We recently celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in honor of the civil rights leaders famous for his passionate speeches decrying discrimination and racism and praying for a future in which all men and women are seen as equal, regardless of skin color. He was assassinated in 1968.
On January 5th, DC Comics unveiled the first black Batman since the character was created in 1939. It’s 2021.
— Batman (@DCBatman) December 10, 2020
DC hired Oscar-winning screenwriter and novelist John Ridley to pen a four-book miniseries featuring Tim Fox, the son of Lucius Fox (the character played by Morgan Freeman in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy) taking up the cowl. The series will be drawn by with art by Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez.
The series is titled “Future State: The Next Batman,” and has the following synopsis on Amazon:
The DC timeline has been shattered, and the pieces of a dark possible “Future State” are reflected! Giant, sprawling future Gotham City is under martial law, protected and regulated by a private security force led by the infamous Peacekeepers. Their mandate is to maintain the safety of the citizens of Gotham, regardless of any Constitutional rights, and to hunt down, incarcerate, or kill all masked vigilantes, villains, and criminals in the city limits. It’s a dangerous and violent look at a possible future Gotham City and the heroes and villains who live there!
It’s in that version of Gotham that Tim Fox becomes the first black Batman in the character’s 82-year history, during a time in which issues of race are as much at the forefront as they’ve been at any point over the past several decades.
“When we contextualized The Next Batman, we baked certain things into the equation that were going to allow us to discuss stories in a sandbox that were going to be bordered by race, class, policing, and community—those quadrants,” Ridley explains. “Everybody knew going in that they would deal with that.”
The presence of a Batman with a different background and perspective also makes for a Batman who operates a bit differently as well.
“Bruce Wayne had the money. Bruce Wayne had the access. Bruce Wayne had the ability to go anywhere and beat up anybody. He could beat up white people. He could beat up people of color,” Ridley told The Ringer . “If he was beating them up, they were clearly, clearly bad. It was never that sort of gray area of ‘Well, you pulled over someone and you made them a suspect, but were they suspect?’”
In one scene, instead of turning over a couple of young gang members to the police, Batman takes them to children’s services. “What happens after that… is up to you,” he tells them, before vanishing, as he does.
Ridley feels the weight of his responsibility, not only to bring a black Batman to kids all over the world but as a black comics writer. In both cases, “We need to make room at the table,” he says.
Future State: The Next Batman is a good start.
It’s available for pre-order on Amazon for $35.
Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.