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Future State: The Next Batman #1 – Review
Future State: The Next Batman #1 – Review

Future State: The Next Batman #1 – Review

Future State: The Next Batman #1
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
WRITER: John Ridley, Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins
ART: Nick Derington, Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez, Jack Herbert
COLORS: Tamra Bonvillain, Jordie Bellaire, Gabe Eltaeb
LETTERER: Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh
COVER: Ladrönn
COVER PRICE: $7.99

Welcome to the Future State of the DC Universe. More of a project than an event, each of these stories takes place in a possible future for the characters involved. Over the next two months the status quo will be upset as the more popular characters are removed from the landscape to make way for a new generation of superheroes. Case in point: Batman is missing and we do not know where he is.

Future State: The Next Batman is an anthology book containing three strips, each taking place in Gotham City police state controlled by a private security firm known as The Magistrate. John Ridley crafts the titular tale wherein aerial drones support the these military personnel as they patrol and protect the city. The Magistrate is extended every latitude in the performance of their duties, including a zero tolerance policy on masked individuals that carries a “shoot on sight” order.

Following this story is The Outsiders, Brandon Thomas’ is a tale that examines the relationship between those that “enjoy” the protection of the Magistrate versus those that live outside their jurisdiction. On the inside, The Signal helps to protect the citizenry, while Katana works her magic on the Outside. We follow her on an investigation that leads to some startling connections. While the story is chunky and awkwardly paced, the art more than makes up for it. Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez, and Jodie Bellaire team up to produce a stunning product.

The final strip, Arkham Knights, is written by Paul Jenkins (a personal favorite) and illustrated by Jack Herbert & Gabe Eltaeb. It is a story that requires more prior knowledge than should be required for an introductory tale. You can get all the information you need from Detective Comics #1000-1005. Comprising a ragtag team of some of Gotham’s more questionable personalities, the Arkham Knights stand up to the “fascist state” the city has become. The final story of the anthology is prosaic and a difficult read with overly busy panels. If the creative team had more pages for an introductory story, it could very well have been the best of the three. Twenty pages just were not enough.

 
This new dynamic places a unique strain upon Batman as he patrols his city. As a Bane-themed gang attempts to expand their control of Gotham’s underworld, Batman balances protection of the innocent, elusion of the Magistrate, and preserving the lives of those that would inflict the most harm. 

In a press release from DC in December 2020 it was revealed that Tim Fox, estranged son of Lucius Fox (CEO of Wayne Enterprises), would be the new Batman. This is not confirmed in the actual story, however, as the pacing led me to believe that his brother Luke (formerly Batwing) was running around with the mantle.

Future State: The Next Batman begins with a healthy balance of action, drama, and intrigue. Nick Derington brings a complementary style that epitomizes the Gotham dichotomy: tension on the streets and sterility at home. Tamra Bonvillain helps to establish a noir essence that all dystopian tales require. The one thing that threw me off was the balloon styling Clayton Cowles chose when lettering the pages. He chose to square off the tails rather than bring them to the traditional point. This was not a negative, just something new that took some acclimating once I noticed them. How bad can it be if it takes nine pages of dialogue to notice?

Following this story is The Outsiders, Brandon Thomas’ is a tale that examines the relationship between those that “enjoy” the protection of the Magistrate versus those that live outside their jurisdiction. On the inside, The Signal helps to protect the citizenry, while Katana works her magic on the Outside. We follow her on an investigation that leads to some startling connections. While the story is chunky and awkwardly paced, the art more than makes up for it. Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez, and Jodie Bellaire team up to produce a stunning product.

The final strip, Arkham Knights, is written by Paul Jenkins (a personal favorite) and illustrated by Jack Herbert & Gabe Eltaeb. It is a story that requires more prior knowledge than should be required for an introductory tale. You can get all the information you need from Detective Comics #1000-1005. Comprising a ragtag team of some of Gotham’s more questionable personalities, the Arkham Knights stand up to the “fascist state” the city has become. The final story of the anthology is prosaic and a difficult read with overly busy panels. If the creative team had more pages for an introductory story, it could very well have been the best of the three. Twenty pages just were not enough.

Despite each story proving weaker than the last, Future State: The Next Batman #1 was an overall enjoyable read. There is enough interest here to push forward into issue two, a prerequisite for the success of Future State.

SCORE: 3/5

Pick up Future State: The Next Batman #1 from your Local Comic Shop on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021!


Originally published on the Kabooooom website on January 5th, 20201.

Future State: The Next Batman #1
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
WRITER: John Ridley, Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins
ART: Nick Derington, Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez, Jack Herbert
COLORS: Tamra Bonvillain, Jordie Bellaire, Gabe Eltaeb
LETTERER: Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh
COVER: Ladrönn
COVER PRICE: $7.99

Welcome to the Future State of the DC Universe. More of a project than an event, each of these stories takes place in a possible future for the characters involved. Over the next two months the status quo will be upset as the more popular characters are removed from the landscape to make way for a new generation of superheroes. Case in point: Batman is missing and we do not know where he is.

Future State: The Next Batman is an anthology book containing three strips, each taking place in Gotham City police state controlled by a private security firm known as The Magistrate. John Ridley crafts the titular tale wherein aerial drones support the these military personnel as they patrol and protect the city. The Magistrate is extended every latitude in the performance of their duties, including a zero tolerance policy on masked individuals that carries a “shoot on sight” order.

 

Following the Knull stories as they’ve been releasing has been a task unto itself. So much has happened and it expands beyond the traditional Spider-books. Christopher Cantwell impresses with his ability to crawl into the heads of the titular characters. The story brings a welcome levity from the heft of the overall event while challenging us intellectually. Salvador Larroca and GURU-eFX team up to present flawless depictions of the characters without sacrificing the world around them. Their attention to detail is amazing, especially in the discoloration of the scenery with the grime, rust, and wear. I am a sucker for quality lettering and VC’s Travis Lanham checks off all of the boxes in this issue. Between Tony’s speaker-speech and Santa’s toxic dialogue the lettering helps to flavor the story in the head.

As a reader, I like my crossovers and tie-ins to make sense. I was burned (pun intended) by Marvel’s Inferno crossover event back that ran from 1988-1989. I was not yet reading comics, but when I discovered this event I went on a hunt for the remaining issues. Depending on who you ask, there are 39-41 issues in this event and approximately 60% of them are tie-ins. The worst part is that so many of them were unnecessary or boring and it killed the overall experience for me. It is refreshing to see that Marvel has learned their lesson by making the King in Black tie-ins relevant without being essential. King In Black: Iron Man/Doom #1 is one you should tie into your collection.

SCORE: 4/5

Pick up King In Black: Iron Man/Doom #1 from your Local Comic Shop on Wednesday, December 30th, 2020!


Originally published on the Kabooooom website on January 3rd, 20201.

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