Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Future State: The Next Batman #1 Review


Give Us What We Want

Writer: Paul Jenkins, Ken Kristensen, John Ridley, Brandon Thomas
Artist: Nick Derington, Jack Herbert, Sumit Kumar
Cover Price: $7.99
Release Date: January 5, 2021

Future State is here, and that means the Next Batman has finally arrived.  After months of speculation and hype, one of the biggest Future State books is going to hit the shelf.  So, was it worth the wait and the $7.99 price tag?  Let's find out...

We start with the main story (makes sense, right?) that the book takes it's name from, and while we aren't going to get the official reveal of who the "Next Batman" is, most reading this review should already know.  Still, I won't spoil it, but I will tell you that John Ridley wants you to believe it's Luke Fox, whether that is right or not.

The story here is pretty basic stuff.  Ridley gives us a good sense of what Gotham is all about in this Future State and does so with minimal words.  He allows Nick Derrington's art to help out, and while that seems like basic stuff, recently, that hasn't been the case with a bunch of DC writers.

After a quick glimpse at Batman and the no-masks status-quo of Gotham, we switch the point of view to some young brothers trying to get in with the Bane-litos of Little Santa Prisca.  I liked this a lot, as it does what I mentioned above. It gives you a sense of the dark times, hitting Gotham in a more memorable way than just a narration box.

If you have been reading Batman and Detective comics since Tom King left the main book, you should recognize the similarities and differences in what we have seen already.  Tamara Fox is in a coma, which is getting back to how we saw her in the New 52 Batwing book.  Even, this feels different from the little we saw between Luke and his brother, Tim, who now goes by Jace.  However, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Gotham still has a couple of good cops and a ton of evil, and Batman is still fighting the fight.  Except here, we don't have Bruce Wayne.

The story ends with Batman doing his best to keep our Bane-lito brothers alive, but the cliffhanger shows that there is still a lot of bad going around.

Check out our Future State: The Next Batman #1 Video Review

I liked this Next Batman story.  Nick Derrington's art took some getting used to, not because it's bad, but because it's a style that goes against the setting.  It's more cartoony, and in this darker world, it felt a bit off.  My biggest complaint, however, is that it felt too short.  I say that knowing it was a standard length story, but why not have the thing everyone has been waiting for more, if not all, of the pages?  I know some people like anthology issues, but why not have a double-sized Next Batman story with just one backup?  The cover does say "Next Batman," right?  So, give us more Next Batman or just a regular-sized issue that is easier on the wallet?!?

That said, I'm not going to go into much detail with the backup stories.  Brandon Thomas and Sumit Kumar's Katana story is good overall and will be liked more by recent Batman and the Outsiders fans.  We see a future with Katana and Signal trying to clean up Gotham while the Magistrate's thugs, here lead by Kaliber, try to stop them.  Some excellent action and dialogue help out a mystery that includes "how the hell is Kaliber here?" and "What the hell happened to Black Lightning?" 

Like I said above, the last story is an Astrid Arkham story by Paul Jenkins and Jack Herbert.  It's a shame this ended the book because it was a chore to get through and just plain dull.  I liked what we got before it, but this put a sour taste in my mouth, and that's not how you want to end any book, let alone a huge one like this. 

Bits and Pieces:

Overall, I enjoyed Future State: The Next Batman #1.  The main story by John Ridley has me intrigued, though I wish there were more pages of this instead of having two backups.  However, the Katana backup was cool, especially for Batman and the Outsiders fans, I just didn't need an Astrid Arkham story to end everything on such a dull note.  Even with that, I can recommend this to Batman fans, but I don't know why there wasn't more "Next Batman."



  1. I think this was a ok outing for a new batman but the time skip is so jarring for me i found the backups as easier reads in those it felt like Magistrate was a newer thing while in the main story its kinda clear they have been operating for some time

    1. I just go with Nakano got elected 5 years prior with his no-masks policy and it eventually turned to this - I do think the backups work better with the time because they are characters we've see while Batman is not Bruce so it's hard to pinpoint how long things on both sides have been going on.