The new Black Racer from Future State clearly wants to be a heroic figure, but is she fated for a more deadly role going forward.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “Future State: Black Racer” from Future State: Superman – Worlds of War #1 by Jeremy Adams, Siya Oum, Hi-Fi & Gabriela Downie, on sale now
The New Gods are some of the most impactful forces within the DC Universe, with their legacies stretching across the eons of time and space. Future State has introduced the newest incarnation of one of their most powerful beings.
But after her debut in Future State: Superman – Worlds of War, the new Black Racer could potentially become a cosmic hero, despite that mantle’s legacy as an avatar of death.
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As revealed in one of the back-up stories from Future State: Superman – Worlds of War #1, the new Black Racer is a young woman named Tanda. In her past, she was a racer — who during a dangerous turn was distracted by a mysterious figure staring back at her through her reflection. Crashing, Tanda was announced dead to the horror of her friends Talla and Dees, but she was somehow returned to life under mysterious circumstances. It appears that she can’t die like normal people — allowing Tanda to come back to life despite the lethal consequences of her injuries. The story is intercut with her current adventures on Warworld. By this point, it’s clear that Tanda has become far more skilled with her abilities, even using them to free a number of slaves within the bowels of Warworld.
It’s here that Tanda proves to be far more heroic than even she may have expected. Moving through the station, Tanda is determined to find Talla, who is apparently somewhere on Warworld. But passing the trapped working class, she decides she can’t just leave them to rot. It’s this moment that suggests Tanda might have the potential to become a major hero, having the kind of impulsive nobility that would inspire confidence in figures like Superman. If Black Racer were able to escape Warworld, she could become a potentially potent and skilled hero in her own right. However, there’s the question about what her powers really mean, and the responsibility they may force upon her.
The Black Racer first appeared in New Gods #3 by Jack Kirby and serves as the personification of death for the cosmic-level New Gods. It comes for all New Gods as it comes for everything — although the New Gods avatar is a specifically powerful version of Death. In the Pre-Crisis DC Universe, the Black Racer fused with Willie Walker, a paralyzed veteran of the Vietnam war. Riding across the galaxy in black armor and atop a set of skis, the Black Racer is comparative to Death of the Endless. The Black Racer was crucial to the defeat of Darkseid in Final Crisis, and first appeared in the Post-Flashpoint DC Universe during the events of the “Darkseid War” storyline. It even briefly possessed Barry Allen — almost breaking the Flash’s spirit in the process.
Given her powers and the fact that the reflection she witnessed during her race seemed to be Willie Walker, it’s likely that Tanda has inherited his connection with death — which would explain her seeming incapability to actually die. It’s notable that Tanna might have a similar connection to Jog, a member of the present-day Suicide Squad who resisted the offer of power from the Black Racer. However, this means that she might also have to take on his role as an avatar of death. If Tanda wants to turn the Black Racer into a more heroic kind of figure in the universe, then she might have to resist the natural call that comes with her newfound powers.
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