When Future State was first announced I was most excited for what had become of the Batman Family in a world without Bruce Wayne around to help defend Gotham City against the Magistrate. We have seen what that is like through the pages of Next Batman, Harley Quinn, Robin Eternal, Dark Detective and Catwoman. Now it is time to see what things are like for the original Robin as Dick Grayson is still operating as Nightwing in Gotham City. Now I will admit that I’m entering Future State: Nightwing with tempered expectations. That is because Future State: Teen Titans, which takes place two years after the events of Future State: Nightwing, was a major letdown with how that story unfold, particularly with the awkward developments for Dick Grayson. Will Future State: Nightwing shine more of a light on why Dick Grayson has a darker turn further into the future of this DC Universe continuity? Let’s find out with Future State: Nightwing #1.
Writer: Andrew Constant
Artist: Nicola Scott
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Several years from now in Gotham City a couple is attacked by some of Magistrate security robots and drones. Nightwing immediately jumps in to save the couple by taking out the Magistrate robots and drones.
When the couple goes to thank him Nightwing knows that this was all a set up by the Magistrate, who the couple are working for. The guy and woman then attack Nightwing. Nightwing quickly counters their attacks and is able to knock them both out.
As he assess the situation Nightwing is suddenly shot in the back by a sniper, but the shot does not fully penetrate his armor. Nightwing quickly disappears from the sniper’s vision.
Nightwing then appears behind the sniper and calls the guy out for being just another thug working for the Magistrate. The guy knows that Nightwing is the leader of the Mask Resistance and has been targeted as Gotham’s most wanted vigilante. Nightwing tells the guy to tell Peacekeeper-01 that none of them are worth fighting.
As Nightwing walks away the guy calls Nightwing out for being nothing without Batman around. Hearing this, Nightwing smashes the guy’s knee with one of his batons before taking off.
While he is injured the guy contacts Peacekeeper-01 to let him know the mission was a success.
At the Magistrate HQ, Peacekeeper-01 gets the info from the Magistrate troop about Nightwing. Peacekeeper-01 calls in the recently promoted Peacekeeper-06 to use the information they now have on Nightwing to make an example of him to all the other vigilantes.
Over at the ruins of Arkham Asylum, Nightwing is seeing walking through the wreckage into his secret hideout inside the building. There Nightwing has a meeting with Batgirl, Huntress, Bluebird, Man-Bat, Two-Face and others over video chat to motivate them all to continue fighting as a resistance together against the Magistrate. Batgirl mentions reports of a new Batman running around. Nightwing says he’s heard similar things and will look into it.
Later, as Dick Grayson is showering, he thinks about what Bruce Wayne did for him by taking him in as an orphan.
Batman (Tim/Jace Fox) suddenly appears and attacks Dick Grayson in the shower. Batman gains the upperhand but Dick Grayson was prepared and knocks Batman out with a high voltage shock.
Twenty minutes later Batman wakes up cuffed to a chair by Nightwing. Batman wonders if Nightwing took off his cowl to find out who he is. Nightwing says he does not need to know that as he values privacy and tells Batman no one expects him to live in the shadows of what happened on A-Day.
Nightwing then asks Batman why he is there. Batman reveals he recently saved a ten year old girl named Sarah from being kidnapped. Because Sarah say him save her the Magistrate have now taken her in believing she has a connection to Batman. Batman says he knows the Magistrate likely killed her since she doesn’t know anything so he wants to join Nightwing’s resistance to take down the Magistrate together.
Alarms suddenly go off to alert Nightwing and Batman that the Magistrate are outside Arkham Asylum. Nightwing reveals he knew that the Magistrate sniper shot him with a tracking device and purposely let Peacekeeper-01 discover his location. Batman asks Nightwing why he did this. Nightwing says he is done with being at a disadvantage and border skirmishes. He goes on to say he is planning to use the homefield advantage he has at Arkham Asylum to his advantage.
Peacekeeper-06 is then shown outside of Arkham Asylum with a large number of Magistrate troops ready to story the building. End of issue.
The Good: Of all the Future State comic books Nightwing #1 does the best job in complimenting what is going on within its family of titles in this direction. In this case, what we see go on in Future State: Nightwing #1 enhances all the other stories going on in Gotham City at this point. All the other Batman Family stories going on in Future State feel more connected because of how we see Gotham City and the resistance against Magistrate play out.
