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The true star of The Next Batman is Derington and Bonvillain’s Gotham City

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.

Future State: The Next Batman #1

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.

Future State: The Next Batman #1

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.

Future State: The Next Batman #1

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.

Future State: The Next Batman #1
The Next Batman #1

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.


Purchase: comiXology – Amazon – Kindle – Zeus Comics

DC Future State Heads Back to Print

DC’s two-month Future State event launched this week with a bang! You can check out all of our reviews.

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.

Review: Future State: The Next Batman #1

Future State: The Next Batman #1

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


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Future State: The Next Batman #1

Future State: The Next Batman #1

Written by: Ken Kristensen, Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins, John Ridley
Art by: Sumit Kumar, Nick Derington, Jack Herbert

Gotham City has always been dangerous-but now, it’s downright deadly! Following the tragedy of “A-Day,” the mayor allowed the private law enforcement group known as the Magistrate to take over policing so-called mask crime-and that has given rise to a new Dark Knight! What is this mysterious crime fighter’s connection to former Batman weaponeer Lucius Fox? The fight for justice has never been this dangerous! Then, in an new tale of the Outsiders, everything in Gotham City may be under the thumb of the Magistrate-but even members of that totalitarian force know that the outskirts of town are protected by the sword of Katana! Plus, ride with the Arkham Knights on their quest for freedom. Arkham Asylum has been decommissioned, and the Magistrate rules the land with an iron fist and zero tolerance. Now it’s time for the lunatics to take back their town! Follow Croc, Two-Face, Phosphorus, Zsasz, Clayface, and Astrid Arkham as the Arkham Knights raise holy hell on the occupiers of Gotham!

Future State: The Next Batman #1

Meet Tim Fox… the Next Batman!

Even before the announcement of DC Future State and Future State: The Next Batman, by John Ridley, Nick Derington, and Laura Braga, the news that a person of color could be the next to don the cape and cowl as Gotham City’s protector created excitement and speculation as to how that person would be.

Today, the speculation finally ends with the reveal of this surprise variant cover to issue #2 of the four-issue January/February miniseries. Featuring striking art by Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez, Gotham’s defender in this dystopian future is revealed as Tim (Jace) Fox, estranged son of Lucius Fox and brother to the former Batwing Luke Fox.

Tim Fox’s first comic book appearance was in Batman #313, April 10, 1979. The character has since been teased in the current Batman line, first as a mention in “Family Ties,” the John Ridley/Olivier Coipel story from September’s Batman: The Joker War Zone anthology. In October’s Batman #101, he also shows up in a conversation between Batman and Lucius Fox, who has since acquired the Wayne fortune and technology as a result of The Joker War.

On February 23, 2021. Ridley and Coipel reunite to tell another story of The Next Batman and give him a sidekick as part of DC’s Batman: Black & White anthology series.

Future State: The Next Batman debuts in comic book stores and participating digital platforms on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, with new issues available every other week (issue #2 on January 26, issue #3 on February 2, and issue #4 on February 16). Each 64-page oversized issue includes backup stories of other Gotham City heroes and villains taking on the oppressive rule of The Magistrate and its war on vigilantes:

  • Future State: Arkham Knights, by Paul Jenkins and Jack Herbert (issues #1 and #3)
  • Future State: Outsiders, by Brandon Thomas and Sumit Kumar (issues #1 and #3)
  • Future State: Batgirls, by Vita Ayala and Aneke (issues #2 and #4)
  • Future State: Gotham City Sirens, by Paula Sevenbergen and Emanuela Lupacchino (issues #2 and #4)

DC Officially Announces Future State, a Two-Month Line Wide Event

DC Comics is kicking off 2021 with a look into the future with DC Future State. The rumored line-wide event has been revealed today. It kicks off in January 2021 and goes through 2021. DC Future State features a combination of monthly and twice-monthly oversize anthologies, as we well as a miniseries and one-shots,

DC Future State spotlights the World’s Greatest Super Heroes in fresh new roles, with all-new characters taking up their iconic mantles. DC Future State features an incredible array of creative talent, combining award-winning writers and artists with new voices from the worlds of TV, movies, and animation. In March 2021, the regular DC title lineup resumes, continuing existing storylines from 2020 and introducing new arcs for the year.

