Review: Future State: Dark Detective #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
The Multiverse survived and Future State: Dark Detective #1 is a harrowing glimpse into the future of Bruce Wayne, Gotham, and the dangers that await them both. And for a backup story, we have Grifter Cole Cash pursued by the GCPD, the Magistrate, minions of Peacekeepers, and now paired with a Luke Fox who is simply trying to get out of Gotham.
Positives — Dark Detective
Writer Mariko Tamaki opens the story with two parallel moments. One in the present and one from a month prior. It was one month ago when Bruce Wayne was shot in an alley, and just a few days later when the Batman was no longer operating from the rooftops of Gotham.
It is over the course of this one month that we see how Gotham changes. The city continues to feel the effects of the loss of its favored son. A forgotten son who is now wandering the streets as a nameless stranger. A man who cannot give up responding when he hears a cry for help or fighting when the weak are threatened. Therefore, there is a continued need for a Dark Detective.
Watching a penniless Bruce Wayne outmaneuvered by Mayor Nakano, the AI resources of the Magistrate, and the Peacekeeper forces of Gotham is like watching one of those adventure runners on television. The kind where the competitor faces and overcomes, and then faces new obstacles and impossibilities. The beautiful art by Dan Mora captures the harsh gritty landscape through the eyes of a beleaguered citizen that is now a stranger.
Jordy Bellaire’s colors highlight the glaring neon billboards and signage on the streets and businesses. The colors illuminate the frantic feeling and stark threats of every panel. In turn, they showcase the brilliantly subtle moments like a flashlight in the dark and the shadows that surround it.
Negatives – Dark Detective
When Batman is down but still fighting, it’s positive. There is no negative found in the resourcefulness on display.
Positives — Grifters
Writer Matthew Rosenberg gives us a Grifter AKA Cole Cash who has hung up his mask. Choosing to trade it in for seedy card games in an even seedier bar. He’s chosen not to use the name Cole because of the trouble it gets him in. So when people claiming to be the GCPD out him among the denizens of his current workplace, Cole hits, and runs. Then he runs right into the arms of the Magistrate. Grifter is cocky and funny and often comes up short.
This makes him the perfect companion for a member of the Fox family with the funds to get them both out of Gotham. Because Grifter is wanted, he must seek someone who is also on a legendary 52-card deck of wanted masked criminals. But the person with the help he needs the most may not be interested. Fans of the legendary hunter of the guilty will enjoy the arrival on the last page and panel.
Negatives – Grifters
Something this fun needs to be in its own book.
Future State: Dark Detective #1 makes the important decision to not travel too far down the road into the future. It allows the reader to experience an emotional connection with characters currently on the scene in present-day Batman titles. They have grown into positions of power and opportunity and sometimes tragedy. But it is also far enough down the road that what little money Batman could hold on to when he moved into his Brownstone in Gotham is gone. Along with what seems the last vestiges of the Wayne family and its influence.
In the backup story, we get to see how Grifter and other characters not as well-known or at least known for taking a role in the spotlight are navigating a new Gotham. These characters offer significantly unique viewpoints and show the layered effect of the Magistrate and the no masks rule that has changed the landscape, and the heartbeat of fabled Gotham.