DC's Sci-Fi Future
by Chaim Mattis Keller
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words "future of the DC Universe"?
If you say "Legion of Super-Heroes", you're in good company or at least a large amount of company. But the Legion's future is one thousand years away! The DC Universe has a treasure trove of heroes whose adventures are meant to take place within the next two centuries. According to History of the DC Universe, these include (in the order that that book lists them):
Hex, Chris KL-99, Star Rovers, Star Hawkins, Space Cabby, OMAC, Tommy Tomorrow
To this list we can probably add Manhunter 2070, who made one DC Universe appearance, admittedly pre-Crisis, in Showcase # 100.
So who are these heroes of our future? What will happen to the DCU we know and love within the next two centuries? Here's a speculative "history" compiled from what these characters' stories say about them. Regarding Tommy Tomorrow, who's been said to exist in no less than four different time-periods over the course of his appearances, we will consider the most frequent one, which has him operating in the mid-to-late 21st century.
Note: the Twilight miniseries, which deals with Tommy Tomorrow, Star Hawkins, the Star Rovers and Manhunter 2070 does not take place in DC Continuity. It is an Elseworlds. This is obvious from the fact that the comic claims to be depicting events that occur over a thousand-year period, which would contradict the Legion of Super-Heroes stories, an established part of DC continuity.
One other thing that this article will do will be to explain the discrepancies between the various stories featuring these characters regarding the appearance of the inhabitants of the other planets in our solar system (or indeed, the fact that they're inhabited at all). The following scans show just the different Martians in these stories, but the same applies to Venusians, Jovians, etc. Of course, we could just write it off as Hypertime or ignore it completely, since continuity wasn't considered important to the writers of those stories. But I prefer to take the long way around.
Mystery in space # 21 (Space Cabby Story)
Mystery in Space # 24 (Space Cabby story)
Strange Adventures # 114 (Star Hawkins story)
Strange Adventures # 176 (Star Hawkins story)
Strange Adventures # 182 (Star Hawkins story)
Showcase # 41 (Tommy Tomorrow story)
DC Comics Presents # 78 (Chris KL-99 story)
2030: The ruler of the world, Monarch, disappears. Chaos results, and about seven different political entities end up with nuclear weapons. A mysterious man names Mr. Big (who appeared in Superboy a few months back) takes advantage of the confusion to carve for himself a large commercial empire.
c. 2040: One of these governmental bodies, the Global Peace Agency, has benevolent intentions toward the entire world, and begins scientific projects to advance Earth. Three of those projects are: a time travel project, involving Reinhold Borsten, a space travel project, and a super-soldier project. The super-soldier project, which involves powering a person by linking him or her to a satellite called Brother Eye in orbit around Earth, is completed in a few months, and empowers Buddy Blank, an employee of Mr. Big, to become OMAC. OMAC disappears on a trip through time to cripple Mr. Big's operations (both OMAC series).
2042: Reinhold Borsten completes the time machine and uses it to discover that nuclear war will erupt in 2045. He uses this knowledge to set up arrangements for him to become a power in the post-nuclear world.
2045: Nuclear war erupts, poisoning much of the world's water supply and devastating many areas around the globe. Soames, pills which can instantly decontaminate water, become the global medium of exchange. Borsten, who has become an entertainment magnate by using his time machine to bring warriors from past eras to fight battles, brings Jonah Hex for that purpose, but Hex escapes from Borsten and becomes a fighter for freedom, eventually returning to his own time (Hex # 1 - 18).
c. 2050: The space travel project bears fruit, and Earthling astronauts travel to other planets for the first time. This captures the world's wonder, and people across Earth begin to pledge their affiliation to the Global Peace Agency, either for the thrill of discovery or in the hopes of finding riches beyond their home planet.