In DC Future State, the Multiverse has been saved from the brink of destruction, but the triumph of DC’s heroes has shaken loose the very fabric of time and space! The final chapter of Dark Nights: Death Metal (on sale January 5, 2021)  brings new life to DC’s Multiverse, kicking off this glimpse into the unwritten worlds of DC’s future!

A stellar array of writers and artists are on hand to deliver this unique look at beloved DC characters, including fan favorites such as Mariko Tamaki, Brian Michael Bendis, Gene Luen Yang, Joëlle Jones, Joshua Williamson, Nicola Scott, Cully Hamner, and John Timms, along with new voices such as award-winning screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), Brandon Vietti (Young Justice), Meghan Fitzmartin (SupernaturalDC Super Hero Girls), Brandon Easton (Thundercats, Transformers: War for Cybertron), Alitha Martinez (REPRESENT! It’s A Bird!), L.L. McKinney (Nubia: Real One), Paula Sevenbergen (Stargirl), and Siya Oum (Lola XOXO), among others.

Check out below to see what the future beholds!

Batman Family

In this future, Gotham City is controlled by the Magistrate. This villainous regime has taken control of the city, now under constant surveillance. All masked vigilantes have been outlawed and Batman has been killed. But led by an all-new Batman, a new assembly of Gotham’s guardians rise to give hope to all of those who lost it!

Oversized Comics:

Future State: The Next Batman #1-4

  • The Next Batman, by John Ridley, Nick Derington and Laura Braga
  • Outsiders, by Brandon Thomas and Sumit Kumar
  • Arkham Knights, by Paul Jenkins and Jack Herbert
  • Batgirls, by Vita Ayala and Aneke
  • Gotham City Sirens, by Paula Sevenbergen and Emanuela Lupacchino

Future State: Dark Detective #1-4

  • Dark Detective, by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora
  • Grifters, by Matthew Rosenberg and Carmine di Giandomenico
  • Red Hood, by Joshua Williamson and Giannis Milonogiannis

Monthly Miniseries:

  • Future State: Batman/Superman, by Gene Luen Yang and Ben Oliver
  • Future State: Catwoman, by Ram V and Otto Schmidt
  • Future State: Harley Quinn, by Stephanie Phillips and Simone Di Meo
  • Future State: Nightwing, by Andrew Constant and Nicola Scott
  • Future State: Robin Eternal, by Meghan Fitzmartin and Eddy Barrows
Superman Family

Due to his involvement in an international crisis happening in the near future, Clark Kent has been rejected by Earth, causing him to focus his lifesaving efforts outside his adopted home. He travels to Warworld to rise through the ranks of gladiatorial combat in order to defeat Mongul with the help of some unlikely heroes. Back in Metropolis, Clark’s son Jon has taken on the mantle of Superman. After seeing the horrors that befell Gotham, he bottles Metropolis in order to keep it safe, putting him at odds with Supergirl.

Connecting the two oversized Future State: Superman titles, Shilo Norman, the man known as Mister Miracle, finds himself caught between the city he grew up in and the battle-torn planet that could be his downfall.

Meanwhile in the Amazon rainforest, Yara Flor is chosen to be the new Wonder Woman. Years later, the new Superman and Wonder Woman join forces to save their cities in a new superhero team-up the likes of which the world has never seen.

Oversized Comics:

Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1-2

  • Superman of Metropolis, by Sean Lewis and John Timms
  • The Guardian, by Sean Lewis and Cully Hamner
  • Mister Miracle, by Brandon Easton and Valentine De Landro
Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1-2

Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1-4

  • Superman: Worlds of War, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Mikel Janin
  • Midnighter, by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Gleb Melnikov
  • Black Racer, by Jeremy Adams and Siya Oum
  • Mister Miracle, by Brandon Easton and Valentine De Landro
Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1-4

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1-2

  • Immortal Wonder Woman, by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Jen Bartel
  • Nubia, by L.L. McKinney, Alitha E. Martinez and Mark Morales
Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1-2

Monthly Miniseries and One-Shots

  • Future State: House of El, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Scott Godlewski (one-shot on sale February)
  • Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman, by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage
  • Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes, by Brian Michael Bendis and Riley Rossmo
  • Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman, by Dan Watters and Leila del Duca
  • Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex, by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh (3-issue series ending March 2021)
  • Future State: Wonder Woman, by Joëlle Jones
Justice League Family

A thread of great change runs through the Justice League heroes: a new League is built upon secret identities (even from each other), but an old and evolved enemy will use these secrets to try and overthrow the world. For the supernatural heroes of Justice League Dark, the very fabric of reality has shifted, and heroes are being hunted.

