels. Perhaps most interestingly, nearly a dozen creative teams were revealed for both new and returning post-Future State series debuting in March. These teams can tell us a lot about what DC has planned going forward, and how the two-month Future State event plays into things.
In all, ten titles and creative teams were announced for March. Those include teams coming on to existing series:
- Mariko Tamaki & Dan Mora taking over on Detective Comics as of issue #1034
- Gene Luen Yang & Ivan Reis picking up Batman/Superman beginning with issue #15
- Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Travis Moore, & Tamra Bonvillain on Wonder Woman with issue #770
And new series launching:
- Wonder Girl, a new miniseries starring a younger version of Future State Wonder Woman Yara Flor, by Joëlle Jones
- Stephanie Phillips, Riley Rossmo, & Ivan Plascencia on the next Harley Quinn ongoing series
- Ram V, Mike Perkins, Mike Spicer, & Aditya Bidikar on a new, 10-issue Swamp Thing miniseries
- A relaunched Justice League Dark series, also written by Ram V with art by Alejandro Germánico
- A new Suicide Squad series, The Suicide Squad, by Robbie Thompson, Eduardo Pansica, Júlio Ferreira, & Marcelo Maiolo
- Geoffrey Thorne & Tom Raney on a relaunched Green Lantern series
- A new Titans series, Teen Titans Academy, from Tim Sheridan, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, & Alejandro Sánchez
That’s a lot to digest, but one thing jumps out immediately: each of the newly-announced creative teams features all or some of the Future State creative teams for those characters/series. All of series are written by their Future State writers, and Detective, Green Lantern, Swamp Thing, Wonder Girl, and Teen Titans Academy are all also drawn by the same artist as their Future State predecessors (though Wonder Girl is kind of cheating since Jones is both returning writer and illustrator).
When Future State was announced, there was a fair amount of complaining from fans and retailers alike that this was another Convergence – a two-month detour with no connection to what’s going on in the ‘main’ DCU, that could easily be skipped. Back when the event was first announced, we made the argument that Future State’s relative self-containment would make it new-reader-friendly and able to tell satisfying two-issue stories, and I do think that will still be the case. But now knowing that many of those miniseries will serve as the launchpad for what’s coming in the present-day DCU makes them can’t-miss.
It’s also nice to see DC continuing to give opportunities to new creators, another element of Future State that we praised back after it was announced. The publisher has pushed that aspect of the event hard, with a feature in the DC Nation Presents Future State promotional magazine introducing 12 creators touted as “the Next Generation of DC Voices.” Now two of those new writers, Phillips and Sheridan, are helming series post-event, and it seems likely we’ll see more of the ‘next generation’ carry over as more announcements for DC’s March plans roll out. It’s also worth noting that, while she’s not new to DC, Mariko Tamaki is, after Devin Grayson, just the second woman to helm a Batman series on an ongoing basis, and the first to write DC’s flagship series regularly. New blood is definitely necessary to keep the DCU fresh and interesting, and hopefully we’ll see more of that as 2021 progresses.
Perhaps the most interesting implication of the weekend’s announcements (to me, at least) is what it means for how DC is utilizing Future State’s anthology format. One of the series, Ram V and Alejandro Germánico’s Justice League Dark, spins out of the backup stories/second feature in the Future State: Justice League series. Yes, JLDark has had its own series before — and even one written by Ram V — but it’s still exciting to see that the Future State back-up stories may be being used as testing grounds for new ongoings or miniseries, particularly when some of those, like Vita Ayala & Aneke’s Batgirls, Sean Lewis & Cully Hamner’s The Guardian, and L.L. McKinney, Alitha E. Martinez, & Mark Morales’s Nubia look to be among the most interesting stories coming as part of Future State.
All of these announcements have definitely helped to drum up even more interest in Future State, and have me excited for where the DC Universe is headed in the new year. With as much uncertainty as there’s been around the publisher following several rounds of layoffs, some new hires apparently in the works, and an ever-churning rumor mill about AT&T’s plans for the line, it looks at the very least like the immediate future for the DCU is going to be an interesting one.