The big thing that we get through Future State: Nightwing #1 is how exhausting this whole ongoing war with the Magistrate has been for the Batman Family. Through Dick Grayson’s Nightwing we are shown how the Batman Family and Magistrate just continue to go back-and-forth in their war for Gotham City’s soul. There is a sense of a never ending battle that has been waged since the Magistrate appeared and “killed” Bruce Wayne.
This is something we with the back-up stories in Future State: The Next Batman and Future State: Robin Eternal #1. In all those stories we have seen how each member of the Batman Family is tackling the threat of the Magistrate in their own way. Now with Future State: Nightwing #1 we are given a better idea of how each member of the Batman Family is connected under the leadership of Dick Grayson. We are given a better understanding of how even as each Batman Family member is operating individually it is all being done with a greater goal in mind of taking down the Magistrate.
The portrayal of Dick Grayson throughout Future State: Nightwing #1 does a good job in getting over how not only does Nightwing but the entire Batman Family is well aware of all the tactics the Magistrate use against them. Even as they’ve had to be more resourceful because of how the Magistrate have taken over Gotham City, Nightwing and the Batman Family are all so well trained that they can hold their own against this villainous regime. The opening for Future State: Nightwing #1 shows just that as Nightwing already knew he was jumping into a Magistrate trap and used that for his own plan.
Through all of this Andrew Constant also does a good job showing us what the weight of such a rebel resistance movement would have on its leader. Both the end of the meeting and shower scene present us with a Dick Grayson who is tired. We are given a good idea of how as Nightwing and leader of the resistance that Dick Grayson hasn’t had much time to relax as he has too always be on.
That leads in well into how things go down as Nightwing has rough first meeting with Batman. Even being caught off guard we see how Dick Grayson has things in place to prepare to always defend himself. Which sets up well into why he would be so confident in having the home field advantage when he purposely let the Peacekeeper-01 and Magistrate find his location.
The interaction with Batman was also well done in getting across how Nightwing wouldn’t immediately call out Jace Fox for taking his mentor’s mantle. Even though he may no be fully happy with it Nightwing wasn’t shown ordering Jace to take it off. And he also showed respect to Jace as Batman as he made it clear he was not going to force the new Batman to reveal who is under the cape and cowl. It is a good way to build trust between Nightwing and the new Batman.
Constant’s also does a very good job using what we have seen from Peacekeeper-01 and the Magistrate to further how they have such militant control of Gotham City. Adding in how Peacekeeper-01 would even resort to kidnapping people that Batman or other vigilantes save from criminals makes you hate them more. It all gets over how they really don’t have anyone above them to challenge or question their actions. This helps to build up what the entire Batman Family have been up against his entire time and why Nightwing would take such a gamble just for the possibility to turn the tide in this ongoing war.
Nicola Scott’s artwork further elevated the story that Constant was telling throughout Future State: Nightwing #1. Everything looked smooth and the new state of Gotham City carried on the Neo Gotham aesthetic that we have seen in the other Batman Family titles under the Future State banner. Little things like a massive digital wanted poster of Nightwing around the city helps set the tone for what this series will be tackling. The additional armor to the upgraded version of the Nightwing costume that Dick Grayson is wearing in this series also adds to how the Batman Family are at war with the Magistrate.
The Bad: While Future State: Nightwing #1 is slightly less vague about where it falls on the Future State timeline it is odd to see how different Dick Grayson’s portrayal is here compared to Future State: Teen Titans #1. In Future State: Teen Titans #1 we see that Dick Grayson has not only abandoned his Nightwing identity but has a hatred for everything it stood for. That is not the way Dick Grayson is presented here. In Future State: Nightwing #1 we see that he is proudly carrying on Bruce Wayne’s legacy as the leader of the resistance against the Magistrate.
This isn’t necessarily a problem for Future State: Nightwing #1 but a general problem that has appeared the more we get into Future State as whole. As we see characters like Nightwing, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman appear in multiple titles it has been getting tough to understand why they act so differently I each title. This is where I wish editors would step in to have years specifically stated at the beginning of each Future State series. Because having the switch between the present and past just being “Now,” “Then,” or “Several years from now” makes it tough to get behind a character like Dick Grayson who is acting completely different in Future State: Nightwing and Future State: Teen Titans.
Overall: Future State: Nightwing #1 continues the trend of the Batman Family titles being some of the best comic books in DC Comics Future State direction. Andrew Constant and Nicola Scott do a great job setting up Nightwing as having the biggest target on his back as the leader of the resistance against the Magistrate’s regime.
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