The Global Peace Agency finds itself in a position over the other powers vying for control of Earth. It arranges the assembly of the Planeteer Corps, which will colonize other planets and defend Earth against threats from outer space. The National Science Center, an Earth-wide law-enforcement agency, is formed as well.
c. 2055: With Earthlings having officially achieved space travel, representatives of an alien planetary alliance seek contact with Earth. Out of the necessity of being able to deal with the aliens with a unified front, Earthlings form a single, democratically run governmental body. The aliens and Earth make a pact allowing immigration to the worlds of the Solar system under colonial governments to be run by Earth. This begins a wave of immigrants from many other planets to the Solar system, each race settling on whichever planet's temperature and atmosphere are most compatible with it. Many new immigrants join the Planeteer corps. Around this time, Planeteer General Horatio Tomorrow finds a ten-year-old boy who'd been abandoned in the Command D bunker of a Planeteer base. He adopts the child and names him Thomas.
2060: The father of young John Starker, a prospector in space, is killed by pirates, and John is made their slave (Showcase # 92).
c. 2062: Tommy Tomorrow enters the Planeteer Academy, the West Point of Space. Together with the Venusian cadet Lon Vuryal, he earns many praises and eventually rises to the rank of Colonel (Showcase # 41, 42, 44, 46, 47). After earning that rank, he is paired with Captain Brent Wood, and the two have many far-ranging adventures, capturing criminals, helping people and discovering many previously unknown planets (Action Comics # 101 - 251, World's Finest Comics # 101 - 124, DC Special # 27).
2070: John Starker escapes from slavery and turns the pirates in to the local law enforcement authorities. This begins his career as Manhunter 2070 (Showcase # 90-93). He becomes extremely rich and is able to afford his own space ship, but personal spacecraft remain far beyond the means of the average Earthling. Commercial space travel is run by the Earth government.
c. 2077: Star Hawkins, Private Eye, begins his career.
2079: Star Hawkins acquires his robot helper, Ilda and, over the next thirteen years, solves many cases (Strange Adventures # 114, 116, 119, 122, 125, 128, 131, 134, 137, 140, 143, 146, 149, 152, 155, 158, 162, 173, 176, 179, 182, 185).
2092: Star Hawkins captures B10-Room, a top agent of the Council of Five Planets, an interplanetary alliance hostile to Earth. He receives a huge bounty and retires from sleuthing, instead founding a school to teach robots such as Ilda how to become detectives (DC Comics Presents # 33).
c. 2100: New advancements in space travel technology allow even the moderately wealthy to purchase spacecraft for personal use. The government monopoly on space transport is broken by several companies offering taxi service.
c. 2120: The first baby to be born in outer space is Christopher Columbus Ambler (Strange Adventures # 1, Secret Origins # 43).
c. 2128: Chris is kidnaped by the last 98 members of the alien race known as the K'L (Secret Origins # 43).
c. 2137: The K'L return to Earth and are attacked by the Earth government, who considered the kidnaping of Chris to be a hostile act. Chris reveals that the K'L's intentions were actually benevolent, and declares himself to be Chris KL-99, on a quest to find some vestige of the race he has half-adopted as his own (Secret Origins # 43). He eventually befriends the Martian Halk and the Venusian Jerro, and with the two of them discovers even more new planets than Tommy Tomorrow had (Strange Adventures # 1 - 15, DC Comics Presents # 78).
c. 2154: The Space Cabby begins working for 9-Planet taxi and has many adventures (Mystery in Space # 21, 24, 26-47, DC Comics Presents # 78).
2161: Athlete Rick Purvis, hunter Homer Glint and markswoman Karel Sorensen (original name: Mary Smith) compete to capture the elusive Loborilla. Each believes that he or she has done it, but after comparing their stories and hearing from the intelligent Loborilla itself, they discover that none of them have (Mystery in Space # 66). This begins a three-way friendly rivalry, and the trio of adventurers, who are rich enough to own their own spacecraft, becomes known as the Star Rovers (Mystery in Space # 69, 74, 77, 80, 83, 86, Strange Adventures # 159, 163).
And after that? Space Ranger. Gary Concord, the Ultra-Man. A world rules by Rotwang and the creation of Mekanique. The Space Museum. Reverse-Flash. Booster Gold. And a host of Flashes. The future for the DC universe is wide-open someone just has to notice.
All characters are DC Comics
This column is © 1999 by Chaim Mattis Keller.
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All DC Comics characters, trademarks and images (where used) are DC Comics, Inc.
DC characters are used here in fan art and fiction in accordance with their generous "fair use" policies.
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