The Next Batman: Second Son offers up another issue of Batman-like action, deep looks at cops and their relationship to the world, and Gotham City as a whole in the latest issue. The creative team continues to deliver top-notch dynamic and amazing artwork on a weekly basis that just keeps getting better while showcasing all that they can accomplish. This is a series that far too many appear to be sleeping on and DC Comics needs to be pushing it far more.
Gotham City is huge and there is always a lot of stuff going on in the city that Batman and all his allies, enemies, and others call home. Often there is a bit of a disconnect on what is happening in various parts of the city across the variety of books coming out of the line at DC Comics. That is most assuredly not the case currently, which The Next Batman: Second Son #10 showcases.
While the main Batman series is handling Bruce’s learning about how the city is changing on a surface in your face level following the Joker War and Detective Comics is more about how things are changing for Bruce personally, The Next Batman: Second Son dives deeper.
Taking a break from Jace Fox’s ‘origin’ story, the series jumps back to the present as John Ridley begins to help build more of the Simon Saint plotline and shows just how influential and wrapped into things Lucius Fox truly is at this point. Both Saint is there with the Mayor who is there to “kiss the ring” as Jace says in his thought captions.
Overall the issue is a deep dive into more of what sets Jace and Bruce apart when it comes to their dedicated focus to their missions. Jace isn’t even close to the cape and cowl at this point, and that’s pretty much a good thing. There are echoes of some of the more brash and reckless nature that we saw with Bruce in many of his first outings as the Batman, but there is also deep unshakeable confidence that Jace holds about his abilities and goals.
One of the things that stood out at times about the Future State: The Next Batman issues were how there wasn’t exactly a ton of time to really get to know just who Jace Fox is as a character, and Ridley rectifies that well with this series.
One section that truly stood out in both readings of the issue is between the two cop characters featured in the series, known as Chubb and Whitaker. It’s a fully honest and stripped-down conversation about the reason that those in the city are not only fearful of things like the Joker attack but also why cops are not the saviors they might think of themselves. At the same time, there are still those shades of “folks should not be mad at us, we’re the good guys” that is a big issue with many cops which Ridley doesn’t shy away from.
It’s a very much appreciated look beyond just cops who are either the heroes or the corrupt bad guys that have been the standard for most Batman-related fare for decades.
Travel Foreman is doing killer work on this series, just nailing everything that is required by the story from the various settings to the time points to the heavy action of some issues along with the nuanced emotional character beats. Le Beau Underwood is the new inker for this issue and there isn’t a beat missed between the last issue and this one which showcases how carefully the Bat office keeps choosing the folks that rotate into this creative team. Often there are changes to creative teams between issues for various reasons and their styles can be a bit jarring to go back and forth between. Not with this book.
Rex Lokus and Deron Bennett are still on board doing colors and letters respectively and just keep turning in top-notch work. There were more subtle or washed-out colors in some of the more talking head style pages that filled the last issue, but the colors take a great pop leap again in this issue in showcasing the various aspects of Gotham City. Truly the Batman books are filled with some really awesome art that befits the darkly gorgeous landscape that is Gotham.
Bennett gets to take on more than dialogue lettering this time with some detailed work with some protestor signs and does a fantastic job making sure they are visible and legible. Often those details are hard to read because of size or just being deemed not as important. In this case, he makes sure it’s known how the folks are feeling.
Oh, and while surprise ‘oh this newer character knows this old-established character’ cameos are generally a thing that makes me roll my eyes, that’s not happening with this issue. I always welcome more Katana appearances.
The Next Batman: Second Son #10 is now on sale digitally from DC Comics.