Future State Gotham #4
DC Comics 2021
Written by Dennis Culver
Illustrated by Nikola Čižmešija
Lettered by Troy Peteri
“Hunt the Batman” continues as Punchline prowls Gotham searching for the one thing she needs before leaving the city forever! The only person standing in her way is a revenge-fueled Harley Quinn! And just when things couldn’t get any worse, the brand-new hero Hunter Panic comes for them both!
This issue blew me away. My personal opinion of Punchline means nothing in the long run, she’s a throwaway character who gets too much attention right now--see I told you, aside this really is about Harley and introducing us to Hunter Panic. Of course it is also the ending that really grabs your attention with the prospect of what is to come. Harley made the transition from Animated Series to comics to continuity very naturally and has become something of a stable, not mentally mind you, anti-hero and her love affair with Poison Ivy has become the stuff of legend. For me this is more about Harley and the new character who now that’s she’s been introduced I have to learn more about. If Jason and Rose left hunting in Gotham and she’s the premiere hunter then we need a spotlight issue.
I am thrilled by the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceedingly well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter. These continue to flesh these characters out magnificently I might add. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing more and more of the story it generates this great sense of excitement and electricity.
I am rather enjoying the way that we see this being structured and how the layers within the story emerge and grow. Now the layers here contain the good strong bits of characterisation and plot twists but also some great forethought moments as well. What all these add to the story are some great depth, dimension and complexity to the proceedings. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is achieved exceptionally well.
I am a huge fan of the interior artwork here. The black & white style is the most unforgiving, it has a tendency to show every single flaw as much as it does highlight the good work, so to see it done with such zeal is amazing. The linework is fantastic and how the varying weights and techniques are being utilised to create the detail work that we see throughout the book is stunning. I’m a big fan of the way we see backgrounds utilised throughout the book as well, since they expand and enhance the moments beautifully. They also work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. Also I’m pretty impressed with all the gray tones that we see throughout as well. The overall illustrative package here is extraordinary to see.
There’s also a really cute silent action sequence in the back of the book that’s pretty impressive as well, it’s almost like a silent film until the very last panel. For a future Gotham story we’re seeing pretty much the same gang right so while we’re waiting for someone new to show up, there’s Hunter Panic, we’re teased by the last page and if this new character is much worse than their namesake I cannot wait to see the sheer chaos and havoc this one will create.
With some pretty sensational writing and sharp witty dialogue alongside these phenomenal interiors is why this book is so gosh darn good.