Future State: Nightwing Issue 1 Review: “Once Upon a Night in Gotham”

Future State Nightwing Issue 1

Future State: Nightwing issue 1 shows a futuristic Gotham in the year 2025 where a group called the Magistrate is on the hunt for all superheroes. Nightwing, being the former sidekick of the possibly former Batman, is definitely high up on their list. But Nightwing isn’t going to wait for the Magistrate to come to him; he’s coming for them!

In January and February of this year, DC Comics is doing something a little different with their periodicals. Many of their normal releases are now Future State comics, which as the title indicates, take place in the future. For the most part I have been reading a handful of the Gotham books in this series. These stories, amazingly enough, paint an even darker Gotham.

Please note that there will be some brief spoilers below.

Future State: Nightwing issue 1 begins in downtown Gotham, where a couple is being threatened by some kind of robot which they refer to as a “cyber.” Nightwing does a lot of talking to himself, and the narration bubbles (done by letterer, Wes Abbot) do not look the most stable, which may or may not be indicative of Nightwing’s mental state. In Future State: Robin Eternal, which came out last week, Tim Drake does say that Dick is “…ranting and raving in Arkham.” (That comic takes place in the same timeline).

Nightwing takes down the cybers and the couple thanks him, but Nightwing isn’t fooled. These people are not afraid. He can tell by their body language. These people are part of the Magistrate trying to take Nightwing down. Over the course of the night, Nightwing only runs into more and more people who are after him in a city full of huge wanted posters of his face.

Part of Nightwing’s motivation is that he believes that Batman is dead. Nightwing feels like he has failed Bruce when Bruce was always there for him. The Magistrate knows that Nightwing thinks Batman is dead and plans to use that against him. What’s sad is that Bruce is very much alive, and Dick doesn’t know. (You can read more about what Bruce is currently up to in Future State: Dark Detective.)

Toward the end of Future State: Nightwing issue 1, someone in a Batman costume shows up at Dick’s Arkham Asylum base. How receptive Dick will be to the new Batman’s help is yet to be seen and the two are in very real danger by the end of the issue.

I’m not familiar with writer Andrew Constant, but by reading this comic, it is safe to say that Constant has a good understanding of Nightwing as a character. A city in danger without Batman around ultimately means that Dick Grayson will be there to do what needs to be done. In times like these, Dick is always more serious, but still relatable. Dick Grayson will always have heart, and this is how Constant writes him.

The wonderful art is done by self-proclaimed Nightwing fan Nicola Scott. She is best known for drawing a very attractive Nightwing. Her character design for him in Future State involves quite a bit more padding and a chin strap for some reason. It’s certainly a more dangerous world. Nightwing is a little more rugged as well, with a bit of stubble on his face. He’s drawn as more closed off and weary. Overall, I find Scott’s art to be very detailed throughout and compliments the story well.

Colorist Ivan Plascencia keeps in line with a similar color scheme that I have seen in all of the Batfamily books in Future State so far. It’s not the normal dark Gotham we’re used to. It’s still dark, but it’s also a rainbow of dark colors. Because of this, Nightwing appears to be darker than Gotham. The colors to me also show a city that is very unsettled. It’s certainly an interesting concept and I’m curious to see if this color scheme continues in later issues.

I would have to say that Future State: Nightwing issue 1 is one of my favorites of the Future State series so far. This is not just due to my bias of being a huge Nightwing fan, but also because out of all the Future State comics I have read, this one fills me with the most questions about what is going to happen next. I have a feeling it might not be too good considering what happened in the Future State: Teen Titans story though!

Author: Jessica Rae

Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.


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