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!
Written by: Jeremy Adams, Brandon Easton, Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Phillip Kennedy Johnson Art by: Siya Oum, Mikel Janin, Gleb Melnikov, Valentine De Landro
This monumental Future State title features four big stories! First, Clark Kent is gone, leaving a Superman-shaped hole behind. People gather in Smallville to celebrate their hero, little realizing that he is across the galaxy helping others. Superman has gone to Warworld, where he fights as a gladiator in the deadly pits of Mongul. But this is Superman we’re talking about-and his idea of a victory does not line up with the expectations of Mongul’s hordes! Meanwhile, on the other side of Warworld, other agents are at work, struggling for a better life. Shilo Norman, the man known as Mister Miracle, has ridden a Boom Tube across the cosmos from Metropolis to finds himself at odds with an entire planet! At the same time, Midnighter, the greatest fighter from Earth, is punching his way through a whole mess of trouble. He’s on the hunt for a new energy source deadlier than Kryptonite. His goal: to shut it down before it gets unleashed on an unsuspecting universe. On top of that, the Black Racer, a girl raised in the slums of Warworld to be one of its top competitors, turns betrayal into a crusade to fight for the freedom of others like her.
No one’s seen Billy Batson in years-not since the incident known as the Final Battle of Titans Island. Now leading a small band of heroes, even his allies have begun to ask who’s controlling Earth’s Mightiest Mortal. In a story set years after the events of Future State: Teen Titans, learn the truth behind the sacrifice Billy made to imprison an ultimate evil even he couldn’t destroy.
Batman is gone! Now, Nightwing has taken on the mission of keeping the citizens of Gotham City safe from the Magistrate. But to do that, he’ll have stay one step ahead of the Magistrate! And you know things have gotten bad in Gotham when the safest place for Dick to hide out is the abandoned Arkham Asylum! When Nightwing gets a visit from a mask claiming to be the new Batman…does he fight like one? Pick up this dark peek into the future by writer Andrew Constant and artist Nicola Scott to find out!
Written by: L.L. McKinney, Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan Art by: Alitha Martinez, Jen Bartel
The Undoing are coming. Long past the Age of Heroes, few of Diana Prince’s friends survive, and most of her sisters have passed as well. As an immortal goddess, this is her lot. But then, a threat appears that even the mighty Darkseid can’t handle-and it’s up to Wonder Woman to take on the battle! It’s big action and high fantasy at the end of time, courtesy of Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Becky Cloonan (By Chance or Providence, Gotham Academy) and her Doom Patrol co-writer Michael W. Conrad, with the popular artist Jen Bartel (Blackbird) making her interior art debut for DC. Then, peer into a closer future as the original champion of Themyscira strikes out on her own. Things have not been stable on Paradise Island for some time, and Nubia has found a new home in Man’s World. Now, she is tasked with protecting it from the dangers of the world of myths and magic. The writer of DC’s Nubia: Real One, L.L. McKinney, takes this powerful Amazon to a whole new level.
Masked vigilantes have been deemed illegal, and the Magistrate has commandeered a bullet train to take those they’ve captured to a reformation facility-and filled the rest of the train with innocent children! Catwoman is hellbent on ensuring it never reaches its destination. Armed with a new magnetic suit, assisted by her trusty band of Strays, and featuring Catwoman’s new protégé, she must pull off the impossible: a train heist where she steals…the train itself! But Selina isn’t the only person aboard who has plans for this train and its most unexpected passenger!
Future State: Justice League #1 is an interesting comic. There’s a lot to like about it. But, there’s also a lot to be frustrated by as well. There’s two stories and each has their strengths and weaknesses.
Joshua Williamson handles the writing duties for the first story focused on the Justice League of the future. With a new Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, The Flash, Aquawoman, and Wonder Woman, the comic gives us familiar characters but new takes. It also delivers an interesting new status quo in some ways.
In Future State: Justice League #1, the Legion of Doom has been murdered leaving the Justice League to figure out who did it. Roles aren’t quite as straightforward as one might expect changing up some of the expectations for the team. There’s also a new dynamic in that this is a team that doesn’t know each other’s identities. We’re told of some major events in the past that has lead to that but it doesn’t hamper the story. There are some hints as to what has happened but it doesn’t linger in the details. We’re absolutely left wanting more but it’s not the focus brought up over and over.
