Review: FUTURE STATE: THE NEXT BATMAN #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: John Ridley, Vita Ayala, Paula Sevenbergen
Artists: Laura Braga, Nick Derington, Aneke, Emanuela Lupacchino, Wade Von Grawbadger
Colours: Arif Prianto, Trish Mulvihill, John Kalisz
Letters: Clayton Cowles, Becca Carey
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Future State: The Next Batman #4: The next Batman goes head-to-head with the Magistrate’s shock troops to protect the…guilty?! It’s a savage running battle across Gotham City, and it will have the next Dark Knight fighting overwhelming odds to prove that justice still lives in the heart of a broken city.
In the finale of “Batgirls,” after discovering the person locked in the high-security cell is the one who’s been sending out “Batman Lives” signals to the Resistance, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain must work together to make sure they take that person when they escape their prison!
Plus, in the conclusion of “Gotham City Sirens,” Catwoman and the new android Siren hide out in Poison Ivy’s newly built paradise, where they discuss their past relationships, including what Catwoman has—or had—with Batman. But when Peacekeeper forces arrive, the new Siren will have to make a sacrifice to save her friends.
With Future State: The Next Batman #4, the first chapter of John Ridley’s successor to the Dark Knight comes to a close. But he’ll be back next week in Batman: Black & White #3. He also will appear in a new miniseries The Next Batman: Second Son, starting next week digitally with the print edition starting in April. However, this first story has served as a fine introduction to the character and has, with the assistance of other related Future State titles, set up the future Gotham in which he fights crime.
While this chapter winds up this first adventure, the meat of this story is in Jace’s interactions with the other members of the Fox family. As Batman, Jace is forced to deliberately injure his mother, who doesn’t realize the vigilante she is facing is her own son. He makes sure to take her down non-lethally, but still ends up putting her in the hospital. And when Jace goes to visit her there, he has to confront the rest of his family.
It appears to be some unresolved grievance between Jace and his brother Luke. Jace’s sister and mother appear willing to forgive Jace, and Lucius seems willing to call a truce despite showing his evident disappointment in his son. Luke on the other hand, is downright hostile to Jace. I look forward to seeing just exactly what happened to cause this rift in the Fox Family in Second Son.
In the conclusion to the Batgirls story, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown manage to free the original Batgirl Barbara Gordon from the Magistrate holding facility. Again, the best part of this story occurs in the story’s denouement. We see two important reconciliations. First, we see Barbara reunited with Dick Grayson. It’s a touching scene and makes clear that their romance is still going strong in the Future State timeframe.
The second is between Cass and Stephanie, who forgive each other and reaffirm their friendship. Also, it reveals that during their escape, they also freed several heroes and villains, swelling the ranks of Nightwing’s resistance army. All around, the ending of this story is a solid affirmation of hope in the midst of the dystopian Future State Gotham.
The third story concludes the Gotham City Sirens tale of Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and their new ally, the android D.D. Even though the other two stories are better, that doesn’t mean this story is a disappointment. It’s a nice little story, but where the Batgirls story ends on a hopeful note, this one ends with D.D. sacrificing herself. But there is still an element of hope in the story’s epilogue, with Ivy opening a safe spot in Gotham, named Dee in her honour.
The only issue I have with the stories in this series is that they only give a brief taste of the whole story. It’s been known that Jace Fox’s story will continue as I’ve stated above, but it was unclear how much of the other future Gotham stories would continue. However, DC has recently announced a new ongoing Future State: Gotham title starting in May that will continue the future adventures of the Bat-Family. I can hardly wait!
Future State: The Next Batman #4 is the end of this miniseries, but not the end of the Future State Gotham story. This series has done an outstanding job in introducing Jace Fox as a new Batman and the dystopian future he lives in. I look forward to seeing the story continuing is the months ahead.