Throughout their storied history in the pages of DC Comics, Batman and Superman appear to be opposites, but they’re not. Well, they weren’t before…
In the DC Universe, no other duo epitomizes the dichotomy of heroism than the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, Batman and Superman, at least symbolically. A symbol of hope juxtaposed to a warrior of vengeance, there’s been a general assumption among writers, artists, and fans that, in many ways, the two represent opposite ends of the spectrum within the headspace of the superhero; that they embody a kind of distilled microcosm of diametrically distanced archetypes within the concept of superherodom in general. However, coming up in Future State: Batman/Superman, writer Gene Luen Yang (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Shang-Chi) has a different take on the storied alliance of these two iconic characters, and it’s quite the contrary to this long-running ethos. Because they’re were not actually opposites… but they will be by the end of this story.
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A two-month company-wide crossover, Future State takes place in a possible future timeline where Bruce Wayne is believed to be dead, and a new Batman now watches over Gotham which has devolved into a totalitarian state. On top of this, Superman has abandoned Earth, the result of a previous schism between the two long-term friends. The Batman/Superman arc will take place early in the timeline of this catastrophe and see a dystopian Gotham having been taken over by a mysterious private security force known as ‘The Magistrate’ in response to the mayor, Christopher Nakano, instituting a ban on masked heroes. This is something that could have only occurred if Superman abandoned Bruce.
Lang explained his take and shed some light on the impending separation by highlighting a point of contention within the two heroes’ philosophies while comparing the two heroes in a press release from DC.com, saying:
I think of Superman and Batman as uneasy friends. They respect and care for each other, but they’re also really, really different people. They share the same goals, but they have different methods for achieving those goals. Their friendship is built on what they hold in common, and usually that’s enough. In Future State, it isn’t.
He said of Superman that “in Future State, [he] has his first real look at Gotham after the arrival of the Magistrate. He’s shocked. He doesn’t like what he sees at all. The Magistrate goes against everything Superman holds dear.”
Solicits for the series have shown Clark Kent arriving in Gotham to help aid Batman against The Magistrate, only to be captured by a mutated Professor Pyg and held in kryptonite caverns beneath the city. But, despite this dramatic circumstance. there’s something else at play. Superman as a symbol stands against tyranny and injustice and sees Batman as a necessary agent in taking down criminals and threats to the public, not so different in ends despite differing means between the two heroes.
However, if The Magistrate and their legally sanctioned legions of armed enforcers’ prevalence throughout the future of this dark timeline is any indication, Superman does not come to the rescue of Batman, nor Gotham at the end of this tale. Something repulsed Superman so much that it has caused him to turn his back on a threat that goes against everything he stands for. It’s likely he sees his former friend as undeserving of saving, and at the very least is unmoved by Gotham’s plight, if not viewing the city as in need of strict and draconian law and order. This new status quo, so different from their historical alliance in the main DC continuities, would be a manifestation of a true dichotomy of opposite ideology between them; two forces of justice pitted against each other in true philosophical opposition.
Whether or not it comes to blows, we can only guess, but it shows that Batman and Superman were never truly opposites, merely different aspects of the same kind of virtue. Until now, that is. Future State: Batman/Superman #1 goes on sale January 27, wherever comic books are sold.
Next: DC Future State Theory: Batman’s Son Damian Is Leading The Magistrate
Source: DC Comics
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