A direct sequel to Dark Nights: Death Metal, Future State is a possible future that showcases the legacy of the heroes of the Justice League in the near future. The major heroes Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, [[ DC Future State is an event in 2021, showcasing a possible future for the DC Universe. Most of the titles were published within the timeframe of two months, though some titles continued to be published throughout 2021.
A direct sequel to Dark Nights: Death Metal, Future State is a possible future that showcases the legacy of the heroes of the Justice League in the near future. The major heroes Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, Superman and Wonder Woman will see younger heroes follow in their example and don their mantle.
The event initially consisted of 24 titles, which were published from January to February 2021 except for Future State vs. Imperious Lex, whose last issue was published in March. Another title, Future State: Gotham, was launched in May 2021.
The plot begins in the year 2025, with Batman and Superman combatting the para-military force known as the Magistrate, that has been contracted by Gotham City's Mayor Christopher Nakano to hunt down and eliminate any and all masked individuals in the city. The heroes fail and Batman is assumed dead, allowing the Magistrate to turn the city into a police state. In the following months, Batman resurfaces, but must engage in underground operation, while his mantle has been assumed by a unknown successor.
Meanwhile, the Flash Family's powers have been stolen by unknown forces and are forced to battle Wally West who has been possessed by a mysterious entity that had been trapped inside the Speed Force. In 2027, Bruce Wayne finally confronts Magistrate's leader Peacekeeper-01. The Titans Tower, where the original Teen Titans trained young superheroes, has been destroyed. They turn to their former pupil Red X for help and finally defeat the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, after Raven absorbs them inside her.
Billy Batson, the hero known as Shazam, imprisons the possessed in the Rock of Eternity, and strikes a deal with Neron to separate his human half Billy and magical half Shazam. Billy becomes the guardian of the door to Rock of Eternity due to his innocence, while Shazam leaves to protect the world. This however ends up backfiring as Neron had tricked Shazam into believing others are possessed by demons. The Justice League of America try subduing him in 2029 and Deadman forces him to utter his magical word, in order to depower him, thus releasing Raven in their ignorance.
In 2030, magicians are being hunted down with the Justice League Dark mounting a fight-back against the Crow King Merlin. Meanwhile, the new Aquaman Jackson Hyde and Andy Curry's guardian, gets imprisoned on Neptune. Superman has left Earth to fight an existential threat by this time and entrusted safety of Earth to his son Jonathan Samuel Kent, who becomes the new Superman. After an attack by a new Brainiac, Jon decided to shrink Metropolis into a bottle. This leaves the Manhattan Guardian and the new Mister Miracle Shilo Norman stranded there.
Amanda Waller sets up her own Justice League on Earth 3, headed by the Superman Conner Kent, to save her world and remake it as she wants. This leads the new Suicide Squad under Peacemaker to try to apprehend her. Nubia, the original champion of Paradise Island, has settled in "Man's World" and has become the new Wonder Woman, in order to protect humanity. Later on Warworld, Clark Kent battles as a gladiator, so he can eventually liberate the planet from its ruler, Mongul's son. Norman accidentally lands on the planet after escaping Metropolis, while Midnighter hunts for a power source greater than Kryptonite to help Clark overthrow Warworld's ruler.
By 2040, the heroes Aquawoman (Andy), Jon Kent, the new Wonder Woman Yara Flor, Green Lantern Jo Mullein and the mysterious new Batman have formed the "Justice League". The team gets exiled from Earth after their enemies are murdered. Earth is however soon attacked by a past opponent of theirs. By 2050, Superwoman Kara Zor-El has left Earth and established a colony on Earth's Moon for refugee aliens expelled or unable to seek shelter on Earth. The arrival of Lynari soon threatens this colony, as shape-shifting aliens come looking for her. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor has established his rule on the planet Lexor. Clark and his wife Lois Lane try to take the egocentric ruler down and free the planet, whose masses are being fooled by Lex's propaganda.
Yara Flor travels to the Underworld in 2050, after the god Hades kidnaps an Amazon from Themyscira. In 2070, Jon and Yara unite to take down an evil robot sun and an ancient solar deity threatening the world. By the year 3000, Superman is one of the few heroes from 21st Century still alive and is the patriarch of the reconstituted House of El, now consisting of Jon's descendants—the new Superman Ronan Kent and his twin sister, the Blue Lantern Rowan, as well as the half-Tamaranean Theand'r Ban-El, among others. The family finds itself under attack by the Red King. The Legion of Super-Heroes has meanwhile disbanded and the United Planets disbands soon as well, after Ultra Boy tries to reconstitute his former team and one of the Legionnaires betrays them.
In the year 4500, Swamp Thing has become the ruler of Earth, after the human population was devastated by a war. The surviving humans under Floronic Man decide to fight back against Swamp Thing, believing he will wipe them out, not knowing he's planning to bring darkness to the world to kill life using Obsidian's powers. Swamp Thing decides to assault their fortress and kills Floronic Man, before turning into a giant tree that allows humans to survive before the sun can return again.
Black Adam rules the planet of Kahndaq in the year 82,020 and is forced to save all reality from the possessed Raven, at the cost of being imprisoned in the Rock of Eternity again. At the "end of time", with Diana still surviving while most of her friends and fellow Amazons are dead. As the "Undoing" of the universe begins, Diana races against time to stop whatever is behind it. She succeeds in destroying it due to her inner power of truth and hope, and recreates the universe.
Back in the normal timeline of Prime Earth, the Spectre reveals to Wonder Woman, who had seen this future after her ascension, that it is one of the many possible futures. Whether it comes to pass depends on what humanity does.
- Future State: Aquaman #1
- Future State: Aquaman #2
- Future State: Batman/Superman #1
- Future State: Batman/Superman #2
- Future State: Catwoman #1
- Future State: Catwoman #2
- Future State: Dark Detective #1
- Future State: Dark Detective #2
- Future State: Dark Detective #3
- Future State: Dark Detective #4
- Future State: The Flash #1
- Future State: The Flash #2
- Future State: Gotham #1
- Future State: Gotham #2
- Future State: Gotham #3
- Future State: Green Lantern #1
- Future State: Green Lantern #2
- Future State: Harley Quinn #1
- Future State: Harley Quinn #2
- Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1
- Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2
- Future State: Justice League #1
- Future State: Justice League #2
- Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman #1
- Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman #2
- Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1
- Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2
- Future State: Nightwing #1
- Future State: Nightwing #2
- Future State: Robin Eternal #1
- Future State: Robin Eternal #2
- Future State: Shazam! #1
- Future State: Shazam! #2
- Future State: Suicide Squad #1
- Future State: Suicide Squad #2
- Future State: Superman: House of El #1
- Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1
- Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #2
- Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1
- Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2
- Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1
- Future State: Superman of Metropolis #2
- Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #1
- Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #2
- Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #3
- Future State: Swamp Thing #1
- Future State: Swamp Thing #2
- Future State: Teen Titans #1
- Future State: Teen Titans #2
- Future State: Teen Titans - Ruins #1
- Future State: The Next Batman #1
- Future State: The Next Batman #2
- Future State: The Next Batman #3
- Future State: The Next Batman #4
- Future State: Wonder Woman #1
- Future State: Wonder Woman #2
- The event is based on the cancelled 5G initiative, which would have seen the main DC heroes aged and replaced, with a two-month break in publishing of regular comics to make way for the completion of some 5G books.
- Some elements of Future State would later be adapted into the main continuity.