Chapter 2: A Sign
Bruce Wayne is supposed to be dead…but this Dark Detective is on the run and shining a light on the mystery of his own “murder”: How did the killers know Bruce Wayne was Batman? As the forces of the Magistrate zero in on Bruce’s location, it’s a race against time to unlock the secrets of their surveillance tech and take the fight to the very top! But is the knowledge that Bruce’s own legacy helped to enable the greatest authoritarian force the city of Gotham has ever seen too much to bear? Also in this issue, Jason Todd is a haunted man. He’s working a job he hates on the violent streets of Gotham City as a mask hunter for the Magistrate! He takes contracts to catch villains-or heroes-and brings them in alive-mostly. But when the Red Hood gang reemerges, Jason must solve a mystery that could doom the city.DCCOMICS.COM official solicitation
This is more like it. We start to get some answers and context to how ‘Future State’ has had an impact on Gotham. It is revealed that is has been two years since Bruce Wayne was presumed dead, shot in a back alley by Peacekeeper 01. Peacekeeper 01 is the head of the Magistrate, the shadowy force that is now policing Gotham’s street under order of the Mayor, and seems to have way more knowledge of Bruce/Batman than he should. Bruce survived by chance and has been living of the grid while trying to solve his own murder.
Bruce is now going by the name ‘Jeff’ while living in the basement of a conspiracy theorist but still patrolling the streets at night on a motorbike while wearing a stripped down version of the Bat-suit. His look is very similar to how he appeared in ‘Zero Hour’, another story where he has to rely on his skills rather than his money. We are back to the basics of the character and this story, like the title of the book, focuses more Bruce the detective than Bruce the superhero/vigilante. Like all classic detective stories, the key is to follow the money and that money leads him all the way to three companies that didn’t exist before the Joker War.
The conspiracy goes deeper when Bruce captures a micro drone that is following him. Upon examination it is Wayne Enterprises technology that he was warned not to create. Has Bruce caused his own downfall? Are these drone how the Magistrate knows everything and how long have they been tracking him?
Probably the best story of this event, Tamaki has created a compelling mystery which is promising as she is taking over ‘Detective Comics’ once ‘Future State’ is over
The second story is about were Red Hood fits into this ‘Future State’ world. Joshua Williamson tells an entertaining story of how Jason is now a vigilante hunter working for the Magistrate. It starts with him receiving a call to track down the Vigilante (a bit on the nose) and ends with the same call going out on himself. The set up is taken straight from ‘Minority Report’ where the hunter, who works for the system, becomes the hunted and the only one who can bring it down.
It is also an examination of how extreme the situation can get. In ‘Future State’ wearing a mask is illegal, unless you work for the Magistrate, and lethal force is allowed to be used on anyone caught doing so. Jason is trying his hardest to keep people alive and protect Gotham vigilante community from the inside but his girlfriend, Rose Wilson, is fully prepared to cut people down in the street for breaking the rules even if they are doing it to help the needy.
Jason has clearly been set-up for the system to turn against him but the question is by who. We are set up for an all action second part.