In this week’s batch of Future State titles, we get The Next Batman 2. It appears as if the ongoing pattern will be two large 64 page, three story issues with the rest being the normal 24 page one to two story issues. The Next Batman falls into the latter category, and I am not sure that’s a good thing. These larger issues make for some lengthy reading, and while a few of the extra stories have been amazing, most seem to be rather pointless and unnecessary. I think creators meant them to be world builders, but I can’t keep track of how many worlds these stories cover. Continuities are a real mess.

Batman investigates a killing that looks professional, but the Magistrate Police get the drop on him and manage to wound him. He hops on his Bat-bike that looks like nothing more than a dirt bike (Selina has the cool one over in her title this week) and speeds away. With a little help he finds the perps and quickly takes them down.

In a disagreement, who is correct – the vigilante? Or the Vigilantes? Thsi issue takes an interesting and moral questioning turn. It turns out the bad guys are not the bad guys. The dead guy is the bad guy, and these two merely carried out the vigilante justice Batman normally does…with a homicidal twist. The two vigilantes were parents avenging their daughter’s death from the cyber-killer who killed her. Batman tried to take a bit of a high ground saying murder is still murder, but his confidence is shaken. Either way the argument gets interrupted by the Magistrate’s police once more.

The Next Batman 2 – Coloring Outside the Lines

Two other scenes add some depth to the new Batman and Gotham’s tribulations. The first scene involves the mayor. He knows he got lucky taking out the first Batman, but to take out the second may cause legal problems he cannot dodge again. Who does he call in? A lawyer by the name of Tanya FOX.

We know from previous issues, the Fox family divides when it comes to masked vigilantes. Something happened to one of the Fox daughters, and the family stands divided. While Tim/Jace holds the current mantle of the bat, mom (Tanya) blames the masked vigilante world for her condition. She now works with the Magistrate to take them down. This family is heading for a day of reckoning.

The other scene involves the detective investigating the murder Batman begins with. While the police argue over how Peacekeeper-01 will treat them when he finds out Batman escaped them, a body lays mutilated on the ground at their feet. They don’t care and they tell the detective as much when she calls them out on it. They even ask how these thugs are any better than the masks. This underlines exactly how bad a state Gotham is in.

The Next Batman 2 – War of the Batgirls

This story strikes me as both intriguing and extremely frustrating. A warden walks a shadowy perp down the hallway of the Magistrate’s detention facility. He mocks her and ridicules her until he shoves her to the ground. We finally see her face and it can only be one person – female, black hair, utterly silent despite constant ridicule, and has not shown up in a Future State comic yet. It can only be Cassie Cain.

They throw her in a cell with what would normally be a good person, the one-eyed Steph Brown/Spoiler, but Cassie does not take well to traitors. Steph eggs Cassie on and verbally toys with Cassie until they both get thrown into solitary. There, finally off the monitoring grid of the detention center, Steph opens up and tells Cassie the truth. Steph turning dark was all part of the plan to find Oracle. Cassie’s mission was to locate Batman within the facility. Together Cassie and Steph work together to discover the truth. Cassie just needs a distraction, so Steph instigates a riot for cover.

This little story is intriguing enough, but it causes a bunch of continuity headaches. Is Steph in prison or on the streets helping Robin/Tim Drake? Half the prisoners appear in other comics as vigilantes or with other superhero groups, and what about Batman? Is he dead, on a train being rescued by Catwoman, patrolling the streets as the dark detective, or within the prison walls?

The Next Batman 2 – Ladies Night Out

This final story gives readers a nice, warm, feel good feeling, but it’s entirely unnecessary and serves no purpose. Catwoman and Poison Ivy have a new android tag-along named Dee-Dee. In the process of trying to get information from her to take down a bad guy, they help discover Dee-Dee’s soul. She gives them everything. While at a sanctuary club, the magistrate’s thugs break in and shoot Selina in the chest.

Not only does Catwoman’s outfit look terrible, but the story serves no purpose. It also sets up the continuity with the Catwoman title itself. Is Selena rescuing Bruce in one of four spots, or is she partying with Ivy?

What did you think of The Next Batman Two title? Head on over to DC Fanatics on Facebook and tell us what you thought.