A new Batman has taken over DC titles with this week's Future State: The Next Batman, and while that futuristic world thinks the original Batman is dead… he's not. Next week, Bruce Wayne will resurface in Future State: Dark Detective, with Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora following Wayne as he digs out of the proverbial grave and tries to stop those that put him there.
Dark Detective is part of a massive two-month DC event which takes the majority of the DC line years and decades into the future for a look ahead and what it might become. Think Batman Beyond or Old Man Logan, but writ large with entire lines, crossovers, and connective tissue.
After Dark Detective ends in late February, Tamaki and Mora's time with Bruce Wayne won't be over - as they'll be taking over the returning Detective Comics series in March.
Ahead of Future State: Dark Detective #1's January 12 debut, Newsarama spoke with Tamaki about Dark Detective, the state of Bruce Wayne in 'Future State', and how this story set in the future will lay the groundwork for the present-day Batman beginning in March with Detective Comics.
Newsarama: Mariko, what made you decide to jump from Wonder Woman to Batman?
Mariko Tamaki: I got the call. Like an actual Bat call from a Bat editor. I felt like, you know those movies where the layperson is just going about their business and she gets pulled into being like an international spy? It felt like that. Except I had written a short story for Detective Comics #1027, so I did have an inkling.
Nrama: Does this story coincide at all with Tim Fox's Next Batman?
Tamaki: It's all in the same universe, and all the stories are carefully connected and coordinated by the editors. Behind the scenes, it's a very complex storytelling machine. In 'Future State,' all the Batman titles are going to be set in the same future time period, in which the Magistrate controls Gotham. Bruce's story in Dark Detective will have some direct ramifications on Next Batman, and vice versa.
Future State: Dark Detective #1 preview
Nrama: Did you know you'd be taking over Detective Comics when you took the 'Future State' gig?
Tamaki: I think so? It's all a blur. I was definitely working on both at some point, and still am actually. It was an interesting mental juggling routine. Things are very Batman-oriented around here. I did also just buy a Batman t-shirt I'm not sure why. It just felt like the thing to do.
Nrama: How did having the Detective Comics gig waiting in the wings affect your Future State: Dark Detective story?
Tamaki: I tried to keep tabs on both and at the same time separate the two when I was writing them, just to avoid too much overlap. For 'Future State,' I was really into the world it was set in. I love the atmosphere and the environment, that kind of Blade Runner-esque vibe of all the 'Future State' stuff. I also had a very specific story in mind for 'Future State' and then it was about thinking of a bigger picture for Dark Detective. Like expanding on Bruce a little more.
Nrama: Are there other Bat heroes we can expect to team up with Bruce?
Tamaki: Oh yes! Yes, there are. Very excited about those. Characters I've always wanted to write are going to be in there. A few villains too.
Nrama: Is this a story more about Bruce Wayne or Batman?
Tamaki: Um. Hmmm. I guess I think of them as two sides of the same coin. Both 'Future State' and Detective Comics are definitely stories about Bruce Wayne being in a different place in his life.
So, I think the thing that's distinct about these stories are the Bruce Wayne parts. And the Batman stuff is like the consistency. The hero thread that runs through all these stories.
Nrama: What do you enjoy about writing Bruce Wayne?
Tamaki: I like the tone of Bruce Wayne, the understated-ness of him. I think of him as this hyper-capable man who has welded himself into this role of a knight, but who is also a human who has to be in the world and dealing with human stuff. Which is a thing he's spent far less time working on, way less welding involved in that part of his life.
I like thinking about the person who becomes Batman and then thinking about what gets left behind. And the consequences of that. Of course, most of that is in subtext, but I spend A LOT of time thinking about it.
Nrama: How did you want to begin defining your Detective Comics run? How did you want to make this story unique compared to previous runs?
Tamaki: I try not to think about how something will be unique writing for series like these. I think especially in comics, with this long and really, like, at times overwhelmingly amazing history to these stories, it's hard to find things that haven't been done before. I try to bring a bunch of inspirations into my storylines, things that have inspired me in comics and outside of comics.
Like I've been re-watching series like The Wire, Broadchurch, I watch a LOT of crime documentaries and I re-watched a lot of different DC movies going into this on top of re-reading and reading comics. So. Homework, basically.
I also spend a lot of time talking with my editors about specific goals that I think I can bring something to. Then mostly I try to keep up.
Nrama: What can you tease about what you have coming up in your corner of the Bat universe?
Tamaki: Lots of villains, some new villains. Then there's Dan Mora's art. Dan is such an incredible talent. It's been such an amazing thing to get to work with the same artist over so many issues.
Just looking through the first issue of 'Future State,' everyone is going to freak out when they see what Dan Mora and the colorist, Jordie Bellaire, and the letterer Aditya Bidikar have done with this story.
Nrama: So in 'Future State''s Bat-title, there's two Batmen. Mariko, is there room for two Batmen in one Gotham - even in the Future?
Tamaki: WHO KNOWS? Maybe? Hopefully? I think one thing that seems likely is neither will ENJOY there being more than one Batman in Gotham. There will be no going to get a burger together.
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