REVIEW: ‘Future State: The Next Batman,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Future State The Next Batman #4 - But Why Tho?Future State: The Next Batman #4 is written by John Ridley, illustrated by Laura Braga (with breakdowns by Nick Derington), colored by Arif Prianto, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. It is published by DC Comics. The issue also contains the second half of “Batgirls,” written by Vita Ayala, illustrated by Aneke, colored by Trish Mulvihill, and lettered by Becca Carey; it also features the second half of “Gotham City Sirens” written by Paula Sevenbergen, penciled by Emanuela Lupacchino, and inked by Wade von Grawbadger (with breakdowns by Rob Haynes), colored by John Kalisz, and lettered by Becca Carey.

Picking up from the end of The Next Batman #3, the main story finds Tim Fox/Batman racing to get a pair of witnesses to the Gotham City Police station, running afoul of the Magistrate-and his own mother-along the way. The second half of Batgirls features Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown instigating a jailbreak at a Magistrate black site, while Gotham City Sirens features Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Dee Dee going on the run.

The main story wraps up Batman’s current case while hinting at yet more stories to come. Ridley has sown seeds of a backstory including a rift between Tim and his family, as well as a potentially tragic element in his past. Since Ridley is set to re-explore the world of The Next Batman in the upcoming Second Son miniseries, it was great that he planted those seeds in a very subtle way rather than being completely overt. Braga and Derington continue to impress with their artwork, packing a high octane car chase and a brutal hand-to-hand fight within the space of 22 pages.

Also ending in a satisfying conclusion is the “Batgirls” story, which perfectly balances its action beats with emotional moments thanks to Ayala’s stellar scripting. By centering the story on the dynamic between Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, the story will reel in readers who are a fan of one or both characters. Another hook is Aneke’s art, which features new updates for Cassandra and Stephanie’s Batgirl costumes. It also boasts inventive page layouts, including a literal blueprint of the prison showing Cassandra evading the Magistrate soldiers.

Less impressive is the “Gotham City Sirens” part of the book, whose tone feels far removed from that of the rebellion established in previous backup stories like “Batgirls” and “Outsiders.” I feel like Sevenbergen would have been better off writing this story in the present-day canon rather than Future State, as it would fit better there. However, Lupacchino, Haynes, and von Grawbadger’s art is quite the treat to look at and provides new designs for Ivy and Catwoman including a more punk-rock look for the former and a Matrix-inspired look for the latter.

Future State: The Next Batman #4 is both a solid ending for the main story and a perfect set up for future stories in this universe. Even if the backup stories were hit and miss, I plan to read Second Son and hope that Ridley has many more stories to tell with this Dark Knight.

Future State: The Next Batman #4 is available wherever comics are sold.

Future State: The Next Batman #4 
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TL;DR

Future State: The Next Batman #4 is both a solid ending for the main story and a perfect set up for future stories in this universe. Even if the backup stories were hit and miss, I plan to read Second Son and hope that Ridley has many more stories to tell with this Dark Knight.