REVIEW: “Future State: The Next Batman,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Following the events of the second issue, Tim ‘Jace’ Fox—aka Batman—battles the Magistrate while attempting to get a pair of criminals to safe haven so that they can stand trial. In “Outsiders,” Duke Thomas stages a battle against the Magistrate with the help of Black Lightning and Katana. And finally in “Arkham Knights,” the Knights break into the Magistrate’s headquarters to liberate an artifact from Batman’s history.
This issue feels mostly like jogging in place; Ridley’s script more or less revisits elements we’ve seen before. The Magistrate is out to get Batman, there’s tension in the Fox family, etc. We don’t really get to see much more than that, which is a shame because the last two issues had me getting invested in the future Gotham and its characters. And considering that the series is only four issues, every page counts. Braga, Derington, and Prianto, however, impress on the art side. The opening sequence features Batman systematically taking down the Magistrate’s troops, leaping from target to target and using a combination of martial arts and weaponry. Prianto also uses brighter colors than one would expect from a Batman comic, with the Dark Knight’s grey and black armor standing out against the brighter tones of the sky and city.
The backup stories are also a mixed bag. “Arkham Knights” didn’t click with me at all. The interesting premise where the villains in Batman’s rogues gallery become heroes is smothered by tin-eared dialogue and an unsatisfying ending. Herbert’s art is the saving grace, with details from Two-Face’s scarred flesh to Dr. Phosphorus’s glowing skeleton rendered in realistic detail.
The best story in the book definitely has to be “Outsiders,” as Thomas and Kumar continue their anime-inspired take on Batman’s old team. Thomas writes the Outsiders as a skilled unit, greater than the sum of its parts. Though the Magistrate outnumbers them, they have the winning hand. Kumar’s designs continue to impress, particularly with the design he gives Duke toward the end. And Bellaire’s colors bring life to our heroes, from Katana’s massive red and black armor to Black Lightning’s bluish-white body. I would have loved to see more of this story, as the ending promises a fight ahead for Duke Thomas, who happens to be one of my favorite characters in the Batman mythos.
Future State: The Next Batman #3 mostly serves as table dressing for the story’s finale, with the “Outsiders” backup story being the standout. With only one issue left, I hope that the conclusion is satisfying and that we get to see more of Jace’s exploits as Batman in the future.
Future State: The Next Batman #3 is available wherever comics are sold and through Comixology using our affiliate link.

3.5

TL;DR

Future State: The Next Batman #3 mostly serves as table dressing for the story’s finale, with the “Outsiders” backup story being the standout. With only one issue left, I hope that the conclusion is satisfying and that we get to see more of Jace’s exploits as Batman in the future.