Future State kicked off with a bang this week as Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 ushered in a sprawling possible future, one that changes up the status quo in Gotham quite a bit. The city is now under the control of a private security force known as The Magistrate, who have outlawed all masks in the city, but that isn't keeping heroes and villains alike from pushing back and stepping in. As we learned in The Next Batman #1, that includes a certain villain who originated in Batman: Arkham Knight, who made their grand return to the comics after some time away.
The final story in The Next Batman begins with several people attempting to take out a Magistrate Drone, though they are discovered by Magistrate forces after things go awry. They are saved however by Clayface, who charges in and gives them time to escape, but he's not alone. We then see Clayface is part of a team led by the Arkham Knight, who hasn't been seen since being introduced to the comics world in an earlier Detective Comics story and being dropped off at Arkham (she made her debut in Detective Comics #1000).
Arkham Knight, otherwise known as Astrid Arkham, has her sword and shield in hand and leads a team labeled the Knights of Arkham (I mean, makes sense right?). The team includes Harvey Dent (Two-Face), Humpty Dumpty, Clayface, Dr. Phosophorus, Mr. Zsasz, and later Killer Croc, and they are quite the imposing squad.
As the lineup suggests, the team came together after the fall of Arkham, and while we don't know exactly what happened at Arkham, we do know courtesy of the description of Nightwing #1 that it was pretty bad, which is why the Magistrate is shocked when they discover Astrid's team came from there.
Arkham Knight requires loyalty from her team, and gives them the choice to swear allegiance. After some convincing (and saving Croc from the Magistrate) Croc joins up, and Astrid is also trying to find a cure for Dr. Phosophorus, who is in great pain throughout the issue. In the absence of Batman, this group might just be Gotham's best hope, which should tell you how bad things have become.
You can check out the official description for The Next Batman #1 below.
"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!"
The Next Batman #1 is in comic stores now, and let us know what you thought of the issue in the comics or as always you can talk all things comics with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!