Future State: Dark Detective #2 – Mariko Tamaki, Josh Williamson, Writers; Dan Mora, Giannis Miologiannis, Artists; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Mariko Tamaki’s dark vision of Gotham continues this issue with a brilliant story that takes us back to the beginning of Batman’s fall. The mysterious Peacekeeper-01, the Judge Dredd of Gotham, assassinated Bruce Wayne in an alley—seemingly knowing that he and Batman were one and the same. This is one of the tensest action segments I’ve read in a while, culminating in a fantastic and slightly gruesome twist that shows how Bruce survived. And out of that, came a completely different Batman—one stripped of even the most basic assets he had amassed over the years. It’s actually very reminiscent of the basic Batman we saw in Batman: Year One.
Catching up to Bruce’s new world is a lot of fun, but there’s a tension lurking below the surface in every scene. He rents a low-tech room in the basement belonging to a paranoid man who believes spies are everywhere. The man’s daughter may be his only friend, but she’s hiding secrets of her own. And then there are the mysteries of who exactly is funding the Magistrate, with several mysterious new companies owned by powerful billionaires emerging in the aftermath of Joker War. Unlike The Next Batman, this one feels like it’s setting up major developments in the future of the Bat-verse—and it’s doing a hell of a job.
Next up is a Red Hood story with a high-profile writer, as Josh Williamson continues his tour around Gotham City. Joined by the cartoony art stylings of Giannis Miologiannis, this story casts Jason as the most hated man in Gotham—a mask-hunting vigilante working for the Magistrate. He tracks down unauthorized vigilantes and tries to bring them in alive—a passion not quite shared by his occasional partner and rival Ravager, who likes to cut them in half for an easier bounty collection.
This version of Ravager is a lot closer to the villainous one we saw in the Geoff Johns Teen Titans run, but things change when one of her kills turns out not to be acting under his own power. That leads the two on a hunt for one of Gotham’s most notorious villains and kicks off a conspiracy that looks to play out in the next issue. It gives us a very different perspective of what this city looks like for vigilantes, and it’s also one of the best Red Hood stories we’ve gotten in a long time. Can Josh Williamson just write almost all the bat-kids from here on out?
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.