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FUTURE STATE: DARK DETECTIVE #1 Review

Teamed with Dan Mora’s immersive artwork, Mariko Tamaki’s Future State: Dark Detective #1 opens a brilliant new chapter in the story of Gotham’s Dark Knight.

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Future State: Dark Detective #1 (DC Comics)

Future State: Dark Detective#1 is available to purchase now on digital and in print from DC Comics. The issue features a main story written by Mariko Tamaki with artwork by Dan Mora and colours by Jordie Bellaire. The backup story is written by Matthew Rosenberg with illustrations by Carmine Di Giandomenico and colours by Antonio Fabela.

Cover art is by Dan Mora.

Synopsis

The world thought Bruce Wayne was dead. They were dead wrong! When the sinister para-military organization known as the Magistrate seizes control of Gotham City, the original Batman went big to put them down…but even the Dark Knight couldn’t predict how far this evil force would go to stop him. Now, Bruce Wayne is on the run! From Eisner Award-winning writer Mariko Tamaki and rising star artist Dan Mora, it’s the story of a Batman pushed to the brink-with nothing left to lose. 
Also in this issue, Grifter is back! Cole Cash is having a bad day, and that’s not going to improve when the detectives of the GCPD show up! Will a chance meeting with Luke Fox change his luck? Or is his day about to get a lot worse?

Review

Last week’s The Next Batman #1 (reviewed here) gave DC Future State a brand new Dark Knight and along with it a new mystery about the fate of Bruce Wayne. DC Future State: Dark Detective #1 offers up some of the story behind that mystery whilst opening up some all new ones.

Spoilers for The Next Batman but readers leave that book believing that Wayne is most likely dead. A new Batman taking his place to carry on the mantle despite The Magistrate outlawing masked vigilantes. Dark Detective wastes no time in telling us how Bruce “died” and showing us that he is, in fact, alive.

Bruce recounts the story of this own death. It’s been around a month and Bruce is now living rough and trying to lay low. The authorities continue to investigate the death of Batman whilst Bruce plans his next move.

The opening pages of Mariko Tamaki’s story paint a bleak picture for The Dark Knight. Hunted to near death, spending the last of his families fortune to stay alive and seemingly separated from the Bat-Family. He’s become lost in his own city and it creates a fish out of water scenario that we’re not used to seeing with his character.

Teamed with Dan Mora, Tamaki crafts an almost Neo-Gotham cityscape which brilliantly shifts this book in to the future setting. Mora’s visuals for the city border on Blade Runner territory. Bathed in neon lights there’s a New York-cum-Tokyo feel to Dark Detective which I found really exciting to behold. Its colourful but without forsaking any of the atmosphere which readers have come to expect from a Bat book.

The story develops with great pacing and builds towards an inevitable but exciting conclusion. Bruce being Bruce, he just can’t stay away from trouble. Tamaki’s writing feels honest to who Bruce is at his core, even when he’s at his lowest he’s still trying to help the citizens of Gotham despite the potential consequences.

As with Wonder Woman #1 (reviewed here), Dark Detective feels like a ready made series in its own right. It’s sufficiently different from the long-running Batman titles to stand on its own as an engaging future-mystery.

The main story is backed up by Matthew Rosenberg’s Grifter. Much like the Arkham Knights backup in The Next Batman this story is a brilliant accompaniment in how it fleshes out the future DC landscape. Cole Cash’s run-in with the GCPD stands as a great reintroduction to the character as well as dropping hints about what’s happening in the wider world of Gotham. Illustrator Carmine Di Giandomenico brings some solid visuals to the story which sets it apart from the main story and helps it to stand on its own.

Verdict

Teamed with Dan Mora’s immersive artwork, Mariko Tamaki’s Future State: Dark Detective #1 opens a brilliant new chapter in the story of Gotham’s Dark Knight.


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