Every now and then, in the world of comics books, the future will come knocking to upset the lives of the superheroes we all know and love. Whether they are the ones time-traveling or it is time itself that finds them, they come to see a different reality, one they can either strive for, or fight with everything they have to prevent from happening. It's a storytelling device that has been used many times over in comics, from Marvel to DC, Image and many smaller publishing companies. But, curiously, both Marvel and DC comics have very recently released stories that feature one curiously similar element: the future children of their respective super-teams, the Avengers and the Justice League.
The timing of the release of both of these time-hopping stories is peculiar, and it just so happens that it might not be a coincidence at all. Since Marvel and DC both brought similar ideas to the forefront at the same time, it's entirely possible that these future heroes are a signpost of things to come in both universes.
In fact, over at Marvel Comics, the company is currently in the midst of publishing a maxi-series of ten issues under the Generations banner, a series of stories where each issue focuses on one legacy character from Marvel's present timeline time-traveling to the past to meet their original namesake. X-23 met Wolverine, Amadeous Cho, the Totally Awesome Hulk, met Bruce Banner, and Jane Foster met Thor Odinson, and so on. Each of these meetings brought new found hope and fire for these young characters, and they returned to the present ready to move forward as superheroes. But one of those issues was different than all the rest. “The Iron,” written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Marco Rudy, Szymon Kudranski and Nico Leon focused on a character whose addition to the Marvel Universe is quite recent: Riri Williams, a genius teenager who created her very own suit of armor to become Ironheart.
But Riri didn't get sent to the past like all the other heroes. Instead, she got taken to the “far-flung future,” a future where Tony Stark is 126 years old and, strangely (pun intended), the new Sorcerer Supreme – Doctor (Stark) Strange. When Riri first arrives in this strange land, it doesn't take long for her to be greeted by the Mighty Avengers of the future. This team is the same, grown-up version of the heroes introduced in the 2008 animated movie Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, and it is comprised of the son of Black Panther and Storm, Azari of Wakanda, the son of the Wasp and Giant Man, Henry Pym, Jr., Thor and Sif's daughter Torunn, the son of Clint Barton Francis, the new Hawkeye, and James Rogers, the son of Captain America and Black Widow. Although they are famous in their time, their superhero antics are largely limited by a beautiful world largely at peace. In fact, we actually come to learn that thanks to Tony, Riri and the world's scientists, Earth, both as a planet and as a society, is now in a much better state. As the Sorcerer Supreme, Stark takes care of the biggest threats to the world without lifting a finger, leaving these children with not much else to do in the way of saving.
However, over on the DC Comics side, things are much different... and much bleaker. In the current pages of the Justice League comic series, starting with issue #26 by Bryan Hitch and Fernando Pasarin, in a storyline appropriately titled “Legacy,” readers were introduced to the children of the Justice League, 20 years into the future.