For Flash, Shazam, and the Teen Titans, it all begins when the four Riders of the Apocalypse unleash hell in a battle at Titans Academy, Barry Allen is cut off from the Speed Force, a Famine-controlled Wally West may be beyond saving, and Billy Batson makes a deal with the devil that will change Shazam forever. Off-world, John Stewart and the remaining Green Lanterns are stranded in the shadow of a dead power battery; Jackson Hyde and Andy Curry are separated across the galaxy; and Amanda Waller executes her ultimate plan with a new but terrifyingly familiar Suicide Squad on Earth-3.

At the end of time, Swamp Thing reveals its true intention, ruling supreme until a remnant of humanity launches a rebellion, and Black Adam looks to the past as the only way to save the future of the Multiverse.

Oversized Comics:

Future State: Justice League #1-2

  • Justice League, by Joshua Williamson and Robson Rocha
  • Justice League Dark, by Ram V and Marcio Takara
Future State: Justice League #1

Future State: Green Lantern #1-2

  • Last Lanterns, by Geoffrey Thorne and Tom Raney
  • Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, by Josie Campbell, Ryan Cady and Ernie Altbacker, with Sami Basri and Clayton Henry
Future State: Green Lantern #1

Future State: Suicide Squad #1-2

  • Suicide Squad, by Robbie Thompson and Javi Fernandez
  • Black Adam, by Jeremy Adams and Fernando Pasarin
Future State: Suicide Squad #1

Monthly Miniseries:

  • Future State: Aquaman, by Brandon Thomas and Daniel Sampere
  • Future State: The Flash, by Brandon Vietti and Dale Eaglesham
  • Future State: Teen Titans, by Tim Sheridan and Rafa Sandoval
  • Future State: SHAZAM!, by Tim Sheridan and Eduardo Pansica
  • Future State: Swamp Thing, by Ram V and Mike Perkins

John Ridley’s Batman is Over a 47% Chance a Person of Color

During DC FanDome, it was revealed that award-winning writer John Ridley and artist Nick Derington are teaming up for a four-issue miniseries out in January 2021.

During the panel it was revealed that this Batman is definitely not Bruce Wayne. Ridley stated:

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that if I’m writing Batman, it’s probably a little better than a 47% chance he’s going to be a person of color.

Ridley also revealed the series will focus on the family of Lucius Fox, the head of Wayne Enterprises. THe series focuses on the family secrets that are being kept from each other, a little bit of a different dynamice than the Batman we’ve always seen.

Check out some key art for Ridley and Derrington’s version of Batman by the artist Ladrönn.

Preview: Batman/Superman #8

Batman/Superman #8

(W) Joshua Williamson (A/CA) Nick Derington
In Shops: Mar 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

General Zod is on a mission to resurrect the Bottle City of Kandor, and he’s ready to obliterate anyone in his path! Deep within the ruins of an ancient temple, Ra’s al Ghul’s bid to save his Lazarus Pits from Kryptonian chaos has brought the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel into a brawl neither expected-or was prepared for! What can Batman and Superman possibly do to stop an army of Kandorian zombies? Find out in the conclusion of the epic “Kandor Compromise”!

Batman/Superman #8

Preview: Batman/Superman #7

Batman/Superman #7

(W) Joshua Williamson (A/CA) Nick Derington
In Shops: Feb 26, 2020
SRP: $3.99

In the aftermath of “The Infected,” Batman and Superman create new measures to prevent hidden and dangerous super-villain plots in the future. Using new technology to track villains throughout the DC Universe, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are startled to discover that General Zod has returned to Earth-and that his new target is…Ra’s al Ghul! What is Zod’s plan, and what does it have to do with the destroyed bottle city of Kandor? Find out in the first chapter of a two-part epic featuring the work of artist Nick Derington!

Batman/Superman #7
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