“The Next Batman”, “Batgirls”, “Rise”
Writers: John Ridley, Vita Ayala, and Paula Sevenbergen
Artists: Laura Braga, Nick Derington, Aneke, Rob Haynes, and Emanuela Luppachino
Color Artists: Arif Prianto, Trish Mulvihill, and John Kalisz
Letterers: Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, and Becca Carey
Minor Spoilers Ahead!
Review by Eric Lee
The Next Batman #2 kicks the story into high gear and delivers more interesting character moments for the new Batman.
Since the issue’s divided up into three separate stories, I’ve reviewed them individually.
The Next Batman
The Next Batman #2 actually delivers more of what I wanted from issue one! It shines the spotlight squarely on the new Batman. and really showcases his personality. It makes for a much more engaging read than the previous issue, which split its focus on too many plot lines.
Here there are only really two main plots, which gives each of them a chance to breathe a little more. The new Batman instantly has a voice that’s distinctly different from Bruce Wayne’s, and we also see other ways in which he differs from Wayne. Now that we’ve established a baseline of the new Batman’s abilities, there’s now a more palpable level of danger and urgency to the story.
The biggest bummer of this issue is that artist Nick Derington is only handling breakdowns. It takes away some his great visual flair, which is what made the previous issue stand out.
Still, it’s a marked improvement over the previous issue in terms of the story.
This storyline focuses on what goes on outside of the normal Gotham City limits. Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain are the two leads, and they have a completely different relationship here than in the normal continuity. It makes for a fun dynamic. However, the way the story’s structured deadens the impact of the plot reveals.
Also, I’m trying to figure out where this story takes place in the context of other Future State stories. There seem to be some continuity errors in the art, which took me out of the story.
Ladies Night Out
The weakest of the three stories easily. I actually found this one a little pointless, and meandering. The plot centers around Catwoman and Poison Ivy hijacking a robot called Dee-Dee, and engaging in white collar crimes. The main thrust of the tale’s fine, but then it gets bogged down with other extraneous plots for the sake of being “fun”. This detracts from the drama, and sucks away any sense of urgency. It’s really dumb where the characters state they need to stop the villain in 48 hours but then decide to play pool instead.
The ending is completely tacked on for the sake of a cliffhanger. It comes completely out of left field, and is tonally inconsistent with the rest of the whimsical story. Outside of the art, this segment is completely passable.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment