Written by: Ray Fawkes
Art by: Dustin Nguyen
Batman and Robin: Futures End is a clear tie in to the current Futures End crossover event as well as being involved in the month-wide event. The book answers the question that’s been on the mind of every Dark Knight fan; Who is the new Robin? We get to peek into the events of the protagonist’s adventures five years from now and see what they are doing and how they have evolved.
From the first page we are introduced to the new Robin fighting crime. The events of the issue are Batman getting attacked by someone dressed as The Heretic, and doing his best to stay alive. Tension arises as he tries to uncover if this is the person who actually murdered his son.
Ray Fawkes does a great job of placing us in the future with little context without leaving us confused. The main problem with this event is that it addresses situations that influence the characters that we have no idea about, which leaves the reader confused to what is happening. Fawkes avoids this by smartly only addressing events from their past that we are familiar with. We don’t get much of the new Robin, but we get enough to understand him. Though he is a little exposition heavy about himself , he feels natural and not forced into the narrative.
The story echoes the death of Damian Wayne and how his death still haunts Bruce. It’s done with great subtlety as we are not spoon-fed how it affects him, but how we see it influence his apprehensive actions on The Heretic. This gives a lot of weight to how tragedy is still a part of Batman without making it feel recycled from the past.
Dustin Nguyen does a good job on art. His future Batman is reminiscent of The Dark Knight Returns costume which is a great nod to what may be in store further on. I’m mixed on the new Robin costume, it looks appropriate for the character and while still keeping with the history of the costume. But, it is too high-tech to the point where it’s a little silly. He uses a lot of shadows which keeps the tone dismal and creates a better sense of atmosphere. The action sequences are really strong and have a great sense of weight to them. Rather than do a splash page of a battle, he has most of the battle on small panels. It keeps it feeling confined and gives it a stronger sense of progression. Nguyen’s art does suffer greatly in terms of the background. Many panels have non-existent backgrounds, and it definitely feels like something is missing. More detail would’ve made the book more engaging.
Batman and Robin: Futures End is a fascinating look into the progression of the title characters. I only hope that there is an upcoming payoff. It’s interesting to see how this new Robin will come into play in the future.