Fleeing the Magistrate with a pair of murderers, DC's new Batman tries to negotiate with a privatized police force who kills on sight in Future State: The Next Batman #3.
Written by John Ridley, Sumit Kumar, and Paul Jenkins
Art by Laura Braga, Nick Derington, Arif Prianto, Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez, Jordie Bellaire, Jack Herbert, and Gabe Eltaeb
Lettering by Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, and Rob Leigh
Published by DC
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
John Ridley writes an adequate action story here, with half the issue given over to Laura Braga and Nick Derington's impactful action sequences. With such weighty themes, there should be more meat on these bones. Perhaps Ridley just needs to burn off the simple stuff as he gets comfortable with the format, but there's very little here of the Oscar Award-winning screenwriter who wrote it. It works, but considering it's the 'Future State' flagship title, The Next Batman should be much more ambitious than it is.
Sumit Kumar's slender and sharp figures cut across the page in the finale of the Outsiders back-up story, bringing life and energy to Brandon Thomas's rousing script. The Signal, Katana, and Black Lightning drum up the growing rebellion and confidently win another battle in the ongoing war against the Magistrate. Thomas plays imaginatively with the format here, placing the credits mid-way through the issue, giving the first section of the story the feel of an episodic cold open. You can almost hear the opening theme play as you open up a double-page spread of the heroes speeding across the bridge accompanied by the main title. Jordie Bellaire gives the Outsiders the 'Future State' neon treatment, making the story positively hum with power.
Finishing things up is the curious 'Arkham Knights.' By draping the former inmates of Arkham in medieval formalities and honor, Paul Jenkins tells a story of hope and love among the worst of society. Jack Herbert's realistic portraits and excellent grasp of dramatic lighting lend gravitas to the Knights' mission to steal the Bat-signal to beam a new icon of hope across Gotham City. Jenkins' dialogue is loquacious and formal, giving it an oddly unique feel given the motley cast.
Although the main event is disappointing, The Next Batman #3 is worth a read for the distinctive and absorbing pairing of 'Outsiders' and 'Arkham Knights.'
You don't need a Bat-signal to be aware of Batman's goings-on - just check out Newsarama's list of the new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections coming in 2021 and beyond.