Future State The Next Batman #2
John Ridley is doing his best to ensure that Jace Fox is more than a stand-in Batman like Azrael or even Nightwing. Maybe the key lies in simply not having Jace’s stint as Batman not be tied in so closely to Bruce Wayne’s shadow.
Making Jace his own Batman with his own network and a basic motorcycle in place of a souped-up Batmobile is a smart start.
Batman is going after two criminals that savagely beat a Gotham business owner, but the Magistrate is determined to make a regular criminal takedown anything but simple.
The subplot with Jace’s mother working alongside Mayor Nakano on legislation to make the measures against masks stick in court is compelling as well. Laura Braga, working off of Nick Derington’s breakdowns, efficiently tells the story. While Batman typically works best with artists that cram a ton of detail onto the panels, Braga’s streamlined approach works just fine.
The secondary story features a reunion of Spoiler and Orphan, even if Cass wants payback on Steph for turning on The Bat Family.
Vita Ayala writes an easy to follow story that shows life in a Magistrate prison filled with several DC luminaries. Cass is seeking information that only Steph seems to know, but the cost is something neither expect. Aneke’s art isn’t too flashy, but effectively covers the various cameos with a precise flow to the action. This story wraps in two weeks.
Next up is the Gotham City Sirens story from writer Paula Sevenbergen and artist Emanuela Lupacchino working off of Rob Haynes’ breakdowns. Catwoman and Poison Ivy team with an artificial intelligence to take down one of The Magistrates’ main tech partners. The dialogue is fun with Sevenbergen having a good command of Catwoman and Ivy’s voices and moral distinctions. Lupacchino always provides quality work and her style fits the tone of this story.
It starts off somewhat carefree, but eventually connects to the darker overall mood in Gotham.
The Next Batman has been an immediate winner for DC prompting a path for the character post-Future State. With strong backup stories this is another solid performance for this take on Batman’s world.
Rating: 10 out of 10