Future State Dark Detective #3
Dark Detective reaches its penultimate issue as Future State winds down. Bruce Wayne is still conducting a small scale — for him — investigation into the hidden agenda of The Magistrates.
A lot of the Future State titles are being written in an open ended way to allow for follow-up stories in this sandbox. Originally I thought that was a smart approach, but the titles, including Dark Detective, have been set up more as a teaser instead of a story arc that has a beginning and end. Think X-Men: Age of Apocalypse. That saga established a new status quo for the X-Men and had a conclusion. Later, Marvel writers found avenues to tell subsequent stories but the original saga wasn’t sacrificed for the sake of a maybe.
There’s intrigue in a Gotham where Bruce Wayne doesn’t have his finger on the pulse and can keep the city relatively safe and in line, but Future State treats him as a completely ineffective hero incapable of making lasting change. Batman was against the odds in No Man’s Land yet eventually brought Gotham back. It’s hard to envision this nightmarish scenario where Batman and The Next Batman haven’t made any impact.
Writer Mariko Tamaki doesn’t quite have Bruce’s voice down either. He sounds like he’s just getting started as a vigilante unsure of his actions and almost passive with his decisions. An appearance by Next Batman teases some interesting confrontation yet it’s over and done so quickly it seems wasted. Artist Dan Mora continues to shine with his take on the future Gotham and this more streamlined approach to Batman and Jordie Bellaire’s colors bring Gotham to an enchanting futuristic life.
The secondary story features Grifter and Huntress trying to get Luke Fox out of Gotham while The Magistrates close in. I didn’t love the payoff for this story concocted by Matthew Rosenberg as the original concept he set up last issue seemed far more viable for future stories. The art from Carmine di Giandomenico seemed a little rough this issue as well with less tighter pencils and harder to follow action sequences.
Grifters fails to meet the high expectations set from its first installment but Dark Detective advances Bruce Wayne’s story enough to make this worth grabbing for Batman fans. It just feels like this issue could have been so much stronger leading to the Dark Detective finale later this month.
Rating: 7 out of 10