Review: FUTURE STATE: THE NEXT BATMAN #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colours: Arif Prianto, Trish Mulvihill, John Kalisz
Letters: Clayton Cowles, Becca Carey
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Future State: The Next Batman #2: In this second Future State: Batman chapter, wearing a mask in Gotham City is now a crime-and when it’s compounded with murder, it can be a shoot-on-sight offense! Batman is on the trail of a murderous couple but quickly finds that all is not as it seems…and finds himself in the firing line of the Magistrate and their Peacekeepers! The gritty, street-level adventures of the new Dark Knight continue!
Also in this issue, Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown find themselves in a prison where the Magistrate throws heroes and villains alike! What no one knows, though, is that Cassandra was sent there with a mission…
And in a story of the Gotham City Sirens, some girls just want to have fun-so what do you do when you find Gotham City in turmoil and overrun by Cybers? You go shopping, of course! Join Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and a new Siren on a gal’s night out. They’re on the town, looking for trouble…and finding it!
Okay, I’ll admit that I must have misread issue #1. But upon re-reading, it still seems to me that it was implying that Luke Fox was the “Next Batman”, not Tim. However, Future State: The Next Batman #2 makes it clear that it’s Tim Fox – or Jace, as he’s rechristened himself.
I am glad to hear the announcement that Jace’s story will continue in an upcoming miniseries. There seems to be a lot of unspoken backstory and the four issues of this current series doesn’t give adequate room to explore most of it. While this story is getting a lot of attention, I hope that reader interest remains high enough to for DC to keep bringing us the adventures of this future Batman.
The second story features two Batgirls, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. At first, I was quite disappointed to see the future in store for Stephanie. The thought that she would turn traitor on the Bat-Family is totally out of character and I could not imagine what events could have transpired to make her do so. However, I was worried about nothing, as it turns out that Stephanie is actually engaged in a deep cover mission.
The resistance movement against the Magistrate has received cryptic messages leading them to believe that Batman is alive and being held in the Magistrate’s detention facility. However, we learn that it is a different member of the Bat-Family imprisoned there – the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon.
It is somewhat intriguing to go from hints about the upcoming Batgirls group and jump ahead to after that group has broken up. While much of the intervening history has yet to be written, it at least implies that the Batgirls have a significant amount of history behind them (or ahead of them). This story has me quite eager for the debut of the Batgirls series.
The third story features the Gotham City Sirens. While not a formally a group, this was a title featuring Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. However, in this future timeline, Harley has dropped out – perhaps due to her incarceration in Future State: Harley Quinn. In her place is D.D., short for “Domestic Droid”. She is an android designed to be a household servant and likely artificially intelligent sex doll. However, she seems to have some customizations that make her more powerful and self-aware than the regular model Domestic Droids.
I found it interesting that when the trio encounters a family being threatened by Magistrate goons, that it’s Selina who gets them involved in the fight. Ivy still has a general disdain for humans in general, and D.D. is hesitant due to her inexperience. But Selina has an altruistic core that has grown through her association with Batman. So it is fitting that Catwoman is the first to jump to the family’s defence.
I was also quite pleased to see Slam Bradley make an appearance in this story. It’s good to know that one of DC’s earliest character will still be around in DC’s future. However, the cliffhanger ending makes it look like he might have finally met his end in this timeline.
I just have a couple quibbles. First, “the Magistrate” seems like an awkward name for an organization. It sounds like it’s referring to a single person, not a group. They really should have used “the Magistracy”.
The second is more generally a problem with Future State overall, rather than this title in particular. There are a lot of fascinating ideas being thrown at the reader in these stories and a lot of implied backstory that would be fascinating to get into. But this event only gives us a glimpse at this future world. While we know that the Next Batman’s story is due to be explored further in the near future, we don’t know if DC will ever revisit any of the other stories in that future. Hopefully we will, but that’s not guaranteed.
Future State: The Next Batman #2 gives us a fascinating look into the Gotham City of this particular future timeline. However, while the main attraction is quite interesting on its own, I find myself more intrigued by the backup stories that flesh out the world of the Next Batman. But all three stories are winners, and well worth the cover price.