Doctor Fate just stole the Infinity War gambit from Doctor Strange, but with no possible futures the heroes win in, he needs to get smarter.

Spoilers for Future State: Justice League # 2 ahead!

One of the most famous scenes in Avengers: Infinity War represents the Supreme Sorcerer Strange doctor using the Time Stone to search millions of timelines to find a way to defeat Thanos. But in DC Future state, Destiny Doctor he just took it a step further when he realized that there were no futures in which the Justice League Dark would win the day. The story of Future State: Justice League # 2, is written by Ram V with art by Marcio Takara and colors by Marcel Maiolo, and is available in stores and through digital comic outlets.

Earth’s wizarding community has been disrupted in the near future by the wizard Merlin, with magic users going to war to prevent his fanatical purge. Merlin’s hordes have killed many and driven others like John Constantine into hiding. Merlin landed another blow by separating Etrigan from his human host Jason Blood and then taking Blood hostage to ensure Etrigan never attacked him, robbing the heroes of a potentially powerful ally. All seems lost until Zatanna, Etrigan (now linked to Detective Chimp), and Ragman reform the Justice League Dark to begin tracking down magic users and do a final battle against Merlin.

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Related: Future Versions of Doctor Fate Explained

As the team faces Merlin one last time, Blood returns and betrays them, allying himself with Merlin. He tries to kill Etrigan, but Doctor Fate intervenes and agrees to Merlin’s service if he forgives Earth. Zatanna and the team protest, but he tells them that he has seen and lived all possible futures and that this particular timeline is not one where they win. It reminds Etrigan that he is a demon and therefore perceives time differently from mortals, and that “Past actions may still be influenced by the future you have seen.” Merlin accepts Fate’s offer, and the two of them abandon our plane of existence, leaving the team pondering a losing battle.

Fans will recognize this tactic – Doctor Strange employed it in Infinity war, searching 14 million timelines for one where the heroes defeated Thanos. But even taking a look at 14 million timelines doesn’t compare to living them everybody. And while Strange was able to find the timeline where Thanos was defeated and help make it come true, Fate has to quickly acknowledge that her timeline is already too advanced and think of another solution. Although his deal with Merlin is tragic, he keeps the necessary pieces on the board and reveals information that an earlier version of Etrigan could use to change events thanks to his special relationship with time.

Sure enough, fans are watching a version of Strange doctor‘s Infinity war gambit where there are no possible victories, and yet the most powerful sorcerer in DC: Destiny Doctor – still find a way to get by. With the implication that he died millions of times to gain this new perspective, and an ending that is one part hope and fifty parts doom, this story prepares the Justice League Dark for one of their most important adventures; one in which they already lost, but may still have a chance to regain victory.

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