Warning! Spoilers ahead for Future State: Gotham #4
In the latest issue of DC Comics’ Future State: Gotham, a brand new Joker War has been teased for the days ahead. While Harley Quinn and Punchline are still at war years into the future, it seems as though Gotham City and its underworld will grow to have a strong aversion to anything clown-related after what happened with the Joker’s teased follow-up to last summer’s Joker War crossover event, which saw massive devastation not only to the entire city but to Batman himself. In any case, it seems as though Joker will eventually unleash a new war to top his first, which also falls in line with recent comments made by the Clown Prince of Crime himself in his own ongoing Joker series.
In Future State: Gotham #4 from writer Dennis Culver and artist Nikola Cîžmešija, Harley Quinn is on the hunt for Punchline, her longtime rival who recently came onto the scene in Gotham’s present during the original Joker War. Battling each other in the wake of a massive explosion supposedly caused by the Next Batman, Harley and Punchline are also being tracked down by Panic, a hunter hired by the Magistrate to bring in vigilantes, criminals, and anyone who dares to wear a mask in the fascist state Gotham has become in the near future.
However, early on in the issue Harley is beating up crooks to get information on Punchline’s whereabouts, and it’s here that one of the Joker’s former goons reveals that he hasn’t dealt with clowns, “since the second Joker War“. This is a rather interesting piece of information to say the least, especially combined with the words spoken by the Clown Prince of Crime himself in the recent Joker #4 from James Tynion IV and Guillem March. That issue, which is set in Gotham’s present, teased Joker’s plans for the future, revealing he has bigger and darker plans than the first Joker War and that he’s looking to top the massive devastation he caused the first time.
Apparently, whatever happens with this future Joker War will be just as bad as the first, if not worse. It seems as though it will leave an impression on Gotham’s criminals in the near future, serving as a lasting reminder for them to stay away from clowns as a general policy for one’s ongoing health and survival. Harley and Punchline’s battle in Gotham contains an extra new twist after Punchline reveals the existence of the Next Joker to Harley, setting the stage for an all-new Clown Prince after whatever mysteriously happened to the first Joker in the wake of this second Joker War.
In any case, it should be noted that the futures shown in DC’s various Future State titles are not set in stone. Any number of things in the DC Universe’s present could change the course of events. Case in point, Gotham’s personal timeline may have already deviated away from the Magistrate’s takeover in Future State, as potentially confirmed by Scarecrow debuting his Fear State campaign rather than joining the Magistrate fold as he was meant to. While this could mean that this teased second Joker War might not come to pass in exactly the same way, fans should expect the Joker to unleash something big all the same, as the Clown Prince of Crime would likely want to top his last act no matter the circumstance in Gotham.