Well, hello 2021! We’re kicking the year off with Future State, and while I know there are plenty of nay-sayers out there, I’m actually a little excited to see if there’s anything fun or worthwhile in these stories. Are you picking up any Future State titles, or will you wait to see what the general feedback is?

Alright, on to business. This week’s releases are listed according to our anticipation scale, with titles listed in alphabetical order within each sub-header. For each title, I’ll include the official solicitation, the talent credits, a random comment (or rant), and the Batman News team member that will be reviewing each book. Following that, you’ll find notes pertaining to other DC Comics titles, as well as our Graphic Novel Watch. And finally, we want to hear from you! What titles are you picking up? Why are you excited? What do you hope will happen in the book? Etc. So, without further ado, review our Anticipation Scale, and comment away!

The Anticipation Scale

NO! – A comic I downright dread reading and if I wasn’t a reviewer, I would never buy it.

“You Don’t Have to Thank Us” – The idea of reviewing it doesn’t make me ill or angry, but it definitely sounds like it’s going to be a chore. Still, I’m reading it for you. I’m putting it at the bottom of the pile, but I’m reading it for you.

Mixed – A middle of the pile comic. It’s probably got the same chance of being dreadful as it does of being stupendous. I’m neither looking forward to it or avoiding it, whatever happens… happens.

Intrigued – I think this comic has potential to be a fantastic read. There’s some slight hesitation there, but it’s definitely going to be at the top of the pile.

TAKE MY MONEY – Everything about this issue has me excited. If I don’t get to read this book on Wednesday, I will be furious. I would pay extra just to have it in my hands right now! That’s how much I’m looking forward to it!

And as a reminder, our review scale is based on a 10-point system. A rating of “5” means the book is mediocre/average, and the more toward “10″ we go, the more awesome/worth buying it is. The more toward “1″ we go the more awful/not worth buying it is. That’s how we rate things. It’s not like most video game review scores where everything under 8 is crap, and it’s not like a school report card where everything under a 7 is failing or close-to-failing. Please keep this in mind when reading our reviews.

JANUARY 5th

TAKE MY MONEY

Future State: The Next Batman #1
Gotham City has always been dangerous-but now, it’s downright deadly! Following the tragedy of “A-Day,” the mayor allowed the private law enforcement group known as the Magistrate to take over policing so-called mask crime-and that has given rise to a new Dark Knight! What is this mysterious crime fighter’s connection to former Batman weaponeer Lucius Fox? The fight for justice has never been this dangerous!

Then, in an new tale of the Outsiders, everything in Gotham City may be under the thumb of the Magistrate-but even members of that totalitarian force know that the outskirts of town are protected by the sword of Katana!

Plus, ride with the Arkham Knights on their quest for freedom. Arkham Asylum has been decommissioned, and the Magistrate rules the land with an iron fist and zero tolerance. Now it’s time for the lunatics to take back their town! Follow Croc, Two-Face, Phosphorus, Zsasz, Clayface, and Astrid Arkham as the Arkham Knights raise holy hell on the occupiers of Gotham!

Written by Paul Jenkins, Ken Kristensen, John Ridley, and Brandon Thomas
Pencils by Nick Derington, Jack Herbert, and Sumit Kumar
Inks by Nick Derington, Raul Fernandez, Travel Foreman, Jack Herbert, and Sumit Kumar
Colored by Jordie Bellaire, Tamra Bonvillain, and Gabe Eltaeb
Cover by LADRÖNN

Josh’s Stance: I’m excited about this because John Ridley is writing it. We got some hints of the direction he’ll be taking the story, and I think it will ultimately be a fresh, new, and different direction for the Batman mythos. The back-up stories also seem like they could be quite a bit of fun as well.

