A new year means new beginnings, and DC is kicking off 2021 by introducing a new Dark Knight in the just released Future State: The Next Batman. This exciting four-issue limited series will be written by Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley and illustrated by Nick Derington and Laura Braga. The Next Batman will see Lucius Fox’s son Tim don the Batman mantle and take on Gotham’s corrupt ruling class.
While crafting his story, there was no question for Ridley on who the next Dark Knight would be.
“Tim (Fox) was the first choice,” explains Ridley. “I think there are a lot of characters out there that could have been Batman, but for me, I think their motivations were not hyper clear. And I don’t want to force change to either the detriment of stories that came before or having to overly modify what was going to come. Tim just allowed for a really particular narrative, which we believe is going to allow for a very particular incarnation of his Batman.”
Tim Fox first appeared in 1979’s Batman #313, where he was introduced as Lucius Fox’s troubled son. Ridley had fond memories of reading Len Wein and Irv Novick’s Bronze Age Batman storylines and enjoyed catching up on them in preparation for this series.
“DC’s got an amazing library of stuff that they’ve lent,” he reveals. “PDFs going back in the day, going back finding every occurrence of Tim. More than just the Batman stuff. Honestly, it’s just where the Fox family showed up, getting as much of a primer on them as humanly possible.”
The Gotham that Tim will be facing will be a bit different than the one most readers are familiar with. In the world of DC Future State, the city resembles a police state, with a law enforcement agency known as the Magistrate ruling with an iron fist.
“There are going to be changes in the hierarchical structure of the Gotham City police, of the administrations—all kinds of things going on with Bat people,” Ridley teases. “Gotham is a character. It represents any major urban area and all the challenges that go with it—all kinds of crime, high and low, all kinds of people, all kinds of neighborhoods, all kinds of perspectives, people on the right side of the law who view what implementation of the law means, and certainly all kinds of people on the wrong side of the law, who want to take advantage of everything that’s in the city, take advantage of people and opportunities. I want to lean into the human vastness of Gotham City. You look at any major metropolitan area and there are just difficulties of policing those cities, and I don’t mean the political difficulties of it. I mean just how many officers per capita, per square mile. How do the beat cops see things differently than the detectives and the political administration?”
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Future State: The Next Batman by John Ridley, Nick Derington,Tamra Bonvillain and others is now available in print and as a digital comic book.