Future State: Dark Detective #1 (March 2021)

Chapter 1: Bruce Wayne Is A Dead Man

Writer: Mariko Tamaki, Matthew Rosenberg, Art: Dan Mora, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Colours: Jordie Bellaire, Antonio Fabela

The world thought Bruce Wayne was dead. They were dead wrong! When the sinister para-military organization known as the Magistrate seizes control of Gotham City, the original Batman went big to put them down…but even the Dark Knight couldn’t predict how far this evil force would go to stop him. Now, Bruce Wayne is on the run! From Eisner Award-winning writer Mariko Tamaki and rising star artist Dan Mora, it’s the story of a Batman pushed to the brink—with nothing left to lose.

Also in this issue, Grifter is back! Cole Cash is having a bad day, and that’s not going to improve when the detectives of the GCPD show up! Will a chance meeting with Luke Fox change his luck? Or is his day about to get a lot worse?

DCCOMICS.COM official solicitation

In Gotham’s near future Batman is dead and the city is controlled by The Magistrate’s peacekeepers.  There is a shoot to kill policy on anyone wearing a mask and heroes are hunted in the city.  Except Bruce Wayne isn’t dead. 

Mariko Tamaki delivers a solid tech-noir tale complete with hardboiled narration set in the Now and Then.  The Then is how we got to this point.  Peacekeeper 01 shoots Bruce in an alley while proclaiming “We know who you are”.  Bruce flees the scene and uses the last of the Wayne fortune to be patched up by a mob doctor. Why the Peacekeeper doesn’t confirm his kill isn’t revealed.

In the Now a bearded Bruce is wandering the rain soaked neon streets of Gotham.  There are reports on the news of Batman’s and his own deaths two days apart. Peacekeeper 01 confirms Batman’s death even though it was Bruce that we saw him shoot. Bruce is broken more than usual, mentally and physically, but he is still who he is. It just needs one cry for help down a dark alley for him to spring back into action. When The Magistrate’s drones turn up on the scene Bruce pulls on a Bat mask and rips off his shirt to reveal Bat armour and a utility belt. He may not be Batman anymore and he is now shot in the leg to go along with the previous injuries but he is fighting back.

Bruce’s narration reveals that somehow Wayne Enterprises and Batman helped to build The Magistrate’s. Batman is dead, Bruce is dead, but he is going to fix this mess.

This is an enjoyable story with excellent art but like the whole of the Future State event it suffers from a mystery that isn’t compelling. Also, the dead Bruce Wayne story has been done twice in recent years already, first by Grant Morrison and then by Scott Snyder.

⭐⭐⭐

No Future Past: Part 1

The second story is yet another attempt by DC editorial to shoehorn the Wildstorm characters into the DC Universe. Here we have Matthew Rosenberg trying to write The Grifter as a Bat-family character.

Cole Cash, the Grifter, is playing cards with the Gotham underworld. When people realise who he is things soon go south and he ends up captured by The Magistrate’s forces. He is imprisoned with Luke Fox and the two go on the run. After a shoot out with the Black Mask gang the Huntress turns up in a last page reveal.

Full of action but not exciting.

⭐⭐

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