Warning! Spoilers ahead for Future State: Dark Detective #3 from Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora
DC’s Future State has revealed dark days ahead for Bruce Wayne’s Batman and now he’s discovered his enemy’s plans, which bear a striking resemblance to the plans of the MCU’s Hydra in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With the oppressive Magistrate having turned the city of Gotham into a fascist police state, vigilantes and the act of wearing a mask for any reason has become a major crime punishable by immediate execution by the Magistrate’s elite “Peacekeepers”. Now, Bruce Wayne has become the Dark Detective in the wake of his supposed death by their hands, and he’s just learned a terrible truth about the Magistrate’s operations.
Thanks to the efforts of the Magistrate, Bruce Wayne becomes Public Enemy Number One after the organization takes over Gotham as its security and police force, somehow having the knowledge that Wayne and Batman are one and the same. While Wayne manages to fake his own death by their hands, he chooses to let the rest of the world believe that both he and his Batman persona have died. He takes on a new identity as the Dark Detective, waging a one-man war and investigation into the Magistrate’s secretly corrupt and illicit activities in Gotham, hoping to eventually take down their entire operation for good.
In Future State: Dark Detective #3 from writer Mariko Tamaki with art by Dan Mora, Bruce Wayne manages to get ahold of one of the Magistrate’s various patrolling surveillance drones, taking it back to the small apartment he’s living in to stay off the Magistrate’s radar (right after his first run-in with the Next Batman Tim Fox). Upon hacking into the drone’s systems, Bruce manages to get access to the Magistrate’s network, discovering that the organization’s surveillance expands far beyond what the former Dark Knight ever thought it would.
The Magistrate is always watching, and they’re quite literally looking at everything at the same time as Bruce discovers that the Magistrate has thousands of cloaked drones airborne at all times. The army of drones provide a constant stream of information, which allows the Magistrate to then send in its Peacekeepers to eliminate any threats or even simply undesirables that might threaten their power and hold over the city. This is not unlike the plans Hydra had with Project Insight, which saw Hydra using a complex surveillance algorithm to determine any present and future threats to their goals, co-opting SHIELD’s new helicarriers that would have fired down and eliminated them at a moment’s notice had Captain America not exposed and defeated them. It’s also resonant of George Orwell’s 1984 and his vision of a complete surveillance state where privacy was but a thing of the past.
By the issue’s end, Bruce Wayne is horrified by how much power the Magistrate wields, just like Captain America was horrified by Hydra’s plan. Fearing that he’s never been safe, the Dark Detective soon finds himself face to face with a legion of drones, ready to detonate should the Magistrate desire it. With the sheer amount of knowledge and surveillance power the Magistrate has, is it even possible for the former Batman to succeed in taking them down on his own? Future State fans will just have to wait and see as the series continues.