In Future State: Batgirls, Stephanie Brown goes on a search for a missing Barbara Gordon, who has been taken by the Magistrate for a horrific purpose.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for “Batgirls,” a story in Future State: The Next Batman #2, by Vita Ayala, Aneke, Trish Mulvihill, and Becca Carey, on sale now.
DC’s Future State is a potential future timeline where new superheroes are active and where old, fan-favorite characters have gone through often terrible, life-altering events. The Future State books chronicle a dystopian timeline where barely anything resembles the classic DC Universe. The most catastrophic changes have occurred within Gotham City, which is now policed by the Magistrate, a military force that is hunting down costumed superheroes. What’s more, in this dark future, Bruce Wayne/Batman is believed dead, Tim Drake is on his own, and Barbara Gordon is missing. But thankfully, there are still those few who fight to protect Gotham City — even if that means facing the Magistrate.
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In Future State: The Next Batman #2, a Batgirls back-up story reveals that Spoiler, Stephanie Brown, the Batgirl formerly known as Spoiler, has been searching for a missing Barbara Gordon. And although she has yet to find her, the issue reveals the original Batgirl’s horrific fate.
As Future State: Batgirls begins, Cassandra Cain is taken prisoner inside the Magistrate Detention Facility. The prison’s inmates include some of the most famous villains in the DC Universe like Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Cheetah and Gorilla Grodd, but it also includes multiple fan-favorite superheroes such as Beast Boy, Big Barda and Superman’s pal himself, Jimmy Olsen. To the Magistrate, it doesn’t matter if people are superheroes or villains — to them, they all need to be eliminated or locked up in Gotham’s detention center.
Once Cassandra is reunited with fellow Bat-Family member Stephanie Brown, the former Spoiler reveals that she had originally set out to find Barbara Gordon. Barbara is essentially the pair’s mentor and after she went missing, Stephanie went undercover to try and find her. However, during this time, she was taken by the Magistrate.
Meanwhile, Cassandra explains that she has been following a trail that she believes will take her to Batman. And since the trail leads to the Magistrate Detention Facility, she allowed herself to be captured for the next part of her mission. But the truth is, Cassandra and Stephanie are both on the same case. While Cassandra is searching for Batman, she is actually following a trail that leads to Barbara who, it turns out, is also locked up several cells beneath both Batgirls.
Indeed, Barbara has been captured by the Magistrate, but she is being held in a different level than the rest of the prisoners. While the other inmates have shared cells and are allowed to walk and interact with one another, Barbara is strapped down to a table, with multiple cables and wires connected to her. Her eyes are glowing, indicating that she isn’t exactly conscious.
While we have no idea what is going on with Barbara, it’s clear that the Magistrate is using her for some horrific purpose. Given her intellect and computer skills, it’s always possible that the police organization is using Barbara to power or control their drones and surveillance systems, which would be the ultimate perversion of her intelligence and years of experience as a hero with an innate understanding of Gotham City and the heroes and villains within it.
Whatever the case may ultimately be, it’s clear that Barbara is a crucial part of the Magistrate’s rule, and that Cassandra and Stephanie will have to join forces to save her.
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