Instead, Williamson focuses on the lasting reverberations of the past and how they impact this new team. There’s a discussion if these heroes should be hampered by the ghosts of the past. That’s really interesting and I wish there was more of it. Sadly, it’s all cut short as the real villains are revealed. A group I have no connection to so I was left shrugging my shoulders.
The art by Robson Rocha is fantastic. Daniel Henriques is on ink, Romulo Fajardo, Jr. is on color, and Tom Napolitano on lettering. There’s solid page layouts and the design and look of the characters are great. The comic had me looking at the art and pages to check out the details and dissect the look of the comic. It just looks really good and has a good pacing despite much of the comic is standing around and chatting.
The comic also features a Justice League Dark story, “Prophéties“. It’s written by Ram V., with art by Marcio Takara, color by Marcelo Maiolo, and lettering by Rob Leigh. Here we’re given a different future where magic users are under attack. It’s a wasteland post-apocalyptic world where instead of a lot of what we’ve seen elsewhere, this one is more sword and sorcery. Zatanna and Bobo are attempting to figure out what has happened as they also do what they can to survive. Merlin has returned taking the magic and hunting down users and murdering them.
It’s an interesting story that has a nice blending of settings. Where it goes and what’s revealed has me wanting to find out more and see what’s next. But, it also feels like a story arc that’s a bit of a filler between bigger arcs. It’s not bad, it doesn’t quite hit the mark with its big moments.
Future State: Justice League #1 is an ok comic. It’s not bad. It’s also not exciting enough. Both stories have their moments and interesting aspects. But, the Justice League characters are a bit more interesting in their own “Future State” series. The Justice League Dark story packs a lot in but misses that punch to really make it exciting. This is one for those who really want to see more of these characters or worlds.
Story: Joshua Williamson, Ram V. Art: Robson Rocha, Marcio Takara Ink: Daniel Henriques Color: Romulo Fajardo, Jr., Marcelo Maiolo Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Rob Leigh Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Future State has been delivering a fascinating look at possible futures of the DC Universe. While some have provided pretty smooth transitions, others have left too many questions. The world these comics exist in themselves are a distraction. Future State: Green Lantern #1 is one of those issues. In this future, the Green Lantern battery appears to be no more, and the Lanterns a shell of what they were. Why? Who knows. But, it’s a question that’ll be in the back of your head while you read the comic.
Geoffrey Thorne delivers an interesting story of a siege and last stand. John Stewart is leading a band of Lanterns as they protect a planet under siege. Their goal is to get survivors off the planet and slow the tide of attack. Coming out so soon after the events of January 6, it’s an odd comic as it’s hard to read it and not think of the officers who stood against the attacking crowds.
Thorne gives us a valiant issue. Future State: Green Lantern #1 presents the Lanterns as heroes who put their own lives on the line even when the odds are against them. There’s no fancy rings to wield, it’s just guns and swords to hold off the evil they face. And, some give their lives in doing so. Thorne delivers emotion and trauma as the odds diminish and you’re left not knowing if Stewart and team will walk away.
I sort of like Tom Raney’s art. With color by Mike Atiyeh and lettering by Andworld Design, it’s more of a personal thing for me. There’s a slight cartoonish style to the comic that doesn’t quite click for me. But there’s some great moments and I really like the design of the characters. Raney gives us the emotional hits and a good look at Stewart’s reactions. But, the art doesn’t quite click with the drama. As a sci-fi comic, the style works really well but here it doesn’t nail the emotional moments.
The comic features a second tale, “The Taking of Sector 0123“. Written by Ryan Cady with art by Sami Basri, colors by Hi-Fi, and lettering by Dave Sharpe, it’s a solid story featuring Jessica Cruz. Some of Sinestro’s Yellow Lantern Corp have headed to a Green Lantern station with an intention of taking it over. All that’s left to stop them is Cruz without her power ring. What takes place is a story we’ve seen many times before. It’s Die Hard and numerous other films of that sort but it works. It works really well. That ending though! It’s the strongest of the three stories within.
