“Batman’s Land” and “The Third Mask”
Writers: Joshua Williamson & Dennis Culver and Katsuhiro Otomo & Jo Duffy
Artists: Giannis Milonogiannis and Katsuhiro Otomo
Letterers: ALW’s Troy Peteri and Bill Oakley
Review by Fay Clark
Jason Todd is back, and I for one am jumping for joy. I have to say, I’ve missed the snark and pure badassery that comes with Red Hood. Yes, we’re finally getting back to Jason’s character in Future State – Gotham #1.
Starting out with a bang!
Joshua Williamson’s on a roll with his character writing. Having recently read the first Robin issue of the new run, I can tell why he’s on both projects. Williamson clearly knows how these characters should act and their mannerisms. Future State – Gotham #1 throws you in at the deep end, with a cement slab attached to your feet. We see a whole new Gotham like never before, combined with a Red Hood who hasn’t changed at all. He still can’t take orders, or listen to his superiors and he just has to have the last word. However, he’s still very good at his job and STILL AN ABSOLUTE MESS. Dennis Culver and Joshua Williamson obviously work very well together, as they’ve managed to create an explosive new Gotham for this classic character.
I loved the interactions between Jason and his co-stars, and the dialogue kept me interested. There’s so much more to learn about what’s happened and I don’t want to miss a thing. I need all the context, please! There are several mysteries to be solved, though Jason seems to have the answers and, as a reader, you’re trying to keep up, and pick up on clues that are being left for you. I think Williamson and Culver have done an amazing job of getting people interested in wanting to continue the story to find out more.
In the beginning, it seems like everything about some of the characters is “black and white,” until later, when their true colors come out. I have a feeling that we might be experiencing something like that in Future State- Gotham #1. Deciding your own version of how everything looks and who you think is the “good guy” to be thrown away, later down the line.
I love this minimalistic new look at Gotham City. You aren’t distracted by the color and can really appreciate the talent that Giannis Milonogiannis has, and the hard work he’s put into the art. There is something almost more horror about a black and white version of Gotham, and Milonogiannis has brought that into the imagery. Using shadows and darker settings for some conversations really adds a creepy, unsettling atmosphere.
This issue also features a second story, by Katsuhiro Otomo. This is a reprint from the very rare, first series of Batman: Black & White. You can tell the writer comes from a Manga background when reading the comic and looking at the artwork. There’s something very distinct about the atmosphere with a Horror Manga, and that’s the feeling I get from this short story. We don’t get all the details, yet it is all very unsettling with high tension throughout. The character of Batman is very well known, yet I am always surprised to see a different variation of him. That’s exactly what you get when reading Otomo’s “The Third Mask”.
For such a short story, there’s so much to draw you in. Katsuhiro Otomo completely dragged me into this creepy, dark, atmospheric version of Batman.
I am SO, SO, SO, SO, happy to have Jason Todd back in my life. I’ve really missed my disaster boy. There seems to be a mystery afoot, and Williamson and Culver have me intrigued. I can’t wait to see how Red Hood deals with all these new responsibilities and issues.
There’s so much more to learn about the new Gotham and everyone in this new Future State.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment