Future State: Shazam reveals that one Justice League hero has been imprisoned in Iron Heights after taking serious damage in an undisclosed event.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Future State: Shazam #1 by Tim Sheridan, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Marcelo Maiolo & Rob Leigh, on sale now.
In the years between the modern days of the DC Universe and the dark timeline of Future State, multiple heroes have been broken in different ways. But while some have died in the process and others have done their best to overcome these changes, some that have seemingly become dangerous enough to imprison, including a long-time member of the Justice League.
As hinted at in Future State: Shazam, a severely damaged Red Tornado appears to be trapped in Iron Heights.
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The timeline of Future State has largely turned on the superhero community. While the Magistrate’s capture of various heroes and villains seems directed at everyone who would wear a mask at all, other prisons — such as Iron Heights — seem still positioned as places to contain dangerous threats. Various heroes have been arrested or forced into hiding, with Superman even being forced off-planet due to undisclosed actions taken by the Man of Steel. As revealed in Future State: Shazam, Iron Heights is still primarily used to house criminals. Located in the mysterious “New Badlands,” Iron Heights contains multiple figures. While Giganta and a Manhunter Robot arrive at the prison to help the Creeper escape confinement, a handful of other prisoners are revealed, including a mentally hindered Gorilla Grodd.
Notably, one cell is home to someone who in the modern day is regarded as a hero: Red Tornado. The robotic creation of T.O. Morrow, Red Tornado has proven repeatedly to be a heroic figure, even recently risking his life by fighting in the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal. But by the time of Future State, it appears that something has gone horribly wrong from Red Tornado. He’s been kept within a prison, not by the Justice League or his typical allies but rather the guards assigned to containing villains. He’s missing at least one arm, which doesn’t seem to be in the room. He’s shown to be somewhat conscious of his surroundings and repeatedly states that there has been an error. But he’s also aware that something is wrong and seems to be seeking assistance from anyone who passes.
From all of this, it’s clear that something significant happened to Red Tornado, but it’s not clear what that is. He’s been damaged before, only to be reconstructed and restored. As he was killed by the Robin King and was likely restored for the final battle of Dark Nights: Death Metal by Batman activating the Black Lantern Ring, perhaps he was seriously damaged in the process. There’s also the chance that Red Tornado was one of the beings specifically targeted and damaged during the mysterious circumstances by which the original Justice League disbanded. He could have been one of the victims of the chaos that erupted during that event, but if that was the case then Red Tornado would more likely be taken care of by some of his former teammates.
But there could also be a more nefarious reason for Red Tornado’s damage. It’s already been confirmed that there is a traitor within the Justice League, whose attempt to bring down the team resulted in numerous deaths. Perhaps Red Tornado was involved — or used in the battle. While the mystery of the Creeper’s role in the world of Future State will likely take the forefront of Future State: Shazam — especially as the heroes try to figure out exactly why Shazam murdered him — the mystery of Red Tornado presents an equally intriguing possibility.
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