SPOILER WARNING for Future State: Justice League #2!
Many Batman fans would argue that Bruce Wayne can win any fight with enough prep time, and honestly, he’s proven that theory right more often than not. As a member of the Justice League, the Dark Knight is constantly taking on enemies much more powerful than himself, so he often has to rely on strategic thinking to come out on top. This forces Batman to imagine how villains will think and behave so that he can use their own actions against them. This ability to enter a villain’s mindset helps keep the Caped Crusader a few moves ahead, even allowing him to defeat enemies as powerful as Darkseid. While this technique isn’t commonly used by other heroes, Batman’s Future State successor has just shown that he, too, shares this ability.
Tim Fox takes over the mantle of Batman in DC’s future and so far he’s proven himself a worthy replacement for Bruce Wayne. Throughout his own series, Future State: The Next Batman, the new hero has had his hands full fighting the Magistrate, a heavily militarized police force dedicated to taking down Gotham’s vigilantes. With some advanced technology, impressive fighting skills, and quick thinking, Tim has shown a knack for heroics, despite being so new to the scene. After managing to save Gotham, Tim follows further in the original Batman’s footsteps by joining a new Justice League, one filled with new renditions of existing characters.
Future State: Justice League #2, by Joshua Williamson, Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, and Romulo Fajardo Jr., pits the new League against a group of White Martians called the Hyperclan. After the aliens murdered T.O. Morrow and Professor Ivo’s new Legion of Doom in the previous issue, they capture the Justice League and exile the heroes to a distant planet. With the team gone, the White Martians begin initiating their plans to enslave the entire human race. As the Justice League tries to find a way back, they start to grow suspicious of one another, as the Hyperclan had disguised themselves as the team’s members to defeat them. After the League identifies some ways to distinguish their allies from the Martians, Flash shares their speed powers with the others, allowing them all to make a leap back home.
Once the Justice League arrives back on Earth, they use what they’ve learned about one another in a battle against the White Martians. As the dust settles and most of the doppelgängers have been defeated, however, the heroes notice that the real Flash and Batman are missing. Aquawoman rushes into the Hall of Justice and finds two versions of the Flash fighting each other. Thanks to her close connection with Flash, she identifies the copycat and shoots a water blast that knocks the alien back. Refusing to stand down, the final White Martian prepares to attack, but is cut short by Batman, who blasts him with a flamethrower, exploiting the Martian’s weakness to fire. When Flash asks where the weapon came from, Tim responds, “I deduced that T.O. Morrow and Professor Ivo must have had a plan when they released the White Martians. Something to contain them. While you were fighting, I found it.” With that, the Hyperclan is defeated and the day is saved.
Batman’s final action in this battle shows that he can predict villains, just like Bruce Wayne did before him. By simply picturing what sort of precautions T.O. Morrow and Professor Ivo would take before freeing the White Martians, Tim gains a huge advantage and ends up delivering the battle’s final blow. This ability makes the new Batman a vital addition to the team. Green Lantern Jo Mullein has already proven that she’s a better detective than Tim, so it’s good that he still has something to bring to the table.
Although entering a villain’s headspace can be great for strategic planning, Bruce Wayne has shown that this line of thinking can also be quite dangerous. In stories like Batman: War Games and Tower of Babel some of the Batman’s darker contingency plans get used without his knowledge, resulting in some serious consequences. Overall, Tim Fox will have to learn how to prevent himself from going too far when using this tactic if he wants to avoid the same mistakes as the hero who came before him.