The future is here with the start of the two month release event through DC Future state. The initiative advances the company’s superhero line on its fictional timeline to provide insight into possible (and probable) paths for characters like Wonder Woman, Superman, and Flash.
The first week’s flagship, however, is one that has its entire high concept right there in the title: Future state: The next Batman.
Who does Future state: The next Batman?
In this case, it’s a bit of a complicated question just because the comic is actually a three story anthology: the Oscar winner’s cover story from 12 years a slave, John Ridley and Doom PatrolNick Derington; a outsider Strips by Brandon Thomas and Sumit Kumar; and “Arkham Knights” by Paul Jenkins and Jack Herbert. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the Ridley / Derington strip. (Although note that Kumar’s kinetic artwork is in outsider, colored by Jordie Bellaire, is almost worth the price of admission.)
What is Future state: The next Batman Over?
In each strip there is text that tries to set the stage for Future State and talks about how these stories come “from the ashes of” Death metal“And are” a glimpse of the unwritten worlds of tomorrow. “Ignore that; all three stories in Future state: The next Batman are taking place in a few years from now in a city in Gotham where all masked vigilantes have been banned by a private security company called The Magistrate, which has turned the city into a police state, watched over by armored soldiers and automated drones alike.
Each story in the issue features characters trying to do good in this new Gotham. Bruce Wayne has disappeared for reasons unknown and has room for a brand new Dark Knight: Tim Fox (although he has not been identified as such in this issue).
Why is Future state: The next Batman happen now?
Future state is a confusing thing at first sight; Initially dismissed as a two month fill-in mini-series, a la 2015 convergence Event, it’s actually a stealth relaunch of much of DC’s superhero line, with new creative teams debuting for the Superman and Wonder Woman titles and new series for Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, Swamp Thing and Green Lantern on the Way to be presented.
Even The next Batman is a glimpse of things to come despite James Tynion IV announcing that he will remain regular Batman Series for the next year or so – the Batman featured in this issue will reappear after that Future state is done starting with an appearance in Batman: black and white next month.
Why is this happening now? Because DC is coming out of a rather tumultuous 2020 by looking to the future … or at least what the future looks like now.
Is there any required reading?
Despite the fact that the Next batman Featuring characters that have been around for a while – Tim Fox and his family have been part of the Batman myth for decades – there is no real reason to do your research before delving into things. Ridley and Derington lay out everything you need to know in the story itself.
This also applies to them outsider Stripes in the output but less in the Arkham Knights Story you must read Peter Tomasi and Brad Walker’s original Arkham Knight story for Detective comics last year (# 1000-1005 if you’re curious) to understand who everyone is and what they’re doing there.
There is one Element of Future state: The next Batman that could lead the audience elsewhere: the circumstances behind Bruce Wayne’s disappearance. The answer to that is actually in a completely different comic: Future state: Dark Detectivewhich comes out later in January.
Is Future state: The next Batman Well?
For a story about a future Gotham, Ridley and Derington The next Batman
The star of the show is by far Derington, whose work here is known to anyone who has read his Batman Universe or Doom Patrolbut with added texture and grime that sometimes hints at Chris Samnee and Duncan Fegredo. It is a wonderful piece of work that is made even more impressive by the bright, atmospheric colors of Tamra Bonvillain. Ridley’s writing is less successful, although still very entertaining, and he pinpoints the beginnings of the story at a reasonable rate, with some nice details in it. (The gang inspired by Bane is a nice twist Dark Knight returns Gang culture and goes well with the magistrate’s anti-mask agenda, for example.) Unfortunately, it’s an oddly little opening chapter that leaves the reader craving for more for bad reasons – why does it feel so short? – as well as the good ones.
The rest of the problem is weaker than the lead. outsider looks nice, but the writing feels uneven and looks overly hectic and vague – things are event with katana, but what they are is not exactly clear, but it is certain exciting! – while Arkham Knights feels pedestrian and is burdened by the continuity of the past compared to the other strips.
The next Batman The stripe is definitely good and the best you can find in it Future state: The next Batman the comic – but whether the entire comic is any good probably depends on how much in love you are with the larger Batman mythology in the DC comic universe.