SYNOPSIS: The adventures of the next Batman continue! Batman has captured a pair of murderous fugitives, but he faces a tough decision: leave them for the Magistrate troops, which means certain death, or risk his life and fight his way through Gotham City to deliver them to the GCPD for trial. He’s Batman…so there’s only one choice!

The plot thickens in the latest issue of John Ridley’s FUTURE STATE: THE NEXT BATMAN. After a month of setting up, we’re starting to see the culmination of characters, plots, and even cliffhangers.

Batman continues to defend two murderers, however, he admittedly is prepared to turn them in. A GCPD detective who has shown up briefly in previous issues is this Dark Knight’s first contact within the precinct, but she still is holding up the order of “masks are evil”. And, perhaps the main villain of Gotham in these “Future State” books, Peacekeeper One is putting the pressure on police to catch the Batman.

John Ridley has been pacing himself with this story, and it’s starting to pay off. We’re getting some more characterization with everyone introduced thus far. We are also pushing the plot forward, understanding why this Batman is keen on solving the mystery behind the inciting murder back in the first issue. Ridley has also planted those seeds of Batman contacting the GCPD, and in due time they will begin to sprout. I may have sounded harsh in my review of this book last month, but pieces are starting to snap together nicely.

It’s a good step forward.

The art from Laura Braga doesn’t take a step forward, but it continues to be “just okay”. I never meant this as a harsh criticism, but it does seem to be along the lines of standard. It’s hard to justify the price tag for this book when some of the art is safe and somewhat forgettable.

That continues to be my harshest critique of THE NEXT BATMAN. Despite the positives I have for this issue, it’s just too expensive for a story that is just “okay”. While the plot is moving along, we aren’t getting enough to fully invest in Tim Fox. Hell, you could forget that’s who is under the cape and cowl most of the time. In the end, all of this is seeming like just a tease for the new series that’s coming soon.

There’s a lot of pressure on the next (and final issue) to get me invested enough to continue following this story. I’ll be ready to move on from THE NEXT BATMAN, and invest in the dad-gum original one. – Ryan Lower


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Ryan Lower
Representing the Midwest, Ryan has been a BOF fan since 2003, and started contributing to the site in 2017. He is the host of “The Batman Book Club” podcast. Ryan has written reviews for comics, animated movies and TV series. He has also appeared on BOF podcasts and Social Hours for Batman discussions, reviews, and interviews. Thanks to BOF, he was able to meet and have a one-on-one discussion with his favorite artist, Lee Bermejo. Follow him on Twitter @lower_ryan.