Future State continues in DC Comics. This week we get Dark Detective 1. Now in the bigger comic world, it may be okay to have different titles covering the same character. Each title can cover different aspects or ages of the character. With Batman, one can be his early years. One can be his years with Robin. Another title can be the later years with his Bat-family but in a limited run series? As it turns out, Gotham is a very big city!
Last week we read The Next Batman 1. Bruce Wayne is dead. Luke Fox now holds the mantle of the Bat and tries to fill his predecessor’s cowl. My one big complaint with that issue was that it was shallow and spread very thin. It covered a lot of ground, but none of it with any depth. With Dark Detective, What writers are doing with Future State just became a lot more clear, but we will come back to that at the end.
Dark Detective 1 – Good Men Don’t Die
The Magistrate now rules over Gotham, and their Peacekeepers now scour Gotham in order to clear out all crime, corruption, vigilantes, and the masks. Peacekeeper-01 does the unimaginable and kills the Batman, or so he says. Fake news and all that. Bruce manages to live through the event, giving the last of his money to a backstreet butcher to fix him up.
The problem comes after that. What does one do when they lose everything they stood for their entire lives? The Wayne fortune no longer exists. The Batman mantle no longer does any good under the Magistrate’s rule, and he walks alone. Simple. Soldier on in a new form.
There is a great scene in this issue as he makes this decision. He re-dons Batman’s gear, but he rips off the cape and we get the urban-Bat look from the cover. As he flees some Peacekeeper drones, the image we are given is very reminiscent of a year one Batman. The jumps do not land quite right. He crashes into the building as he swings. This feels like a new Batman born again.
Dark Detective 1 – The Rest of the Issue
One aspect I am not sure how I feel deals with the second half of most of these issues. The first half centers on the main character, but then the second half deals with side characters. In The Next Batman 1, one-story dealt with Katana and one with Arkham Knights. The Knights story was interesting, but the Katana story came across as confusing and pointless.
In Dark Detective the second half of the issue follows Cole Cash, Grifter. I didn’t know who this was until he donned his red bandana later, so I did not understand his relevance. The difference here versus the extra stories from Next Batman? Cash is funny! Cash lives on his toes. I doubt he even made a plan. He simply rolls with the punches and trusts he can talk his way through anything. Those situations he can’t talk his way out of, he talks to stall until he can. I laughed reading his story.
Cash ends up captured and who should his prisoner buddy be but one Luke Fox. The thing that confuses me with this story again comes down to the timeline. Luke talks about formerly being Batwing, but he says nothing about being the new Batman. He simply needs Cole to get him out of town. After a brief, failed meeting with the Black Mask gang Cole and Luke retreat to a lair where they run into Huntress. I am not sure what purpose this part of the story serves, but Cole Cash is a fun character to follow. He reminds me of a more PG Deadpool in some ways.
Dark Detective 1 – A Broader Purpose
With so much crammed into so few pages on such a limited-run series, many of these stories feel shallow and a bit pointless, but after reading some of the week2 Future State titles, I see what they are doing, and it does not bode well for the pocketbook. You cannot look at these as individual titles. We have The Next Batman and Dark Detective, but they are connected. The stories may not directly overlap, but each title and issue builds a broader picture of the current state of Gotham and the lives of out heroes.
For example, Swamp Thing usually stands alone in the DC world, but if you read the Wonder Woman Future State titles, Swamp Thing’s fate now rests in the hands of the Amazons. This makes the world we explore so much bigger and intertwined, but it also confuses timelines a bit.
Dark Detective definitely reads better and more entertaining than The Next Batman, but with all of them interconnected you should really try to read or buy as many Future State titles as possible.
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