DC Comics Are Teasing A New Joker

The Dark Knight Joker

Perhaps the most consistently successful villain for DC Comics, the Joker has been remade and adapted into various universes and contexts over the years. The box office impact of Joker has also seen DC expand the line-up of titles with the character, from Black Label specials to a new ongoing series. However, the latest issue of Future State: Gotham, has dropped a hint that there will be another Joker coming to its world.

The reveal comes during a fight between the Joker’s most recent girlfriend (of sorts) Punchline, Harley Quinn, and Hunter Panic, part of the dystopic near-future Gotham City of the Future State continuity, currently established as one potential outcome of the streamlined DC universe. Harley manages to chain up Punchline, who holds conversations with visions of the Clown Prince of Crime, and warns that she should fear the “next Joker.”

While it’s still unclear who that might be, Future State appears to be expanding the “Joker War” thread that led to the precarious position that the Gotham of the contemporary comic series finds itself in, as well as a Second Joker War that we’ve had a few references to. Punchline, however, is more concerned about the “clown hell” that the city will face, presumably led by the next Joker as an even more dangerous version of the original villain.

Given that Future State introduced Jace Fox as the new Batman, it makes sense that an opportunist could step into the space left by the missing or possibly deceased Joker in this timeline. Of course, we’ve had some efforts to bring the Joker back into a futuristic setting before in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, but that storyline took place at a greater remove from the present, compared to Future State being set mostly in 2025 and 2027.

Whomever the updated Joker is, it’d arguably be a surprise not to be someone that has an existing connection to Gotham’s history, considering that much of Future State has been about developing fresh heroes alongside their predecessors. It’s also hard to imagine anyone doing more damage than the familiar Joker, so it’ll be intriguing to read how DC chooses to handle such a high-profile figure alongside other projects with the antagonist.