Future State: The Next Batman #2 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 contains two extra backup stories. Batgirls is written by Vita Ayala, illustrated by Aneke, colored by Trish Mulvihill, and lettered by Becca Carey. Gotham City Sirens is 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.
Issue 2 of The Next Batman picks up where the first issue left off, with the Next Batman investigating a brutal murder while trying to stay one step ahead of the Magistrate. Batgirls features Cassandra Cain arrested by the Magistrate and put in a cell with her fellow former Batgirl Stephanie Brown as the two work together to navigate their prison. Gotham City Sirens features Poison Ivy and Catwoman, liberating an android named Dee Dee for a night on the town.
Ridley continues to flesh out the future version of Gotham City and showcases how Tim Fox operates differently from Bruce Wayne. Wayne had cutting edge tech, a support system including his butler/father figure Alfred, and a fairly solid relationship with law enforcement (particularly James Gordon). Fox, on the other hand, runs through burner phones and is being hunted by the Magistrate. Instead of a Batcave, he hides his motorcycle inside of a shipping container. This is a unique take on a Batman story because Wayne is often shown always to have the solution to every conceivable problem; Fox is an underdog in every sense of the word, and I love it.
Joining Ridley on art duties is Braga, who manages to put her own spin on Derington’s breakdowns. Braga still keeps the same sense of animated motion that Derington utilized in the first issue, which comes in handy when Batman engages in battle with the Magistrate. Prianto rounds off the art with a hazy color palette that gives off cyberpunk vibes and provides a nice contrast to the grays and blacks of Fox’s Batman suit.
The book also switches up the backup tales from #1, with Batgirls being a standout. Ayala is no stranger to dystopia fiction, having co-written Quarter Killer; they perfectly showcase Cassandra and Stephanie’s dynamic with all the twists and turns one would expect from a tale like this. Aneke and Mulvihill provide new designs for both Batgirls, with Stephanie having suffered an eye injury and Cassandra sporting a shorter haircut. However, their respective color schemes of purple/black and black/yellow are still intact. Sevenbergen, Lupacchino, von Grawbadger, and Kalisz also provide a fun tale with the Sirens, which is a nice diversion from the hellish and often depressing state that Gotham is in.
If there’s one issue, it’s that it felt rather jarring to jump from Outsiders and Arkham Knights to Batgirls and Gotham City Sirens. I wish the former stories had been wrapped up before proceeding to new ones, but it’s a minor hiccup in the scheme of things.
Future State: The Next Batman #2 continues to flesh out Gotham City’s future, presenting a Batman who operates much more differently than Bruce Wayne. Tim Fox is probably the most interesting character to hold the Batman mantle since Terry McGinnis, and I can’t wait to see more of his adventures.
Future State: The Next Batman #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Future State: The Next Batman #2
Future State: The Next Batman #2 continues to flesh out Gotham City’s future, presenting a Batman who operates much more differently than Bruce Wayne. Tim Fox is probably the most interesting character to hold the Batman mantle since Terry McGinnis, and I can’t wait to see more of his adventures