For me, the “Future’s End” storyline has been a swing and a miss. Though I was very happy to see Terry McGinnis become part of the Batman canon, there seems to be too much going on. With Brother Eye’s assimilation of everything, Brainiac’s imminent return, and a masked Superman revealed to be Captain Marvel, I was craving something far more simple. Thus, I was very pleased when I read this one shot “Future’s End” issue in “Detective Comics.”The story starts five years after the main “New 52” continuity, as Calendar Man threatens to blackout Gotham (using the Riddler’s plans from “Zero Year”) unless the man who ruined his life is delivered to him. Calendar Man has taken over Arkham Asylum with the help of the inmates. Batman has to seek out the Riddler’s help to infiltrate Arkham.
When it comes to “Batman” in all its mediums there are three things that I love to see: 1. Older Bruce Wayne, 2. Batman teams up with a villain, 3. Really awesome Batsuit. This issue delivered on all three points.
I’ve loved the “Older Bruce Wayne” idea since I saw the first episode of “Batman Beyond” as a kid and I have since preferred this character. “Older Bruce Wayne” was wiser, more tactical, but also a lot more brutal, as if years of crime-fighting had changed him, making him more apt to use greater force than necessary (i.e. Dark Knight Returns, Batman Beyond). This issue did a great job in making the reader feel that this was a more mature Bruce Wayne, making decisions that his younger self would not consider. “Old Bruce” also needs a different gear in order to continue his work, which results in awesome high tech Batsuits (once again Dark Knight Returns, Batman Beyond). The suit here seems to be plated and actually bears an uncanny resemblance to the Batsuit in the upcoming “Arkham Knight” video game. Take a look…
That being said, it is the depiction of the Riddler, and his interaction with Batman that made this issue great. The Riddler’s popularity has suffered in modern comic books for one reason, he always has the same gimmick. The one exception to this was when he reforms and becomes a private detective solving crimes alongside the Dark Knight (starting in Detective Comics Vol 1 #822). It was actually a very fresh and interesting idea until the writers decided (rather quickly) to make him a villain again. I believe this issue does a very good job in bringing back this particular duo. The interactions between the two is perfect: Nygma posing stupid riddles about their various predicaments, much to Batman’s annoyance. Clearly there is chemistry here and I hope that the “New 52” will develop Riddler’s potential as an untrustworthy ally to Batman.
All in all, I loved this issue of “Detective Comics”, and I do not say that lightly. It was fresh, fun, and pleasantly simple. Batman/Villain team-ups are a gold mine that DC has really started to explore in the “New 52”, and hopefully it continues. Pick this issue up if you’re a Riddler fan.
CBH Score: 8/10