Future State The Next Batman #4
John Ridley’s initial teaser of Jace Fox started off strong yet started to falter through this four-issue mini-series.
The main issue with the mini-series was Ridley didn’t really do anything exceptional and just focused on a typical night for Jace. There’s enough here with an inexperienced Batman to be engaging, but the problem — escorting a couple accused of murdering the man who killed their daughter, never felt that important.
Another problem is recasting Luke Fox, a familiar fan favorite and former Batwing, as the unlikable prickly brother that serves just to give Jace grief.
Laura Braga’s artwork felt somewhat soft and not nearly as harsh for a gloomy story set in a police state run Gotham.
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This issue also featured the end of the Batgirls storyline as Orphan attempts to free Oracle, Spoiler and their allies from the clutches of the Magistrate.
Vita Ayala’s story is focused with a set point in mind allowing for some nice character beats and a rare happy or at least optimistic ending in the Future State Gotham setting. Aneke’s art is rough in some sequences but it’s a welcome departure from the norm and is unstructured enough to fit the tone of this story.
Finally, Catwoman and Poison Ivy give Dee a positive experience before the Android hands over information that’s useful for the Resistance in a tale by writer Paula Sevenbergen and artist Emmanuela Lupacchino.
Sevenbergen’s script has a few weak lines, but overall is solid with fun banter with Selina and Ivy. Lupacchino’s art remains a treat thanks to her framing and clear layouts. This was a decent story that didn’t feel shortchanged by the two issue format.
The Next Batman was a decent re-introduction to Jace Fox, a character poised to make big moves in DC’s future and this was a solid if not remarkable run to show his potential.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: DC Comics