It’s a New Year, and DC’s Future State The Next Batman #1 flings us into a possible future: 2025.
Essentially, the mayor of Gotham City has outlawed masked people. A shadowy group called The Magistrate is in charge of cleaning up the dusty streets, getting the riff-raff out of the way, and culling the vigilantes. Of course, Batman wears a mask, so we can see the dramatic possibilities right away.
John Ridley’s version of Batman exists as a dark figure, clinging to the old ways. Artist Nick Derington, and colourist Tamra Bonvillain deliver a solid, visually stunning debut of this future scenario. While the text description blocks are difficult to read in orange on grey, the dialogue is succinct and clear.
Bonvillain’s dayglo and black palette ‘shouldn’t’ work, but wow, does it ever! The dark figures bounce off the strong colour, the night time scenes glow with energy. Combined with Derington’s graphic style, the end result is imminently readable. It’s fantastic stuff.
The two back up stories in this first issue don’t hold the same promise. The Outsiders, with Brandon Thomas writing, Sumit Kumar pencilling and inking with Raul Fernandez, Jordie Bellaire on colours is not an easy read. Action-packed but confusing to a new reader like me, its small panels and big battles are just a melange of many splendours, all at once.
Likewise with Arkham Knights, which manages to squeeze battles, speeches, and mayhem in its space. If you are a new reader to these characters, again like me, take it slow and consult Wiki for assistance.
All in all, a tremendous Next Batman story still makes this expensive extended issue worth buying.
DC, Future State: The Next Batman #1, $7.99 for 64 pages of content.