In this weeks of Future State titles, we get the conclusion of Jace Fox as the new Batman in The Next Batman 4. The story at its heart is quite simple. Batman has two parents who murdered the murderer of their daughter in custody. Murder is murder despite the good cause, but where the parents end up will determine their fate. If the land in the hands of the Magistrate they will be killed, but if Batman can get them to City Hall they can stand trial and possibly receive a lesser sentence and find leniency.
Of course between them and City Hall, 3 miles away, lies an army of Peacekeepers that don’t exactly like the Batman either. The three steal a car and manage to make it most of the way, but like all horror/thriller movies, casualties occur. Eric sacrifices himself so Batman and Sara can make it. They make it to City Hall and things end about as well as they can under the circumstances.
The Next Batman 4 – A Nice Touch
Yet two things happen that add a nice touch to the issue and add some meaning. The first comes when Batman, or should I say Jace, accidently crosses paths with his mother after crashing the car. It’s no secret Tanya Fox hates masks with a passion. When she pops out of her car with a gun, Jace knows she will start shooting out of rage. He sees no alternative other than throwing a bat-shuriken at her. Having to attack your own mother can’t feel good. Bruce’s tragedy may have been a blessing.
The second moment comes right after this when one of the Magistrate’s head soldiers attacks Batman. Because he works for the Magistrate, Batman blames him and unleashes hell upon the man. He easily kicks his ass, but he doesn’t stop there. Jace wants him dead. Sara steps in and pulls Batman off the guy, and somehow talks Batman into running. If not would he not have just committed the very crime he’s taking Sara to City Hall for committing?? Thin lines indeed.
Needless to say the Fox family is f**ked up big time! This series did okay, but I think it would be well served to back it up and start over. How did Jace become Batman? What all took place that divided the Fox family? We know most of the events, but we lack the details to give them true power. The success of this series would not come from Jace being Batman but from the story following the Fox family itself and their disfunction.
The Next Batman 4 – Batgirls Forever
Then we get the concluding story to the Batgirls storyline. Cassie lets herself get busted so she can get to Cassie and get her out, but Steph is blamed for being a traitor. Steph and Cassie call upon the prisoners to help and a riot is staged as cover.
Cassie manages to find Barbara Gordon unexpectedly and frees her. Together they hack the computer system and broadcast a rallying cry to rise up against the Magistrate. Once free they join the Resistance of Masks. Barbara and Dick have a touching reunion and Steph and Cassie make up.
The story overall works, but my problem comes from the timeline. This feels like a story that takes place much earlier in the Future State timeline. Barbara mentions she may have found crumbs to Batman, which then ties into Catwoman possibly and the other titles as well. I really wish creators would have taken a more unified, time linear approach to Future State. Titles that do not tie in anywhere else can do whatever, but the Gotham titles seem like a jumbled mess.
The Next Batman 4 – Ladies Night
The final story in this issue follows Ivy, Selina and the droid DD-001. Overall the story doesn’t feel very needed, and it does not portray Selina in a very believable fashion. They should have subbed someone other than Selina in here, but she’s one of the few female non-heroes that could have fit (Huntress perhaps).
There’s fighting. There’s bonding, and they do deliver a nice story about helping DD to feel normal and like a real woman, and her sacrifice in the end does make for a nice tribute. The story just feels too much like an outlier to the Future State events. This feels more like a flashback to Selina’s younger days. It reads well enough, but I’m not sure it was necessary.
What did you think of the final The Next Batman? Do you think we will see any of it carry forward? Head on over to DC Fanatics on Facebook and tell us what you thought.