Review: Future State The Next Batman TPB (DC Comics)

Out now in glorious trade paperback Future State: The Next Batman Collects Future State: The Next Batman #1-4; Future State: Dark Detective #1-3 and Future State: Nightwing #1-2 along with the back up stories Batgirl, Grifter, The Outsiders, Gotham City Sirens and Arkham Knights.

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. Discover the DC Universe like never before!

FUTURE STATE: THE NEXT BATMAN

The Next Batman is a 4 issue mini series written by John Ridley with art by Nick Derington and Laura Braga, colours by Tamara Bonvillain and Arif Prianto and letters by Clayton Cowles.

The DC timeline has been shattered, and the pieces of a dark possible Future State are reflected! Giant, sprawling future Gotham City is under martial law, protected and regulated by a private security force led by the infamous Peacekeepers. Their mandate is to maintain the safety of the citizens of Gotham, regardless of any Constitutional rights, and to hunt down, incarcerate, or kill all masked vigilantes, villains, and criminals in the city limits. It’s a dangerous and violent look at a possible future Gotham City and the heroes and villains who live there! 

Although this is a possible future Gotham, it feels very much like the Gotham we know and love. There are still good guys trying to do good and bad guys trying to do bad and stuck in the middle is Batman trying to stop both sides of the law from killing each other. The story doesn’t go much into what happened to Bruce Wayne or why someone else took over the cowl but it doesn’t matter because it’s simply a fantastic, fun and dark Batman story. The art is incredible, especially when Nick Derington is behind the pen and feels very reminiscent of one of his other books, Batman Universe. Following that book and now this series I feel like Derington has become my favourite Batman artist and mainly for his trademark image of Batman swooping down towards you with his cape spread out wide.

FUTURE STATE: THE DARK DETECTIVE 

The Dark Detective is a 4 issue mini series written by Mariko Tamaki with art by Dan Mora, colours by Jordie Bellaire and letters by Aditya Bidikar.

They thought Bruce Wayne was dead. They were dead wrong! He survived and has been laying low for years now trying to sort out how to win back Gotham City from it’s new rulers, The Magistrate. The only problem? He doesn’t think he can anymore. They’re too big, they’re too powerful. And the latest horrific revelation? They have EYES EVERYWHERE.

This chapter is by far my favourite of the collection. Set in a Neo-Gotham setting Dark Detective feels like Batman meets Ghost in the Shell and every page made me super excited while I was reading it. The story itself plays into my favourite style of Batman story where his back is against the wall and any lesser of a man would surely be doomed but Bruce Wayne is no ordinary man and he once again shows why he continues to be the ultimate hero.

I love the way Batman is drawn in this book which is surely a homage to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns style of the Dark Knight. Big, Dark and grizzled showing every single muscle in his body and the sheer ferocity in his face bleeds out of every panel. This blended with the very modern looking neon Gotham is a combination you didn’t know you wanted but now you find yourself craving it in every Batman story. 

FUTURE STATE: NIGHTWING 

Future State Nightwing is a 2 issue mini series written by Andrew Constant with art by Nicola Scott, colours by Ivan Plascencia and letters by Wes Abbott.

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 to 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!

This is a well constructed one and done arc highlighting everything great about Nightwing. With Batman gone the story lays the weight of Gotham’s problems on Nightwings shoulder and this explores not only the physical but mental strains this has on him. What this story does that I don’t ever remember seeing in a Nightwing book is what Nightwing would do to fight back when pushed to the absolute limit and it makes one hell of a story, depicted to perfection. The art in this whole book is incredible and again with the Nightwing issues we see brilliantly designed layouts, intricate details and a dark, moody Gotham city.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

As a trade collection this book is a dream for Batman fans. I was initially sceptical about the whole Future State event but having read Justice League and now The Next Batman I have found the event to be incredibly entertaining. All three stories have well crafted, self contained stories that casual readers can just pick up and put down but they all play heavily into the lore of the Bat family which veteran fans will love. The art sketches and backup stories make this one meaty collection and a must read for Batman fans. In my opinion this book is worth it purely for The Dark Detective while the other stories are a wonderful bonus.

I read this via an advance physical copy issued by Penguin Random House Global on behalf of DC comics and received no other incentive to review this comic. All images and artwork are courtesy of DC comics and their respective owners.

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