REVIEW: ‘Future State: Nightwing,’ Issue #2

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Future State Nightwing #2

Future State: Nightwing #2 completes a very short series. This is the last issue we may get to see this Nightwing of tomorrow before DC Comics returns us to the regular series and present day. This issue is written by Andrew Constant and illustrated by Nicola Scott. Ivan Plascencia provides colors with Wes Abbott on lettering. When we last caught up with the Dick Grayson of several years from now,  he was shuttered in Arkham Asylum’s ruins and surrounded by the Magistrate. The latter runs future Gotham with an iron fist and tends to enjoy shooting vigilantes on sight. Batman is dead and gone, and Nightwing is a more forlorn, aggressive hero in this fascist tomorrow.

Thankfully, Nightwing is not alone during the standoff. The Next Batman, who snuck into Arkham in the last issue, has proven he isn’t a threat and offers to help. This is where Future State: Nightwing #2 begins, so let’s compare and contrast this duo with the original one. The first Batman and Nightwing had a loving, if tense, father/son dynamic going on. Often Dick did the talking, and Bruce cut down his words with a curt sentence. But the respect and love were there behind the masks. Next Batman is, well, this book doesn’t reveal who he is (you would have to read Future State: The Next Batman to find out), but it’s evident he possesses more calm and empathy than Bruce Wayne. While this isn’t a complete role reversal, a dour Nightwing with a mellow Batman definitely stands out. 

So in a way, starting this issue with a Dynamic Duo and a good-old-days feel helps to tone down the setting’s negativity. The end of Dark Knights: Death Metal implied a brighter tomorrow, so getting glum stories right after it in Future State feels like another comic book promise broken. But taken as is, this is an excellent Gotham City story.  Gotham is sleek and cyberpunk and, on the surface, looks sterile and secure. 

But Nightwing and Batman have exposed the dark underbelly of the Magistrate and its cybernetic army. Now, the time has come for the confrontation. While the details and ending can’t be given, Nightwing plays the battle with all the strategy, finesse, and deductive reasoning he learned over the years, proving once again how great the character is and why he should still be Batman. Having the Next Batman as a sidekick provides a good yet all too brief connection between the two heroes. This war contains as much technology as it does ruses and old school punchiness.

Constant has done an excellent job with the character of Nightwing and the future Gotham. He wrote the character with just enough mournfulness to get across the point that Dick is no longer the same man. While DC introduced the Magistrate as a run-of-the-mill Star Wars style Empire, there is enough persona in one of the characters to make the war both personal and removed from being a complete copy. This would work better as an ongoing series, and with the news of Future State: Gotham coming out in May, perhaps readers will get to see just how future Dick and company soldier on in this dark world.

As for the art, Scott, Plascencia, and Abbott can do no wrong. From Dick’s acrobatic moves and five o’clock shadow to the literally explosive showdown and multiple fight panels and beyond, Future State: Nightwing #2 is bright and moody and contains powerful action on the mean streets of Gotham.  

All in all, this was a fine ending for the short Future State of Dick Grayson. It finishes well and provides a nice segue into the Future State: Gotham series, so that may be worth checking out. However, the big question remains whether this future will come to pass or be retconned as yet another Elseworlds. Time will tell. 

Future State: Nightwing #2 is available wherever comic books are sold. 

Future State: Nightwing #2
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TL;DR

All in all, this was a fine ending for the short Future State of Dick Grayson. It finishes well and provides a nice segue into the Future State: Gotham series, so that may be worth checking out. However, the big question remains whether this future will come to pass or be retconned as yet another Elseworlds. Time will tell.