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Next Batman’s secret identity revealed in surprising fashion by DC

Future State: The Next Batman #2 variant cover
(Image credit: Doug Braithwaite/Diego Rodriguez (DC))

After months of intrigue and subterfuge, the identity of DC's Next Batman has been revealed as Tim Fox, the estranged son of longtime Batman ally Lucius Fox and brother of the former Batwing Luke Fox.

(Image credit: Ladrönn (DC))

Tim Fox's literal unmasking was performed in DC's release of a variant cover to January 19's Future State: The Next Batman #2 by Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez

Originally introduced in 1979's Batman #313 by Len Wein and Irv Novick (collected in Tales of the Batman: Len Wein), Tim 'Jace' Fox's modern-day appearances have been sparse. He briefly appeared in the recent Batman #101 after a nine-year gap, re-emerging as the Fox family is coming back together after his father, Lucius Fox, was given the Wayne family fortune and (companies) following 'The Joker War' arc.

Back in October, Newsarama pegged Tim Fox as one of two leading candidates to be revealed as the Next Batman.

The Next Batman (and the mystery of his identity) was first announced in August, with writer John Ridley saying "I think it's a pretty safe bet that if I'm writing Batman, it's probably a little better than a 47% chance he's going to be a person of color."

Although not revealing it was Tim Fox at the time, the writer did state the Next Batman story would focus on the family of Lucius Fox - Batman's longtime ally and designer of many of his gadgets.

"[Fox] has a family and this is a family that has secrets, has kept secrets from one another," Ridley explained. "It's a little bit different dynamic than the Batman that we've always seen."

(Image credit: Doug Braithwaite/Diego Rodriguez (DC))

Following the conclusion of the Next Batman anthology limited series, this new Batman's story will continue in a short story in Batman: Black & White #3 in February in which he'll recruit a sidekick.

While fans almost always love a mystery (and the reveal of the truth), it's curious that DC decided to solve this nearly-four-month-long mystery in the reveal of a variant cover instead of holding it for people to find out by buying Future State: The Next Batman #1 in January (or, well, reading Newsarama, of course). The apparent reasoning can be explained with how comic book ordering works for comic book shops - which we go into detail about here.

A question to keep an eye on in the coming weeks is how a character who makes his heroic debut in the near-future of the Future State Batman Future State will be incorporated in when DC's core line returns in force in March.

art from John Ridley and Olivier Coipel's Next Batman story in Batman: Black and White #3 (Image credit: DC)

DC has already demonstrated that some characters making their debut in Future State titles -  like Wonder Woman Yara Flor and Teen Titans' Red X - will be woven into current day continuity. What role Tim Fox will play in the main Batman titles going forward and if the Next Batman will only exist in stories set in the near future is the next mystery surrounding him.

Keep up to speed with all the upcoming Dark Knight comics with our constantly-updating list of new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2020 and beyond.