DC Introduces The Future State of Batman
Emerging out of the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal, DC has officially introduced the Future State line of comics, debuting in January and February. This new imprint is a way of introducing new and old readers to the next generation of DC’s iconic heroes. In this Future State, Tim Fox, the oldest son of Lucius Fox, has taken up the mantle of the Batman
In The Next Batman, written by John Ridley and drawn by Nick Derington, Gotham is now a police state controlled by a mysterious organization called “The Magistrate” who shoots anyone on sight who is wearing a mask. This new Batman is introduced taking down a criminal in an alley before being confronted by police, very familiar to any Batman. We then get a glimpse into the Fox family, with Tim and Luke’s sister being in a coma and their mom blaming “the masks”. The story then briefly checks in on two cops catching up at a batting cage, one of them accusing the other of working with criminals. The rest of the issue is dedicated to two young kids being recruited by a gang called “Bane-Litos”. After a failed assassination attempt on a civilian, Batman stops the gang and rescues the kids from the peacekeepers, the authoritarian police force in this new Gotham.
Unfortunately, this issue is too much of a set up to be very enjoyable. John Ridley’s script feels very truncated, possibly because it shares this first issue with two other stories from this future world.
The subplot of Luke and Tim Fox is mildly confusing because the voiceover makes the reader believe that Luke Fox (the former Batwing) is narrating the issue as Batman because we see Luke for most of the issue and Tim for only a few panels (out of the costume). It seems as though this would be a twist in one of the next issues revealing that Tim is actually in the Bat-suit instead of Luke but DC marketing may have jumped the gun in revealing the new Batman’s identity.
That being said, this issue does a great job of world building and setting up where the action could go, I just wanted more of it. It feels very much like Batman: Year One. Nick Derington’s gorgeous art is very reminiscent of David Mazzucchelli in the 80s and after this miniseries, I would hope that they keep Ridley and Derington on for a longer run.
Also contained in this issue, are two backup stories within this new world including a tale about The Outsiders by Brandon Thomas and Sumit Kamar and a story about a team called the Arkham Knights by Paul Jenkins and Jack Herbert. Both stories are mildly interesting with some spectacular art in both parts. The plot of both aren’t as good as the main Batman story but both do a decent job of building out the new Gotham. The Arkham Knights story is slightly better, having some of Batman’s rogue gallery team up in a vaguely Suicide Squad fashion. I wouldn’t mind if either gets a full series after February.
Personally, Future State is a brilliant idea from DC. This initiative frees up creatives to build entire worlds within the DC line and it will continue to attract amazing writers and artists. Although this first issue of The Next Batman wasn’t as great as I would and hoped, it sets up for a thrilling new world that I can’t wait to dive into.
Rating 8 out of 10
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