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FUTURE STATE: DARK DETECTIVE #2 Review

Future State: Dark Detective #2 is quintessential Batman: bold; brooding and featuring a perfect blend of detection and action.

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Future State: Dark Detective #2 (DC Comics)

Published by DC Comics, Future State: Dark Detective #2 is available to purchase in print and on digital now. 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 Joshua Williamson with art by Giannis Milonogiannis, colours are once again by Jordie Bellaire.

Cover art is by Dan Mora.

Synopsis

Bruce Wayne is supposed to be dead…but this Dark Detective is on the run and shining a light on the mystery of his own “murder”: How did the killers know Bruce Wayne was Batman? As the forces of the Magistrate zero in on Bruce’s location, it’s a race against time to unlock the secrets of their surveillance tech and take the fight to the very top! But is the knowledge that Bruce’s own legacy helped to enable the greatest authoritarian force the city of Gotham has ever seen too much to bear? 
Also in this issue, Jason Todd is a haunted man. He’s working a job he hates on the violent streets of Gotham City as a mask hunter for the Magistrate! He takes contracts to catch villains-or heroes-and brings them in alive-mostly. But when the Red Hood gang reemerges, Jason must solve a mystery that could doom the city.

Review

Dark Detective has arguably been my favourite title in the first was of DC Comics Future State initiative. The first issue (reviewed here) presented a very different interpretation of Gotham and of Bruce Wayne. The premise that the future hasn’t been kind to Bruce and that he has has become a fish out of water in his own city is intriguing to me.

Gotham has always been a huge focal point in DC’s storytelling. There are so many characters that are able to help exposure may different corners of the city. Known for its dark and shady corners, Dark Detective #2 continues to present a luminescent, technological version of Gotham which borders on Batman Beyond territory.

We learned in the last issue that Bruce was still suiting up as a pseudo-street level Batman whilst The Next Batman handles the top level stuff. Issue two picks up seamlessly, telling through story through dual stories set in the past and present. In the present we learn more about Peacekeeper-01. The Magistrate commander who was responsible for the “death” of Bruce Wayne. In the past we learn more of the circumstances surrounding that “death.”

The past certainly seems to present a broken version of the Caped Crusader. Surviving almost purely by chance, Tamaki has a brilliant interpretation of Bruce’s response to the scenario. Seeing him retreat in to the city makes this feel almost like an origin story. Without his tech, without his team, without the cave. This is a bare-bones Batman who is re-learning his craft form the ground up in a city which is ten steps ahead.

The past scenes add beautiful context to Bruce’s present day work as Batman. Both work in conjunction to fill in the gaps with this issue. Bruce is living in the basement of a conspiracy nut named Noah. It’s now the safest place in the city and the only place Bruce – going by the name Jeff – can call home. Batman’s current investigation has led him to a man named Carl Bennington. He’s old money Gotham and working at megacorp Plexitech. Bruce has managed to deduce that he’s receiving some serious coin from The Magistrate and that makes him dangerous.

The story allows for Batman to flex his detective muscles. This isn’t simply a mission to take down The Magistrate. There’s plenty of players in the inner circle of Gotham and we’re getting to see Batman explore those as he seeks to solve the case. It’s very much a classic Batman story just in a very future setting.

The backup story, written by Joshua Williamson, is headlined by Red Hood and Ravager. Brilliantly drawn by artist Giannis Milonogiannis and coloured by Jordie Bellaire. It stands in stark contract to the Dark Detective story. Though it isn’t quite as compelling as Tamaki’s Batman story it’s a brilliant accompaniment which continues to flesh out the world of the Bat-Family in this Future State.

Verdict

Future State: Dark Detective #2 is quintessential Batman: bold; brooding and featuring a perfect blend of detection and action.


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