Writer: Mariko Tamaki, Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Dan Mora, Carmine DiGiandomenico
Future State: Dark Detective is the secondary Batman title of the new line of DC books, notable for starring Bruce Wayne. It also contains a backup Grifter story by Matthew Rosenberg and Carmine DiGiandomenico, which is surprisingly the one that ends up making an impact.
The most disappointing thing about this book unfortunately the thing you bought for the Batman story by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora. Its main problem is that, storywise, it’s kind of nothing. We see why Bruce isn’t the current active Batman, and we see him sort of stumbling back into the role. That’s it. There’s no central motivator for any of Bruce’s actions, he just sorts of wanders around Gotham after recovering from an injury, and as soon as he’s better, he dons the cowl again. The reasoning behind quitting Batman is purely physical and there’s not even an attempt to say anything about the character. While it’s not poorly written, it is thinly written.
Though the story is underwhelming, Dan Mora’s art is everything but. The visuals are spectacular, introducing us to a futuristic Gotham that feels alive and bustling with energy. His rendition of Bruce Wayne is more expressive than normal, and so he feels like a more dynamic character. He shows fear, pain, determination, whereas I usually think Bruce tends to have one expression; grim. The art props the book up when otherwise it may be entirely forgettable.
On the other hand, we have a fantastic Grifter story. Placing it side-by-side with the Batman story only exemplifies the difference in quality between the two. While Dark Detective feels thin and short, Grifter is full of substance and feels so much longer despite the equal number of pages.
I’m not familiar with Grifter as a character, but Rosenberg and DiGiandomenico do a wonderful job at demonstrating what he’s about and what he wants, and they do so in a short time. The two main characters, Cole and Luke, feel fully realized with stellar banter between them. The writing is razor-sharp with a nice blend of witty dialogue and well-paced comedic timing, which is just as, if not more, dependent on DiGiandomenico’s art as it is on Rosenberg’s writing.
Carmine DiGiandomenico is an artist I’ve loved since his time on The Flash, and this story only reinforces that love. His unique style is energetic, making for exciting action with meticulous and masterful pacing. His strong sense of positioning makes for a seamless flow in the reading of action sequences. It’s exciting and fast, and it pairs so well with Rosenberg’s quick and natural dialogue.
Future State: Dark Detective is strange, as the main story is a bit of a dud, and the backup is where the real meat lies. Tamaki’s story, at least so far, just has very little actually happening, whereas Rosenberg’s is so dense and enjoyable. Both artists on their respective stories are incredible, and that alone makes the book worth the read.
Future State: Dark Detective #1
Future State: Dark Detective is strange, as the main story is a bit of a dud, and the backup is where the real meat lies. Tamaki’s story, at least so far, just has very little actually happening, whereas Rosenberg’s is so dense and enjoyable. Both stories are illustrated by incredible artists, both of which make the book more than worth the read.