September 25, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Comic Review: Batman: Dark Detective

In a Future State, Bruce Wayne is broke and believed dead in a totalitarian Gotham City.

Oh hey, another week of trade paperback reviews!  What’s up first?

Well, DC did something called Future State, and up first is a look at the Gotham City of the future.  Maybe.  I don’t know.

At some point in the future–I am not sure how far into the future, but everyone looks about the same age they always do–Gotham City is under the protection of the mysterious Magistrate, running the city like a totalitarian dystopia.  Their first order of business was to outlaw all costumed activity, whether it be a hero or a villain.  So, where’s Batman in all this?  Good question!  The Magistrate employs enforcers called Peacekeepers, and their top guy there, Peacekeeper 01, apparently killed Bruce Wayne.

Or not.  Bruce is very much alive but in hiding.  He lost his fortune and most of his resources.  He’s living under an alias in the basement of a man who doesn’t ask too many questions because he’s mostly concerned with his TV reception.  Bruce wants to know what happened, and to that end, he’s still trying to be Batman.  He’s just being very, very cautious about it since the Magistrate has eyes and ears everywhere.

Now, this particular trade wasn’t limited to the Bruce Wayne-centric story.  That one just takes up the most pages.  Also included are shorter ones showing Jason Todd as the Red Hood working for the Magistrate to bring in folks who can’t or won’t give up their masks, a Superman/Batman team-up set early in the Magistrate’s rule to basically explain why Superman didn’t fly in to try and fix things, a Catwoman story where she’s committing an elaborate train robbery to rescue some prisoners and get them to safety, a Harley Quinn story where she’s working for the Magistrate against her will with Jonathan “Scarecrow” Crane to bring in missing criminals with known psychosis, and a Tim Drake story where he’s looking into some mysterious substance the Magistrate is using to bulk up the strength of its forces.

And the whole thing just isn’t all that interesting.  The only story I thought showed promise was the Harley Quinn one, mostly because it showed Harley is actually very good at the whole “psychiatrist” thing, better than the Scarecrow, and she has a lot more compassion for the Magistrate’s targets than anyone else working there.  Then again, it’s not like she’s there by choice.  Besides, it seems like there wasn’t a lot of coordination here between stories since Professor Pyg was working for the Magistrate in one story and was a target of theirs in another.

So, really, if this is Future State, color me unimpressed.  Maybe some of the other books were better, and hey, a look into the near future in a universe where characters barely age is always welcome at least in theory.  But as for this one…

7 out of 10 heat vision eyes grafted to animal backs.

And remember, a “7” is basically a C- from me, so barely passing.