Review: FUTURE STATE: CATWOMAN #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Ram V
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Colours: Otto Schmidt
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Future State: Catwoman #1: 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!
The possible future timeline presented in DC’s comic books has turned the world of Batman upside-down. Gotham has become a totalitarian state, Bruce Wayne is presumed dead, there’s a new Batman, his allies are now either outlaws or prisoners, and a number of his foes are now freedom fighters.
So, what has happened to Bruce’s lover and sometimes ally, sometimes foe, Selina Kyle? Well, Future State: Catwoman #1 gives us a glimpse of what Selina’s been up to. She’s still in Alleytown and seems to have amassed a large group of followers. We see her giving them a cat hand signal that they return while reciting an oath: “Here, many have lived and lost. In the cold nights and long days. We follow none but we will always have each other. There will always be strays”. It seems that Selina has built Alleytown into a community that takes care of its citizens.
However, a number of Alleytown’s youth are being shipped by train to a reformatory to be rehabilitated into “productive law-abiding citizens” of Gotham City. Catwoman puts on her catsuit to board the train and rescue the young people under her protection. However, there are other prisoners on the train that make this a lot more interesting and vital adventure.
The first of these is the villain Onomatopoeia. You might remember him as a somewhat minor villain who only speaks in sound effects. Selina enlists him, offering to free him if he agrees to help take out the Magistrate guards on the train.
The second prisoner is much more interesting. The issue ends with the revelation that it’s Bruce Wayne himself. While Bruce is thought to be dead, readers of Future State: Dark Detective know he’s still alive. However, it’s not clear how his appearance in this title fits into the story related there. But given that the Future State titles seem to span different points in the future, it’s possible that this story happens well after the events of Dark Detective.
To complicate matters, Talia Al Ghul is also on the train. It will be interesting to see how Selina and Talia react when they meet up next issue. Will they overcome their differences to help rescue Bruce and the Alleytown kids held prisoner? It’s unclear what the status of Bruce and Selina’s relationship was when Bruce disappeared. And it’s possible that Selina might have to fight Talia might end up fighting over Bruce. And this might lead her to having to decide between saving her lover or the children of Alleytown.
I quite enjoyed the art of Otto Schmidt in this story. I especially like his rendition of the high-tech train. It’s a bit futuristic, but not overly so. After all, this is just a few years in the future, not several decades. And the colouring beautifully complements the tone of the story. I hope to see more of his artwork in other DC titles in the future.
I have no complaints. It’s clear that Ram V and Otto Schmidt are giving us a well-crafted story. Given that they only have two issues to work with, Ram V has come up with a story that can be told within that constraint, while still giving us some tantalizing glimpses of the dystopian Gotham City of the Future State timeline.
Ram V is a recent addition to DC’s talent pool, but he’s already proving himself to be quite the storyteller. I found Future State: Catwoman #1 to be rather engaging and exciting. I look forward to seeing how this story ends. And if you like this issue, be sure to check out his work in the regular Catwoman title.