When it came to DC’s Future State two-month event, the Batman portion is the one that stood out the most. Gotham was now under the protection of a fascist police force called the Magistrate. “Masks” are now outlawed and hunted. Red Hood was now a bounty hunter, having shunned his friends, and now working for the Magistrate. Future State: Gotham #1 takes us back to this possible future and Red Hood’s mission.
Written by Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver, we head back to the future. Red Hood has gone solo doing what he can to stop the remaining Batman rogues. But, he’s now employed by the Magistrate. The creative team does a solid job of setting things up. Future State: Gotham #1 is a reminder for fans who read the previous releases but also acts as a great way for new readers to catch up with everything. The reveals are for those new readers while acting as a reminder for others. But, those reveals also takes things a bit further than we previously knew.
It’s a solid issue that takes us deeper into the world while also feeling like a continuation of what has already been released. There’s a solid mix of action, mystery, and a little bit of emotions. Williamson and Culver make Jason Todd, aka Red Hood, a little sympathetic in the issue. There are moments I genuinely felt bad for him.
The art by Giannis Milonogiannis is a bit surprising… it’s in black and white! With lettering by Troy Peteri, the comic delivers action with some great sense of motion. There’s something very interesting and different for the issue. It doesn’t feature color, that’s the most obvious, but the “pencils” brings a quality that feels like manga at times. That’s not a bad thing at all as it delivers dynamic moments full of action and excitement. The choice of black and white is interesting as the original Future State’s Gotham was highlighted by its neon colors that lit it up like a futuristic Vegas mixed with Tokyo. Without that, it takes away one of the “characters” that made the original so good.
The issue also features “The Third Mask” by Katsuhiro Otomo. Reprinting the classic story, it’s translated by Jo Duffy and is lettered by Bill Oakley. While there’s aspects I like of the story, it feels a bit choppy in its narrative. There’s some philosophical moments about it that’s really interesting and leaves readers to ponder. Tied into the main story, it makes complete sense as to why it was included. But, the story is 25 years old and its style doesn’t quite hold up. Also in black in white, it’s a compliment to the main story but a flawed one.
Future State: Gotham #1 is a nice start to the return to the future. It’s a world and story that I wanted to see more of. While it doesn’t have the colorful pop of its basis, it brings something new and different as well. It digs its roots into the manga that clearly influenced the previous stories and does it well. Here’s hoping we can get more than this one series exploring this world, there’s that much to dive in to.
Story: Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver, Katsuhiro Otomo Art: Giannis Milonogiannis, Katsuhiro Otomo
Letterer: Troy Peteri, Bill Oakley Translation: Jo Duffy
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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