In An Issue With Two Chase Stories, Grifter Is The Runaway Winner: ‘Future State: Dark Detective’ #1 Reviewed

by Olly MacNamee

One part Blade Runner and another part Tron 2 with a smidge of Judge Dredd, Future State: Dark Detective #1 offers up an older Batman on the run and presumed dead. With the Wayne fortune long gone (as it is in the current James Tynion IV written Batman series), our intrepid vigilante does all he can to stay one step ahead of the fascistic lawmen of Gotham City. 

Writer Mariko Tamaka delivers a tense first issue, while artist Dan Mora delivers the art to match as we jump between the recent past and the here-and-now. 

It’s a quick read, but then again that only reflects the speed at which Brice Wayne needs to keep up if he’s going to survive. It’s also an issue that intentionally draws questions which remain unanswered. 

By now we’ve heard the name of The Magistrate a great deal across the DC Future State title so far put out, but he still remains a mystery. As does Bruce Wayne’s recent history. Why he’s on the streets and fighting for his life also remains a mystery. Wayne is alive, but for how much longer?

If you felt in any way let down by the quick read of the lead story, then maybe the second story featured in this issue, and starring W.I.L.D. Cats’ member, Grifter, will make up for this. After a lead Batman story heavily inclusive of large-scale panels and several impressive splash pages, this second story is far more compact and dense and a more satisfying read because of it.

Written by Matthew Rosenberg and illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico, Cole Cash is certainly living up to his street name as the GCPD come calling in the middle of a highly contentious game of cards, only to make it even more contentious. And by “contentious” I mean “violent”. You know the kind of scene I referring to. It’s a familiar enough trope seen in many a varied story and over various genres too, but Di Giandomenico really injects it with such fluidity and the sense of movement by the many, many differer characters trying to pile onto Grifter. Well choreographed, Di Giandomenico really shows his talent as an artist in not only this dynamic scenes but in all others too. 

In many ways this second story is similar to the lead story, with both heroes on the run from the law. But in Cole’s case, it’s got a hint more humour to it, as he wise-cracks his way across Gotham City. Something you would never hear coming out of the Dark Knight Detective’s gritted lips. And the gags keep on coming. Is it too early to ask for a Rosenberg written Grifter title. I wonder?

Two ‘chase stories’ executed very differently, but both extremely well. But, if I’m honest, Grifter is the stand-out star of this particular title, even if his name barely makes it onto the cover. Not because of a varying quality in the two strips, but because he must simply be the more fun character to write for. Grifter’s back, baby, and in in mighty fine form!

Future Sate: Dark Detective #1 os out now from DC Comics

Olly MacNamee

A unashamed DC Comics fan and sometime teacher for over 20 years! I got lucky and found the escape hatch. Now, I just read and write about comics all day long. Co-host of the ICE-Cast podcast and one third of the brains behind Birmingham's street art and graffiti festival High Vis Fest.

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