Batman News Critic: Nick

 

INTRIGUED

Generations Shattered #1
A threat of cosmic proportion to DC’s newest (and oldest) universe compels one of the most unusual groups of heroes ever assembled to take on the most mysterious foe they have ever encountered. What started in Detective Comics #1027 explodes out of Dark Nights: Death Metal to tell the story of the generations-spanning history of the DC Universe! Join the original Batman, Kamandi, Starfire, Sinestro, Booster Gold, Dr. Light, Steel, and Sinestro in their quest to save the universe before time runs out…

Written by Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, and Robert Venditti
Pencils by Doug Braithwaite, Bernard Chang, Dan Jurgens, Aaron Lopresti, Emanuela Lupacchino, and More…
Inks by Oclair Albert, Doug Braithwaite, Bernard Chang, Scott Hanna, Sandra Hope, and More…
Colored by Hi-Fi
Cover by Hi-Fi, Joe Prado, and Ivan Reis

Josh’s Stance: You’ll want to read Death Metal #7 before reading this, and while I’m not enjoying Death Metal, I am excited for this. More than anything, I just want to see these different characters from different timelines work off of one another.

Batman News Critic: Michael

 

MIXED

Future State: Harley Quinn #1
In a bold move that rocks Gotham City, the Magistrate has imprisoned Harley Quinn! The villain once known as the Scarecrow, now a pawn of the Magistrate, taps into Harley’s knowledge of Gotham’s villains and the Black Mask Gang for his own dark purposes. Crane and his bosses think they have Harley Quinn defeated and her spirit broken, but they are sorely mistaken-and Harley will have her revenge. Written by rising star writer Stephanie Phillips and drawn by fan-favorite artist Simone Di Meo, the next era of Harley Quinn begins here!

Written by Stephanie Phillips
Pencils and Inks by Simone Di Meo
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain
Cover by Derrick Chew

Josh’s Stance: The main reason I listed this under “Mixed” in the anticipation scale is strictly because I don’t know what to expect. Harley, as a character, is always hit and miss with me, and I don’t have any familiarity with Phillips, so… It’ll be interesting to see if this rises or falls for the next chapter.

Batman News Critic: Brian

 

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO THANK US”

Dark Nights: Death Metal #7
The song remains anything but the same as the house lights start to come up on DC’s biggest, baddest battle for control of the Multiverse! The Darkest Knight is on the verge of ending this concert once and for all, but Wonder Woman has more than just a greatest hit planned. The Amazonian warrior stands ready to shred the Darkest Knight, solo! Plus, this extra-sized finale issue includes not one but two mind-blowing epilogues that lead directly into the next phase of the DC Universe-and no fan will want to miss that!

Written by Scott Snyder
Pencils by Greg Capullo, Bryan Hitch, and Yanick Paquette
Inks by Jonathan Glapion, Bryan Hitch, and Yanick Paquette
Colored by Nathan Fairbairn, FCO Plascencia, and Alex Sinclair
Cover by Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia

Josh’s Stance: It’s finally ending. While I don’t think Death Metal has been egregiously bad, I do feel as though it’s been a slog because Snyder is doing too much. I’ve always said that Snyder is at his best when someone simplifies and focuses his story, and that idea is proven here…

Batman News Critic: Casper

 

GRAPHIC NOVEL WATCH

Batman: The Chalice – This new title collects the fully painted Batman graphic novel and more! It all starts with a mysterious delivery to Bruce Wayne that brings an array of villains to his doorstep, including Ra’s al Ghul, Catwoman, the Penguin, and an army of mercenaries. Their objective: to steal the ancient, seemingly unremarkable bowl now in the Dark Knight’s hands. Could this prize be the legendary Holy Grail? Plus, in Batman: The Ankh, when some of Gotham’s wealthiest citizens start vanishing without a trace along with some Egyptian artifacts, Batman traces the crimes to an immortal woman with a haunting past and a deadly agenda! This title collects the original graphic novel Batman: The Chalice and Batman: The Ankh #1 and 2.

 

Birds of Prey: Hero Hunters – After being paralyzed by the Joker, former Batgirl Barbara Gordon became Oracle and formed a crime-fighting team with other female heroes including the martial artist with a devastating sonic scream, Black Canary, the vigilante known as the Huntress and the mysterious Lady Blackhawk! In this collection, the team is shaken up as members depart and new teammates are added to the roster. Who will be asked to join Oracle in her all-new Birds of Prey? Who will refuse, and who will fly the coop for good? Collects BIRDS OF PREY #96-103.