Written by: Paula Sevenbergen, Vita Ayala, John Ridley Art by: Aneke, Emanuela Lupacchino, Laura Braga
The next Batman goes head-to-head with the Magistrate’s shock troops to protect the…guilty?! It’s a savage running battle across Gotham City, and it will have the next Dark Knight fighting overwhelming odds to prove that justice still lives in the heart of a broken city.
In the finale of “Batgirls,” after discovering the person locked in the high-security cell is the one who’s been sending out “Batman Lives” signals to the Resistance, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain must work together to make sure they take that person when they escape their prison!
Plus, in the conclusion of “Gotham City Sirens,” Catwoman and the new android Siren hide out in Poison Ivy’s newly built paradise, where they discuss their past relationships, including what Catwoman has—or had—with Batman. But when Peacekeeper forces arrive, the new Siren will have to make a sacrifice to save her friends.
Written by: Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins, John Ridley Art by: Jack Herbert, Sumit Kumar, Laura Braga
The adventures of the next Batman continue! Batman has captured a pair of murderous fugitives, but he faces a tough decision: leave them for the Magistrate troops, which means certain death, or risk his life and fight his way through Gotham City to deliver them to the GCPD for trial. He’s Batman…so there’s only one choice!
And in “Outsiders,” Katana has reunited with Black Lightning, but her old friend and ally has changed…big time! Now composed of literal black lightning, Jefferson Pierce arrives with a dire warning about Duke Thomas and his mission to liberate Gotham from the oppression of the Magistrate. They’ll have to work together—and we really mean together—to have any hope of defeating the forces working against them!
Plus, in “Arkham Knights,” Astrid Arkham and her band of maniacal misfits have picked a fight with the Magistrate…and they’re not going to back down! On the eve of their mission into the heart of Gotham’s fascist occupiers, Croc, Zsasz, Phosphorus, Clayface, Harvey, and the rest steel themselves to try and shine a beacon of hope into the darkness—but not everyone will make it out alive!
Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in
Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.
Abbott 1973 #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The first series was fantastic with its setting and well everything. This new volume takes us to 1973 where a group wants to destroy a Black candidate for Mayor.
Crimson Flower #1 (Dark Horse) – The latest from Matt Kindt and Matt Lesniewski, the series is a mind-altering journey through Russian folk tales, trained assassins, and government conspiracies. We’re all in for this.
DC Future State (DC Comics) – The two-month event has been pretty solid so far. Even the “ok” comics have been entertaining and there have been some amazing comics. This week’s releases include Future State: Catwoman #1, Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1, Future State: Nightwing #1, Future State: Shazam! #1, Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1, and Future State: The Next Batman #2.
I Breathed a Body #1 (AfterShock) – The world’s biggest influencer posts something irredeemably horrific online which instantly changes the world. It’s up to his social media manager, Anne Stewart, to fan the flames of outrage and create a sensationalist campaign that rewrites the rules of “banned content.” Well, ok then.
Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 (Marvel) – Larry Hama writing this is all the reason we need for it to make the list.
King in Black #3 (Marvel) – The event has been top-notch and really feels like an over the top summer blockbuster film. It’s a sit back and enjoy the popcorn fun.
Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #4 (Red 5 Comics) – Wrapping up the series which has been a great update to the classic character. It’s been a solid and fun read so far.
Maestro: War and Pax #1 (Marvel) – The first volume of Maestro’s journey was a bit hit and miss but we want to see where this next one takes things.
Savage Circus #2 (Heavy Metal) – Mix Gremlins and Die Hard together and you have this series which features monsters and a heist during a Christmas storm. The first issue was a great setup so we’re hoping this one really brings the action.
We Live #4 (AfterShock) – The series has been amazing when it comes to worldbuilding and with some fantastic art too. Each issue has been full of twists and turns and who knows where this one is going.
Yasmeen #6 (Scout Comics) – One of the best comics of the past year wraps up as Yasmeen must face her past while the police investigate her.
Written by: Vita Ayala, Paula Sevenbergen, John Ridley Art by: Aneke, Emanuela Lupacchino, Laura Braga
In this second Future State: Batman chapter, wearing a mask in Gotham City is now a crime-and when it’s compounded with murder, it can be a shoot-on-sight offense! Batman is on the trail of a murderous couple but quickly finds that all is not as it seems…and finds himself in the firing line of the Magistrate and their Peacekeepers! The gritty, street-level adventures of the new Dark Knight continue! Also in this issue, Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown find themselves in a prison where the Magistrate throws heroes and villains alike! What no one knows, though, is that Cassandra was sent there with a mission… And in a story of the Gotham City Sirens, some girls just want to have fun-so what do you do when you find Gotham City in turmoil and overrun by Cybers? You go shopping, of course! Join Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and a new Siren on a gal’s night out. They’re on the town, looking for trouble…and finding it!
