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