We recently learned that a new Joker is coming to DC Comics, albeit as part of the potential “Future State” of the Universe. The idea came from the fourth release of the ongoing Future State Gotham series, wherein Harley Quinn, Punchline, and Hunter Panic are fighting it out in the streets of Gotham, and Punchline mentions that they should be afraid of the “next Joker”. What this reveal will involve has now been expanded upon in a tease of a future plot based around the character.
Dennis Culver announced on Twitter this week that he’ll be assuming full writing responsibilities on Future State Gotham, with “The Next Joker” as an arc beginning with issue 8 in December this year. The writer also shared a preview of what to come with this version of the villain, available below, who wears a clown mask and a jumpsuit, as well as possessing what appears to be flaming hair. In the background, we can also see billboards have been taken over by smiley faces, a hint of the chaos facing the city.
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While there aren’t many details yet, there is a synopsis listed for the start of the arc at League of Comic Geeks:
As the Magistrate continues to tighten its iron fist around Gotham City, things get even worse when the successor to the Clown Prince of Crime takes up the mantle and becomes the Next Joker! As the villain embarks on a murderous rampage across the city, only one man stands between him and his latest victim…the scoundrel for hire known as Grifter?
Given that “Future State” has introduced a new incarnation of Batman in Jace Fox, it’s logical that another iconic element of Gotham would show up. There’ve been hints in previous instalments of Future State Gotham of what’s happened to the Joker after the “Joker War” in the present continuity, and as-yet-unseen second conflict. The original Joker (something that’s always up for debate), has been noticeably absent from the dystopian near-future DC Universe, although the current Joker title has him on the run. We also get him appearing as what might be a vision to Punchline, if not a ghost.
Given how DC’s present-day books seem be setting up events for the “Future State” era, which occurs roughly between 2025 and 2027, we may find out what took place with the Joker and who this incoming figure will be. With chances there’ll be plenty more Joker-themed material on the way, including reports of multiple versions of the Clown Prince of Crime, it’ll be intriguing to explore this updated take and how it ties into the potentially dystopic near-future for the Batman and DC lines.