DC as a publisher may like to keep their publishing plans close to the vest, but longtime readers and observers know they also love to foreshadow their plans in seemingly innocuous and often seemingly unrelated (but very deliberate) 'installments.'
In other words, DC likes to reveal what's coming up on layaway.
Publisher/chief creative officer Jim Lee recently made a news payment in his fan Q&As during part two of DC Fandome. Lee chose a question and answered it in a way to make it very clear the rumored and so-called '5G' reboot that was seemingly to be the culmination of the original incarnation of the 'Generations' event (a fixation of the industry rumor mill early this year) was "not going to happen."
Whether '5G' was ever a fully-greenlighted publishing plan we may never know. And exactly the reasons why and sequence of events surrounding the exit of co-publisher Dan DiDio and the subsequent shelving of the 'Generations' project in its original form we may also never know. But for whatever their reasons, DC wants its readers to know this:
THERE. WILL. NOT. BE. A. REBOOT.
Perhaps the notion of readers drawing an association with the seemingly more-maligned-as-the-years-pass full reboot 'The New 52' put the fear of Darkseid into DC brass, but that's neither here nor there. Because Lee's delivered-on-the-sly 'Future State' preamble makes figuring out what the January and February 2021 event is a little easier.
Let's put it all together, shall we?
What we already know
As clearly stated in the teaser, 'Future State' takes place in January and February. In other words, it only takes place in January and February. Not beginning in January. Not extending past February.
In DC terms, that means it is finite.
- January 5's Dark Nights: Death Metal finale leads directly into the 80-page Generations: Shattered #1 (which looks very much like it'll be the first of bookend chapters), that same week, which in turn leads directly into 'Future State.'
Now let's do some house cleaning. A lead-in story by Dan Jurgens in Detective Comics #1027 features Kamandi appearing in the 'original' 1939 Batman's past to recruit him into an Avengers Forever-like team of time-plucked heroes at the behest of Booster Gold (who Kamandi refers to as an "old man"). The story concludes noting it will be continued in Generations: Future State #1.
Newsarama is willing to bet DC changed branding plans after that went to the printer and that there will not be a Generations: Shattered #1 and a Generations: Future State #1, but that they're one and the same and will be published as the solicited Generations: Shattered #1.
- Shattered #1 is written by Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, and Robert Venditti, 60% of the writing team of the original incarnation of the Generations event, with the other two absent writers being Brian Michael Bendis and Joshua Williamson.
In other words, to whatever degree that previous 'Generations' event has been reimagined or reinvented after DiDio's exit, the coronavirus industry shutdown, and mass personal changes that are still occurring at DC, the two incarnations share DNA and are related to 'Future State.'
What nobody noticed about the December 2020 DC solicitations
Perhaps the key to understanding the likely nature of 'Future State' is to again consider the things DC is already trying to tell us all on the down-low.
Recalling that DC has in recent months canceled a large handful of ongoing series like Batgirl, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad (a condition that won't last with a film coming up), and Hawkman, according to DC's December 2020 solicitations every single remaining core DC Universe series either concludes a story arc in December or isn't in a multi-month arc.
Batman #105: "… the no-holds-barred conclusion of this epic tale."
Wonder Woman #769: "It's the final chapter of the 'Sage of Lords.'"
Superman #28 and Action Comics #1028: End of the Brian Bendis era.
Justice League, Justice League Dark, Aquaman, and The Flash: All involved in the finite, December-only 'Endless Winter' crossover story arc sans their current creative teams.
And recall Aquaman was already without a regular creative team before the December Justice League crossover.
Add to that the surprisingly now small number of other ongoing core DCU series like Detective Comics, Nightwing, Red Hood, Superman/Batman, etc, are all in seemingly one-off stories in December.
So every mainstream DCU title has no story baggage in January or February. A clean slate.
Again, if you know DC's M.O., you know that is no coincidence.