Future State: Gotham #4 – Dennis Culver, Writer; Nikola Cizmesija, Artist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Dennis Culver goes solo for a Harley Quinn-focused issue of this look into Gotham’s gritty future. With Red Hood off the radar, the bounty game in Gotham is wide open—and so Harley tries to bag her most wanted quarry, Punchline. Much of the first half of this issue is just the two former Joker associates trying to kill each other with increasingly brutal attacks, with an almost Looney Tunes aesthetic. But the most interesting thing about this issue is the introduction of another player—Hunter Panic, a new vigilante who seems based on the obscure but well-liked vigilante from the Young Animal line created by Jody Houser. We don’t know too much about her yet, but between this intro and the cliffhanger teasing a major return, it feels like there’s some big stuff coming for this franchise. Gotham certainly hasn’t mellowed at this point into the future, and this is a great way to keep those stories coming.
The Batman and Scooby Doo Mysteries #5 – Ivan Cohen, Writer; Randy Elliott, Artist; Carrie Strachan, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: I’ve always been impressed by this all-ages book’s willingness to dig deep into Batman lore for stories, and that continues with this story focusing on the legacy of Ra’s Al Ghul. The villain himself has been surprisingly kidnapped—by Bane—and Talia shows up in Gotham to recruit Batman, Huntress, and the Mystery Machine crew (really, Velma) to help track him down. This leads to a globetrotting adventure with segments set in Italy and Egypt, as they chase down the kidnapper and uncover hidden tombs and evil mummies. Unlike the last issue, this one definitely felt like it was dialed down for kids—this take on Talia and especially Ra’s feel like harmless villains, and the resolution to the mystery is rather silly. Still, it has a lot of fun moments and a clever mystery, and it’s definitely going to work as a first introduction to some of these characters for younger readers.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.