As a new iteration of the Outsiders in Future State’s Gotham City forms, two fan-favorite superheroes find their bond deepening.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for “Outsiders”, a story in Future state: the next Batman # 3, by Brandon Thomas, Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez, Jordie Bellaire and Steve Wands, on sale now
As the Magistrate squeezes his group over Gotham City in the alternate Future State timeline, the familiar heroes and villains have changed their tactics and appearances in the face of his authoritarian rule. As a new Batman defends the streets of Gotham and works to overthrow the Magistrate for good, the Outsiders have undergone their own transformation, with two ever closer friends and lifelong partners. Katana and Black Lightning’s relationship takes a new turn that, unfortunately, is tragically familiar to the swordswoman.
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At some point during the course of the Magistrate’s rise to power, Jefferson Pierce lost his bodily form and became a living bolt of electricity, not unlike the Justice Society of America superhero Johnny Thunder. As the two teammates reunite in Future State’s dystopia, Black Lightning reveals to Katana that an incident involving cursed magic to continue as her namesake. And although Jefferson has given up any hope of restoring his former body, he is drawn to the Soultaker sword, Katana’s signature.
An ancient weapon claimed by the villain Takeo Yamashiro as he rose through the ranks of Japan’s yakuza, the Soultaker was used to assassinate his own brother Maseo for the love of Maseo’s wife, Tatsu. Disarming Takeo and claiming his sword for her, Tatsu discovered that, true to its name, the Soultaker absorbed the souls of anyone who was killed by its sword, including Maseo. Able to communicate with her husband’s spirit directly through the sword, Tatsu underwent rigorous training and created Katana’s superhero cloak, eventually traveling to the United States where he would join Batman’s Outsiders and occasionally flock in. help from the Suicide Squad as he continued to wield. the Soultaker.
The Soultaker provided Black Lightning with a crucial base point to remember who he is and regain a semblance of his past humanity. Amazingly, Black Lightning effectively becomes one with the sword in Future State. Now sizzling with his superhero electrical energy, the new Soultaker is more deadly than ever, with Black Lightning able to manifest aside from the sword in his raw energy state to help the Outsiders defend Gotham. And with Katana feeling that his long debt and association with Black Lightning have been fulfilled, the stoic superhero passes the Soultaker to the young hero Signal. Signal and Jefferson combine their efforts to bring the fight directly to the Magistrate’s forces as part of their ongoing attempt to free Gotham from its rule.
Heroes can still be driven underground by the magistrate, but that does not mean that they are operating in isolation from each other. Black Lightning may have lost his normal body, but now a new Sign protects Gotham City with the being that was once Jefferson Pierce by his side, armed with an even more formidable Soultaker for a new generation. And as the Magistrate begins to face increasing resistance to his rule, Katana and Black Lightning’s new partnership may prove to be his electrifying undoing as Future State nears its climactic end in time for Infinite Frontier.
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