Warning! Spoilers for Future State: Gotham #1 ahead!
Red Hood has always been the Bat Family’s black sheep since his resurrection. His long and tumultuous relationship with Batman often casts him in a negative light, especially compared to his predecessor in the role of Robin, Nightwing. While comparisons between Dick Grayson and Jason Todd abound, Red Hood’s next mission in Future State: Gotham #1 is something uniquely suited to him, and a task Nightwing could never do.
As the dark future of Future State: Gotham #1, by Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver and Giannis Milonogiannis, has come to pass, the Magistrate has declared war on both Gotham’s infamous super villains, and the remaining members of the Bat Family. While most of Batman’s allies have remained vigilantes and waged opposition to the Magistrate and its Peacekeeper force, Red Hood has actually thrown in his lot with the Peacekeepers and adopted the persona of Peacekeeper Red. After the reports emerge stating that New Batman has destroyed Gotham’s narrows district, Red Hood sets out to hunt him down, but with a surprising twist, Red Hood is actually working from within the Peacekeepers to bring down the Magistrate.
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This is not the first time a member of the Bat Family alienates themselves from the group, as Nightwing himself did during cowriters Tom King and Tim Seely and artist Mikel Janin’s Grayson run. In Grayson, Dick Grayson has shed his Nightwing moniker and faked his own death to enter the elusive Spyral espionage organization and feed information back to Batman. Being a double agent was hard on Nightwing, as he often found that doing the right thing and staying true to his mission were often at odds and forced him to make hard choices (and pretending to have distanced himself from Batman, the family, and the no-kill rule). The hardest part for Nightwing was by far having to distance himself from the family to ensure that Spyral remained unaware of his true motivations for joining the organization.
Now as Red Hood infiltrates the Magistrate’s Peacekeeper force, he finds himself in a similar situation. He is largely alone and has to pretend to remain loyal to the Magistrate while secretly working within it to bring down the oppressive pseudo-government. Red Hood solidified his cover and ensured his access to the Magistrate by burning his bridges with the Bat Family. He’s lied to them and driven a wedge so deep between them that Nightwing isn’t sure if he can trust Red Hood anymore. His commitment to his role as a double agent, while isolating him from his allies and resources, is contingent on how far he is willing to go to sell the illusion that he is no longer allied to the Bat Family. While Nightwing was able to successfully able to misdirect Spyral and keep them from scrutinizing his relationship with the Bat Family, Red Hood has gone farther and insulated himself from scrutiny by antagonizing the Bat Family while he works from the shadows to take down the Magistrate on his terms.
Nightwing may have already acted as a double agent during his time in Spyral, but now Red Hood steps up to bat to bring down the Magistrate. While Nightwing was ultimately an effective double agent, Future State: Gotham has seen Red Hood go one step further to shield his true motives and work for the benefit of the Bat Family and all of Gotham, even if the family currently thinks that he’s betrayed them for the last time.
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