Whether you've been reading along with DC's current event series Dark Nights: Death Metal, the publisher wants you to be sure you know January 5's Death Metal finale will not only conclude that story but also include two epilogue stories leading to important new storylines. And while the first of those new projects is clear, the second is not only uncertain, as of the end of October, its identity is a little confusing.
DC has been upfront and not at all ambiguous that one of Death Metal #7's two epilogues will lead into DC Future State - the January and February 2021 event temporarily thrusting most of DC's core continuity titles into the near-and far-flung future.
The identity of the second epilogue? Not so much.
The two epilogues were first mentioned last month in Death Metal #7's solicitation, which despite its January 5 on-sale date was solicited with DC's December 2020 titles.
The epilogues were again mentioned in the just-released sixth issue of DC's in-house solicitations catalog DC Connect, featuring comic books on sale in January 2021.
Full solicitation copy and covers for January's titles (the bulk of which is Future State) were already released two weeks ago, but in the new issue's opening copy describing Future State, it twice refers to the epilogues, making it clear one leads to Future State, of course.
As to the second DC says readers "will have to wait" to see where that one leads.
Which is where things begin to get curious and even a little confusing.
Newsarama has been reporting on the upcoming prestige format, oversized special Generations: Shattered #1 along with a follow-up volume - February's Generations: Forged #1 - as something of bookend volumes to Future State, but despite the natural inclination to assume a relationship between Death Metal, Generations, and Future State as a trio of interconnected projects and Shattered and Forged as bookends to Future State, DC is declining to do so.
The publisher makes no mention of Generations: Shattered #1 as having any connection to Future State in the entire January catalog.
What we do know is Shattered #1 "explodes" out of Death Metal #7 (both on-sale January 5), saying so directly in its own solicitation copy.
"What started in Detective Comics #1027 explodes out of Dark Nights: Death Metal…" it reads. But again, that was solicited with December titles despite its own January on-sale date. If Shattered is what the second Death Metal #7 epilogue leads to and was already revealed a month ago, why would DC refer to the second epilogue in a mysterious, 'wait and see' fashion inviting new speculation 30 days later?
If at this point you're saying to yourself 'okay, yeah, this is a little confusing, why don't you just ask DC to clear it up?' we have, and they've declined to respond to questions about any relationship (or not) between Death Metal, Generations: Shattered, and Future State other than the solicitation copy.
This just adds to the uncertainty and raises even more questions considering the fact Generations: Shattered was originally referred to as "Generations: Future State" in Detective Comics #1027.
"Originally, we were going to touch on what's coming with Future State," explained Shattered co-writer Dan Jurgens on the title switch. "We're detouring from that a bit to focus more on our own story."
So the outstanding question remains if the second Death Metal epilogue does not lead to Generations: Shattered #1 on sale the same day, what does it lead to?
There are two possibilities:
One is an entirely new, unknown upcoming project coming in February or beyond. Sorry, that isn't very insightful, but hey, we're covering all the bases here.
The second possibility is it is referring to February's aforementioned Generations: Forged #1 specifically, which while officially (but briefly and vaguely) revealed by Jurgens in the interview with Newsarama, has not been followed up by the publisher since.
It now seems possible February's Forged may not be a concluding bookend chapter to January's Shattered at all, but more of a separate standalone volume that the Death Metal finale second epilogue will lead directly into.
While "forged" at first glance seems like something of an antonym of "shattered," astute DC readers will also recall the two preludes to the original Dark Knights: Metal event - 2017's Dark Days: The Forge and Dark Days: The Casting.
But again, DC isn't taking questions on any of this to clear it up at the moment.
Whichever way this all works out, we'll likely know much more well before Death Metal #7 publishes on January 5. DC still has two full solicitations cycles - February 2021 in November and March 2021 in December - before the epilogue sees the light of day.
Death Metal seems poised to join our countdown of DC’s most impacted event stories of all time.