In a not too distant possible future, Gotham City is in shambles. Bruce Wayne is dead (or believed to be- see Future State Dark Detective), and the militaristic Magistrate has crushed the hope out of everyone. Despite this Dick Grayson, leader of the resistance, is ready to go to war and save the future of a cyberpunk flavored Gotham City. Partnered with artist Nicola Scott, Andrew Constant makes his Nightwing debut with one of the most exhilarating stories that exemplify what Nightwing is supposed to represent.
The story opens with Nightwing allowing himself to fall into one of the Magistrate’s many traps for him. One of many staged attacks on “innocent citizens” that are aimed to bait Dick into their clutches. However, Dick Grayson isn’t an idiot. And unlike some other writers’ recent misconceptions about him, Dick Grayson does not follow his heart. He’s every bit as calculated, perceptive, and observant as Batman, if not more so. This is evident considering one doesn’t become the leader of the masked resistance without being a little ahead of the game.
Meanwhile, the Magistrate believes to have the upper hand on him. Peacekeeper-01, the apparent leader of the Magistrate’s task force, is just as aware as the reader of how capable Nightwing is. However, they seem to have “hooked” Nightwing into their plan, aiming to set an example through his death. Through this sequence, we learn more about how the Magistrate operates. Their apparent goal isn’t simply to replace the GCPD but liberate Gotham from its past.
As the story progresses, we gain a little more insight into Dick’s mindset to see how things have changed for him. Every day seems to be a battle for him. Wearing the guilt of Bruce Wayne’s “death” over his head, Dick has become worn down, tired, and distrusting of The New Batman. Dick views him as an imposter and has no interest in finding out the man behind the cowl.
The two seem to begrudgingly form an alliance as the issue closes up. Maye Dick has put his bitterness on the shelf. Or maybe he sees the bigger threat knocking at his front door.
Andrew Constant’s script is rather straightforward, but riveting nonetheless. Constant’s interpretation of Dick is unlike the happy go lucky fool DC Rebirth has pushed down our throat. He’s far more true to who he’s been for decades before the last six years. This Nightwing is far more in line with many previous writers’ understanding. His ability to read body language is utilized more intricately throughout the issue. It’s a skill of his that extends beyond just fighting. His brutality is a little more intense than expected, but not out of character. Rather, it’s refreshing to see Dick Grayson express his anger towards crime.
Nicola Scott’s art is a little rigid. Her characters’ are unable to have appealing faces while in movement. It’s clear her strength comes from when characters aren’t moving. This doesn’t help considering how acrobatic and fluid Nightwing is. Also, something that always rubs me the wrong way is how Scott sexualizes Dick Grayson. If it isn’t an oddly placed butt shot, it’s an unnecessary and uncomfortable shower scene. It isn’t that a shower scene doesn’t even make sense in a story, but the placement of it breaks the fluid storytelling. Though the idea was probably to deliver a scene where Dick lets his guard down, this scene simply doesn’t make sense unless its goal was to show his body off.
Overall, Future State Nightwing is a strong story that continuously keeps the reader engaged. For a story that sets up what seems to be Nightwing’s last stand, it does a lot to build the character and give the reader a more grounded perspective as to what’s happened to Gotham City. While keeping readers on the edge of their seats, the story closes by setting up its final issue.
Writing rating: 5/5
Art rating: 2.5/5
Overall rating: 7.5/10