DC’s dark future timeline adds another Batman to Gotham City, but this one is the exact opposite of the crime-fighting Caped Crusader.
The following contains spoilers for Future State: Gotham #14, now on sale from DC Comics.
Future State adds one more Batman to Gotham City, though he is very different from Bruce Wayne.
In Future State: Gotham #14, former Robin Damian Wayne returns from Hell as Batman 666, waging war on the Magistrate’s forces with hellfire batarangs and brutal tactics. While expressing his frustrations at how the city has changed during the years that he was away, he is greeted by the new Batman, who appears to Damian as his father, Bruce Wayne. However, though he may have Bruce’s face, this Batman is none other than Thomas Elliot, the villain Hush.
Hush is repeating a tactic he used earlier in Future State: Gotham. Before manipulating Damian into believing he is Bruce, he did the same to Jason Todd, causing Jason to keep the rest of the Bat Family at an arm’s length and distrust the Next Batman, Jace Fox. It was only after working closely with Jace that Jason realized that he had been deceived. Hush has been orchestrating every major criminal move in the title, from the creation of a giant, bat-shaped crater in Gotham to the actions of the Next Joker and beyond.
Now that Hush has donned the cowl, it marks five Batmen that are running around Gotham City. Aside from Hush, Damian and Jace, Bruce Wayne has returned while Dick Grayson/Nightwing has once again assumed the role of Batman in the belief that it is necessary to stop the Magistrate and save the world. This perspective he now has is a result of using the drug Brane, which is derived from the Venom drug that the villain Bane uses to enhance his physical strength. Brane works differently though, enhancing the mind as opposed to the body.
The emergence of several Caped Crusaders echoes an event from Batman history: Battle for the Cowl. During this story, a few players — like Jason and Robin Tim Drake — fought over the right to be Batman. Ultimately, Nightwing emerged as the sole Dark Knight, something he believes has to happen again in order to stop the Magistrate. During the issue, he tells Jace that he needs to stop being Batman because “there can only be one,” going as far as fighting him to make the demand clear.
Future State: Gotham #14 is written by Dennis Culver with interior art by Giannis Milonogiannis and Geoffo, main cover art by Simone Di Meo, letters by Troy Peteri and a variant cover by Mike Bowden and Rex Lokus. The issue is now on sale from DC Comics.
Source: DC Comics
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