The weekend is almost here! What geeky things are folks doing? Sound off in the comments. While you wait for the week to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.
Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley’s groundbreaking take on Tim Fox as The Next Batman has been a runaway hit, receiving critical acclaim from press and fans alike, as well as second printings for the first two issues of Future State: The Next Batman!
In addition to his upcoming short story in Batman: Black and White #3 (on sale February 23), DC and Ridley have more in store to expand the growing legacy of this new Dark Knight. The Next Batman: Second Son is a new miniseries, launching weekly digital chapters beginning February 23. The first three digital chapters will be collected into the debut print issue, available at comic book stores on April 6.
Now that the world knows Tim Fox is behind the mask fighting against The Magistrate in Gotham City, what’s the truth behind his origin and his connection to the current DC Universe? Featuring art by Tony Akins, Travel Foreman, and Mark Morales this miniseries answers the questions behind Tim’s estrangement from Lucius Fox and the rest of the Fox family and his evolution from a man of mystery to Gotham’s newest guardian.
On June 29, experience all of Ridley’s trailblazing work returning Tim Fox to comics in theBatman by John Ridley Deluxe Edition. This 128-page must-have hardcover collection is led by an original story by Ridley, with art by Dustin Nguyen and collects Future State: The Next Batman issues #1-#4, in addition to stories from Batman: Black and White and “Family Ties,” from Batman: The Joker War Zone #1.
For a DC Comics first, the publisher’s first black Batman as part of its official cannon and multiverse, Future State: The Next Batman #1 is somewhat underwhelming. That’s not to say it’s a bad comic, but given its short runtime and the fact this was to be a momentous occasion, this first entry of the miniseries set within the world of Future State is not the statement on the future of DC I thought it would be.
But these observations largely concern the new Batman’s character development and plot progression domains. I believe writer John Ridley could’ve gone for a more explosive opening rather than the more subdued and slow-paced intro he settled for.
Fortunately, Future State: The Next Batman #1 is very much a two-sided coin, with the other side belonging to Nick Derington’s kinetic and vibrant illustrations and Tamra Bonvillain’s pop-like colors. What this team achieved with their share of the storytelling goes above and beyond what the words accomplished, giving us a new and truly different take on Gotham City.
Future State is presented as a dystopian version of the DCU in which a private police force called The Magistrate is cracking down on masks in the name of law and order. As such, this short jump into the future feels more science fiction than the usual superhero comic. There are traces of cyberpunk and classic police state imagery coursing through the majority of the Future State stories. Derington and Bonvillain take full advantage of this to give a masterclass on worldbuilding through their version of Gotham while still honoring the city’s past iterations.
In a surprise twist on the traditional Batman formula, Derington and Bonvillain decide to bathe Gotham in colors. Whereas artists such as Greg Capullo, J.H. Williams III, Frank Miller, and Jim Lee have gone for more of a modern gothic look for their Gothams (all unique in their own way), Derington and Bonvillain aim at altering the city’s very identity with more lights, which means less shadows to hide in.
Whereas the artists gave us a city defined by dark alleyways and towering symbols of moral corruption, Derington and Bonvillain opted for a Gotham that’s wide awake and somewhat paranoid. It’s hard to escape the sensation that Batman is being watched from all sides and that Gotham is playing against the hero’s strengths. As consequence, Future State Gotham becomes a living trap that forces Batman to do his bidding while being completely exposed to the police force that patrols the city.
Bonvillain’s colors excel at creating this effect. Even when in an alley, nothing is entirely drenched black. There’s a light source in every panel, as if a spotlight were always trained on Batman. It creates a sense of inevitable surveillance and raises the stakes in each action sequence because of it.
Derington’s line work is full of movement and fluidity, taking a step away from the brooding and inky settings Gotham is known for. For a dystopian version of iconic city, the comic prefers to keep things from looking too futuristic. In fact, it’s in the Magistrate’s security officers and gadgets that The Next Batman finds its science fiction elements. Batman’s mouth covering does give the character a semi-futuristic look and sets him apart from the previous Batman, but Derington and Ridley put him in a future in which architectural and technological change has come slowly.
Despite that, the comic emits an almost neon glow that remind readers that the new Gotham is no longer the hunting ground of Bruce Wayne’s Batman. It seems to demand a new Batman take to patroling its streets. It adds to the comic’s sense of discovery and strangeness. This Gotham doesn’t belong to the New Batman yet. It has to be tamed. As a result, this turns the caped crusader into a candidate for the title of city protector. As of yet, he’s merely in the running for the position.