The third story, “Book of Guy“, is really humorous as Guy Gardner is stuck on a world after his Ring’s power gives out. Written by Ernie Altabacker with art by Clayton Henry, color by Marcelo Maiolo, and lettering by Steve Wands, the story is entertaining and cute, a solid back-up story. It’s funny and definitely had me laughing by the end.
Future State: Green Lantern #1 isn’t a bad issue at all but it dances the history of the DC Universe up to this point. It’s hard to not keep wondering what problem hit the Green Lanterns. Why are things like the way they are. It left me wanting to learn about that more than what was presented. That’s good in a way but also a bit frustrating as well.
Story: Geoffrey Thorne, Ryan Cady, Ernie Altabacker Art: Tom Raney, Sami Basri, Clayton Henry Color: Mike Atiyeh, Hi-Fi, Marcelo Maiolo Letterer: Andworld Design, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Out of all of the various aspects of DC’s Future State so far, the place Gotham’s in has been the most intriguing. It’s a police state ruled by “The Magistrate”, an organization that hunts down masked individuals to bring order to the city. It’s a literal police state where the jackbooted militarized force patrols the streets to bring order. We’ve seen a new Batman and Harley Quinn’s place among other stories, but, where’s Bruce Wayne? Future State: Dark Detective #1 begins to answer that question with one of two stories.
Writer Mariko Tamaki brings us the main event, what happened to Bruce Wayne. The Magistrate is good and is able to do what so many have tried, “kill” Batman. But, like so many before, Batman’s not really dead and now underground figuring out what to do next. With Batman dead, Bruce Wayne too is dead. The duo wander a Gotham that’s unfamiliar and dangerous. It’s a neon city that feels like something out of an anime as opposed to the dark and grimy Gotham of the past.
Future State: Dark Detective #1 delivers an interesting Batman and Bruce Wayne. Stripped of his toys and money, Wayne is on the run and underground. It’s a city he doesn’t recognize and one where he’s unsure of what to do and where to go. But, he’s Bruce Wayne, he’s the Batman. When he witnesses a crime, he suits up back into action which puts him on the run from The Magistrate again. Injured and battered, this isn’t the Batman we’re used to, there’s an actual feeling he might fail and lose.
Part of that dread is due to the art of Dan Mora. Joined by Jordie Bellaire on color and Aditya Bidikar on lettering, the art shows the pain of Bruce’s battle. Juxtaposed with the bright lights of Gotham, you can see a beaten down Bruce, one who’s struggling. From the way he moves, to the look on his face, the details to show Bruce’s struggles are fantastic. There’s also the bright lights of the city which really pop. There’s such some great details here that really make the city stand out as a character by itself. This is a Gotham I want to explore and see more of.
There’s a second tale, “Future Past” focused on Grifter. Written by Matthew Rosenberg with art by Carmine Di Giamdomenico, color by Antonio Fabela, and lettering by Andworld Design, it’s a fairly straightforward story that also adds depth to this new Gotham. With Gotham under a police state, Grifter is playing it low, trying to not bring attention to himself but that doesn’t mean he’s not being hunted by the Magistrate. He comes across Luke Fox and from there it’s a race to get out of Gotham. The story is one we’ve seen but it adds depth to Gotham and allows us to see another slice of the big picture that’s playing out through multiple series. It’s an entertaining story full of personality and action and shows that Grifter should be front and center in his own series.
Future State: Dark Detective #1 is an entertaining comic. It works better as part of the puzzle through multiple series in Future State. On its own though, it still delivers a comic you can sit back and enjoy. The art shines as it powers two stories that are similar in some ways and tell us so much about this new reality. So far, this is a Gotham and world I want to see more of it after this mini-event ends.
Story: Mariko Tamaki, Matthew Rosenberg Art: Dan Mora, Carmine Di Giandomenico Color: Jordie Bellaire, Antonio Fabela Letterer: Aditya Bidikar, Andworld Design Story: 7.75 Art: 8.65 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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.