DC One Million: A Retrospective on the Future

Past the near future of Batman Beyond, past the 30th century of the Legion of Superheroes, and past most other futures we have seen is a whole new possibility.

DC One Million had a simple concept, what would the DC universe look like at issue number one million? The event, led by Grant Morrison and a host of other writers and artists behind them, takes readers into the 853rd century to show them a world beyond anything they had ever seen.

DC is famous for its many alternate Earths and possible futures that show different possibilities for our favorite heroes, but DC One Million goes further than any others. In this future, a telepathic radio system connects all people, Batman guards a prison planet on Pluto, and Superman lives in the sun. There are more heroes than ever but evil still looms in the shadows.

DC One Million took a new approach to dealing with tie-in books. A Tie-in, for those who don’t know, is an issue of an ongoing series dedicated to how that book’s character would respond to the event. Many of the tie-ins for this event jumped far into the future and showed futuristic versions of their headline characters in the 853rd century.

Not all the tie-ins are necessary to read the event but below is a list of some favorites. Some were chosen because they expand the view into the future, while others give us new twists on fan-favorite characters, and some are just plain wacky. It was the ninety’s, what do you expect?


DC One Million
Azrael / DC One Million / DC Comics

Azrael is a character that is very much a nineties gem. A brainwashed soldier of a Christian cult, Azrael became their vigilante before he joined the Bat Family and even became Batman for a time. But the future has some changes brought to the persona behind the mask. Written by Dennis O’Neil with art by Vincent Giarrano, colors by Demetrius Bassoukos, and letters by Ken Bruzenak, Azrael One Million is a blast through time and space. In the future, the Order of St. Dumas who created Azrael has evolved across the stars.

After trying and failing to recruit actual angels to their cause, the order turns to technology. They give an unnamed man the title of Azrael and a pair of wings that can travel time and space. Unfortunately, they chose a complete idiot. While he means well, he travels the galaxy accidentally killing innocents and generally making things worse. This is one of the more humorous tie-in books and a fun read. Not necessary to understand the event but a laugh throughout.


Lobo / DC One Million / DC Comics

Part of the appeal of Lobo, an alien bounty hunter, is that he’s equally crazy and immortal. But what happens when time isn’t kind? That’s what the Main Man finds out in the 853rd century in this story written by Alan Grant, pencils by Greg Luzniak, inks by Mark Propst, colors by Gloria Vasquez, and letters by Bill Oakley. Caged away as a sideshow attraction, the name Lobo is not the fearsome horror story that it once was.

But a job offer from a mysterious woman to hunt down a mythical figure is just what Lobo needs to get back into the game. This is another tie-in that has absolutely nothing to do with the event but is a whole bunch of fun because of its tongue-in-cheek attitude. In a modern reading, this could easily poke fun at the numerous dark future books we’ve seen like Old Man Logan, which makes this a worthy read among the many books in this event.


Nightwing / DC One Million / DC Comics

One of the most interesting things about the layout of this event is the tie-ins. In the nineties, Batman and Superman each had a family of titles that explored their section of the DC Universe. In the DC One Million event, the writers worked together to tell mini story arcs within the greater event, with Nightwing’s written by Chuck Dixon with pencils by Scott McDaniel, inks by Karl Story, colors by Roberta Tewes, and letters by John Costanza.

By this point in the story, the Batman of the future had been trapped in the present while Bruce Wayne was sent into the future. A virus has swept the world that drives people to madness, which has pushed the remaining Gotham vigilantes to their limits. This issue pokes fun at superhero cliches by having the 853rd Batman challenge Nightwing to a battle before they work together to stop a robbery. This issue ties more into the actual event and works as a great character exploration of both Batman and Nightwing. For the full story, read all the other Batman-related titles.

Young Justice

Young Justice / DC One Million / DC Comics

In the future, what will historians remember of our time? That is the question that the Young Justice tie-in seeks to answer. Written by Peter David with a host of artists that include; Todd Nauck, Larry Stucker, Angel Unzueta, Craig Rousseau, Roberto Flores, Norm Rapmund, Sean Parsons, and Wayne Faucher. The colorist is Jason Wright, with letters by Ken Lopez.

The reason for so many different artists is the story. The futuristic Young Justice team has three core members meeting together and discussing the history of their namesakes; with a little exaggeration, of course. This is one of the most fun stories in the One Million event because of how it revisions comic history. Even today, we look at history and how we lived differently as time has changed. But how would history be revisioned by our descendants? Full of hijinks and jokes, this tie-in is a great look back from the far future.


Supergirl / DC One Million / DC Comics

Most of the characters that are introduced in this event would stay put in their future, minus a few cameos here and there. But one character’s first appearance was actually in the middle of her story. That would be the Supergirl of the 853rd century who ended up there due to reality-warping shenanigans. For that story check out Supergirl Vol. 4. This tie-in was written by Peter David with pencils by Dusty Abell, inks by Norman Lee, colors by Gene D’Angelo, and letters by Comicraft.

The story follows a brave alien warrior traveling in space when he encounters the Destroyer of Worlds, who happens to be the indestructible child R’e’l. She has been traveling through space on her skateboard, looking for friends but accidentally destroying planets in the process. It’s hard to write about kids, but this story nails it. What would happen when a lonely kid has the powers of Superman? The cheerful art perfectly drives home this fun story full of childlike whimsy, where thousands of aliens happen to die. If you like comics like Deadpool, Cavin and Hobbes, or dark comedies like Bullet Train, Shawn of the Dead, and the like, you will greatly enjoy the most destructive child in the DC Universe.


While some of the picks here might seem strange as they don’t connect to the main events of DC One Million but that’s what is so beautiful about it. Each book is designed to show you what’s great about the characters, be it them presently or in the future, and why you should go read those series. The team-ups between future and past heroes explore what readers love about DC and showcase a world where they are here long after we are gone. Grant Morrison constructed a love letter to the Silver Age of comics; one that shows the bright possibilities for the future in a decade where the grim and gritty ruled. From the cosmic to street corners, this event hits everything. Readers new and old will get a tour of the DC universe and find something to love.

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