Fans of Batman Universe, written by Brian Michael Bendis, will have a lot to look forward to in Future State: The Next Batman series as well given Derington’s already impressive interpretation of Batman and his world in that book. In Batman Universe, colored by Dave Stewart, Derington goes for a more Brave and the Bold vibe that highlights Batman’s visual versatility. He gets to play with more fantasy elements here than in Next Batman, but the sense that he’s talented enough to make Batman his own is already present there.
The visual quality of Future State: The Next Batman #1 guides Batman’s character development down less conventional paths. That the city is so new as well means we as readers are also testing this Batman out. He has to win our hearts and our hard-earned money come new comics Wednesday. So far, Derington and Bonvillain are making a strong case for it on visuals alone.
The sales success and acclaim of this linewide look into potential futures of the DC Universe has resulted in the publisher returning to press to reprint several titles:
Future State: Dark Detective #1
Future State: The Next Batman #1
Future State: The Next Batman #2
Future State: Wonder Woman #1
Future State: Harley Quinn #1
Future State: Swamp Thing #1
These dynamic “character portrait” style covers feature art from some of the hottest artists in comics, including Nick Derington, Joelle Jones, Dan Mora, Jen Bartel, and Mike Perkins. If you missed a chance to read these groundbreaking stories make sure and pick up your favorite when they hit participating comic book stores on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.
With John Ridley writing the main story, there’s no way I wasn’t going to read Future State: The Next Batman #1. A new Batman in a fascist Gotham written by Ridley is a combination that’s right up my alley. And even with a high bar to cover, I was not only pleased, but excited to read the next issue and wishing we were getting more than two.
In this future Gotham, a militaristic police called The Magistrate has taken over pushing the Gotham P.D. to the side. “The Bat” and masks are outlawed and hunted down. A new Batman is in town not just stopping crime but attempting to save masks from a fate at the hand of the Magistrate.
Ridley delivers such a strong opening and familiar but different take on the character. There’s a classic Batman vibe to it all going back to the basics of a man in a costume with his grappling hook and smoke. It’s theatrical in many ways and feels like a cross of the early years of the character and Batman 1989. Ridley also spins things a bit with layers on the fascism and vigilantism. Some take Batman as an extension of a rightwing agenda as far as justice but to see him rail against an overreaching government is a nice and different spin. It makes me want to see Ridley release a maxi-series further exploring the concepts touched upon here.
The art by Nick Derington is top-notch. There are so many panels and pages that evoke classic Batman with a few paying an homage to classic imagery. Derington is joined by Tamra Bonvillain on color and Clayton Cowles on colors. The combination creates a look and feel of a “classic Batman” story and some of the modern classics that use the shadows to evoke fear and excitement for what’s to come.
Future State: The Next Batman #1 is one of the expanded “Future State” issues featuring two other stories.
“Outsiders” is written by Brandon Thomas with art by Sumit Kumar, ink by Kumar and Raul Fernandez, color by Jordie Bellaire, and lettering by Steve Wands. We get to see a new crew of Outsiders as they attempt to take down The Magistrate. It’s a great extension of the world in the main story showing more of the resistance against the fascist police. There’s a lot packed into the story really setting things up and creating a world out of a dozen pages or so. It feels in a way two short stories itself but is such a strong entry that expands the world and compliments the main story. The art is fantastic as well delivering some great action.
“Arkham Knights Chapter 1 Rise” is written by Paul Jenkins with art by Jack Herbert, color by Gabe Eltaeb, and lettering by Rob Leigh. Much like the other story, this one also adds a lot to this new world. The Arkham Knights is a squad of Batman villains who have come together to take on The Magistrate. There’s a Suicide Squad vibe about it but the concept and how it’s presented is really interesting. It’s the specifics of the concept that really stand out. The art too is great with updates to classic characters.
Future State: The Next Batman #1 is a winner of a comic. I wanted to read more immediately and now I want an entire series exploring this world. There’s some great concepts here and an interesting exploration of the line between justice and fascism. Where the line is drawn is a great concept to dive in to and this comic dances around it with some fantastic writing and characters. A lot is packed into the extended issue and it’s such a welcome addition to the DC and Batman mythology.
Story: John Ridley, Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins Art: Nick Derington, Sumit Kumar, Jack Herbert Ink: Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez Color: Tamra Bonvillain, Jordie Bellaire, Gabe Eltaeb Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review