Sunday, June 6, 2021

Comics Review: FUTURE STATE: Gotham #1 Yells "AKIRA!"


STORY: Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver
ART: Giannis Milonogiannis
LETTERS: ALW's Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Ben Abernathy
COVER: Yasmine Putri
32pp, B&W, $3.99 U.S. (July 2021)

Rating: Age 13+

Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger

“Hunt the Batman” Part One: “Batman's Land”

Future State: Gotham is a new black and white comic book series written by Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver and drawn by Giannis Milonogiannis.  The series springs out of the “Future State” miniseries, Future State: Dark Detective, and focuses on Red Hood/Jason Todd as he wages a war against the “Bat-family.”  Letter Troy Peteri completes the creative team.

Future State: Gotham #1 (Batman's Land) opens with the Red Hood battling “Mecha-Scarface” and Arnold Wesker.  Although he is victorious, Jason Todd has earned the ire of the “Peacekeepers.”  Then, disaster strikes Gotham City, and all evidence points towards “the Next Batman.”  Now, Todd must choose justice over his “Bat-family,” when he is recruited by The Magistrate, which wants the Next Batman dead or alive (more the former than the latter).  Peacekeeper Red is born!

But the Magistrate is corrupt.  So what is Jason Todd up to in this forbidding world of tomorrow?

THE LOWDOWN:  “Hunt the Batman,” the debut story arc of Future State: Gotham, will run six issues.  Series writers Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver offer a story that is explosive and has attractive and engaging characters.  They also put Jason Todd/Red Hood in a precarious position filled with uncertainty that will make for high-wire tension and nail-biting drama.

Series artist Giannis Milonogiannis renders Future State Gotham #1 in stark black and white tones.  This art evokes a gritty, noir aesthetic that recalls both the 1982 film, Blade Runner, and Katsuhiro Otomo's classic manga, Akira (serialized in Japan's Weekly Young Magazine, 1982-90).  In fact, it is not a coincidence and is fitting that this first issue reprints the Batman short story, "The Third Mask," that Otomo wrote and drew for the first Batman: Black and White (1996) miniseries.  I think that DC Comics and the creators want us to know that they are producing a comic book that exemplifies what is true to the spirit of Akira, if not being an heir to that manga.

Troy Peteri's dynamic lettering for Future State: Gotham #1 is pitch perfect for this series.  His fonts ride Milonogiannis' manga-like action lines as if they were riding lightning.  Yes, dear readers, I am strongly recommending Future State: Gotham #1.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Jason Todd and Red Hood will want to read Future State: Gotham.


Future State: Gotham #1 includes the following extras:
  • a Batman pinup drawn by the late French artist, Moebius
  • A series design sketch by Giannis Milonogiannis
  • A story from Batman: Black and White #4 (September 1996), “The Third Mask” written and drawn by Katsuhiro Otomo; translated by Jo Duffy; lettered by Bill Oakley
  • A “DC Nation” “Spotlight On” Wonder Girl #1 interview with writer artist Joelle Jones

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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