The Gotham parts of Future State have been…fine? Some have been bad, a couple have been good, but so far my favorites have been the fun ones. Which is exactly what Future State: Catwoman #1 is. It’s another bad future. Catwoman’s got a train to heist. Gotta get into it, get through it. “There will always be strays.”
I have been enjoying the current Catwoman run, which was a big reason I wanted to read this issue, and I’m happy that it doesn’t seem to be tied into the narrative being told there. There are thematic similarities, and the tone fits with what’s happened so far, but there wasn’t really anything in particular that wouldn’t have made sense to someone jumping on here. Hopefully, this means people jump onto the main book in March, because it’s really really good and everyone should be enjoying it!
I think the major realization I’ve had reading this issue is that Ram V’s voice for Selina is exactly what I want. Her actual dialogue “sounds” great, but even beyond that, the tone of the series and the specific stories being told are as definitively Selina Kyle as any I’ve seen or read. It strikes a difficult line of allowing her to be her own character off in her own corner while also showing how important the wide world of Gotham is to her and her to it. Ram V has found a really interesting position for her to be in, and can seemingly sell it in any scenario and with any team at his side.
As for the art, I am not sure any artist alive would be as welcome to a series as Otto Schmidt. He can nail down any character’s “look” without being ridiculous, and his acting is as good as anyone else’s. The highlight here for me, though, is the restraint throughout the issue.
Schmidt is a fantastic artist, and easily could pull off big spectacular set pieces, but this issue is paced in such a way that he only really gets to cut loose on a few of the pages later in the issue. That may sound like a complaint, but it really helped to build the issue so that the action felt important rather than repetitive. It made the action hit harder and land better than if it was simply a long action scene, and ultimately served the story better.
I think my favorite example in the issue of this is the double page spread. Normally I prefer them to be a big, audacious, visual statement, but here it’s very decidedly not that. It basically acts as an exposition dump, getting all that done quickly so we can get on with it. It’s a study in pacing and story structure over spectacle, all while still being stylish, and smartly doing things like giving Selina and her motorcycle plenty of space so the reader can recognize them later. It’s a great example of writer and artist working together to tell the story as efficiently and effectively as possible.
What maybe the real highlight of the issue, though, is on the final page. A few different reveals happen there, but one in particular has me extremely excited because I know the creative team has something cool and interesting cooked up for it. With the high bar that they set here, I fully expect that the next issue will use the ideas presented here in a clever and entertaining way, but more than that, I am personally very excited to see where it goes. The next issue easily has the chance to be my favorite of Future State with how this one laser targeted my interests.
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