DC Comics’ Future State event is in full swing and this week, Future State: Teen Titans #1 brings readers a look at how the iconic team of younger DC heroes is faring in this possible future and it’s a grim state of things. The issue reveals quite a few changes to the team — including the deaths of some heroes — but the most shocking may just be the mantle one hero takes up. On the pages of Future State: Teen Titans #1, one Titan becomes the new Deathstroke.
Warning: spoilers for Future State: Teen Titans #1 below.
All through Future State: Teen Titan #1 it’s clear that Dick Grayson/Nightwing is dealing with whatever the catastrophe that made the world as it is now quite different than the rest of his team. As he and Emiko Queen/Red Arrow go to a destroyed Teen Titans Island to look for something in the ruins — and are confronted with the grave markers for their fallen teammates — it’s even noted that he’s “extra Nightwingy”. That soon gives way to the revelation of deep tension between himself and Koriand’r/Starfire and a serious differing of opinion on how their current situation should be handled.
Interspersed in the book are also some flashbacks to Dick’s birthday in which he is given a Red X mask, with the flashbacks cementing the striking difference between the Nightwing who is a respected leader who is more a symbol of hope to this darker, more grim version we’re seeing in the present. While it’s not completely clear what the event is that led the team and perhaps the world to the devastation glimpsed in the book’s opening, what is clear that Dick feels responsible for it. It’s also clear that he is determined to “win one” after all the loss. While the rest of the team presumably goes to help Shazam deal with a significant threat, Dick goes to the cell in which a mysterious threat is being held.
Dick releases the captive — who is revealed to be the second Red X, real identity not yet revealed — but the real revelation is who Dick becomes. The hero puts on the Deathstroke mask, a very grim turn for the hero.
This is a major shift for the character and according to Future State: Teen Titans #1 writer Tim Sheridan, after the event that led to the world as it’s presented, Dick “found a kinship with Slade, essentially swapping Batman for Deathstroke” and Sheridan told CBR, he wanted to see what happens when Nightwing ends up affected by the darkness he deals with.
“My image of Nightwing is of someone who has been through it all, yet manages to do this very difficult job without being affected by the darkness. I thought, let’s see what happens when he does get affected by the darkness, and surprisingly, it’s not Batman who influenced him to get to that point. What we see here is that it’s Deathstroke’s influence that has done the damage,” Sheridan explained.
Future State: Teen Titans #1 is available now.