Today's The Next Batman #2 goes to the near future of Gotham by also bringing back something from its past. As the superhero speakeasy of Gotham, hidden from the prying eyes of The Magistrate, and run by one Slam Bradley.
A senior executive at DC Comics once shared with me that they had no idea why it was that creators wanted to keep bringing back Slam Bradley. The hardboiled private detective was the lead character in Detective Comics #1, created by Superman's creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, back in 1937, and published two years before Batman came along. But he is also notable for a number of blatantly racist stories back in the day, so much so that DC Comics had to cancel the Detective Comics Before Batman collection as a result.
The character has popped up a few times, over the decades, such as Detective Comics #500 joining other veteran DC detectives, such as Jason Bard, Pow-Wow Smith, Roy Raymond, the Human Target, and Mysto, Magician Detective in solving the murder of a fellow retiring detective.
The character returned again in Detective Comics #572 (the 50th-anniversary issue), teaming up with detectives Batman, Robin, Elongated Man, and Sherlock Holmes.
Slam Bradley also appeared in the Superman titles in the 1990s, working for the Metropolis Police Department. However, this incarnation of the character was short-lived. When an older Slam Bradley later appeared in Detective Comics, it was explained that the Metropolis character was Slam Bradley Jr.
In 2001, Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke revived the character in Detective Comics as a former police officer in his late 50s who has always worked in Gotham City. Bradley then appeared regularly in the Catwoman series, with his son, Sam Bradley Jr, in the police, and Sam Jr. and Catwoman in a relationship, with Selina giving birth to Helena Kyle, later given up for adoption.
All that was wiped away by the New 52. The character was revived at DC in New Super Man a couple of years ago in a false reality sequence – in pretty much the same fashion as he originally appeared, though in a way intended to be rather critical of the character.
And in Detective Comics #1000, establishing The Guild Of Detectives in Gotham.
Then again the last year's DC Crimes of Passion.
But in today's The Next Batman #2, he has his own bar. Visited by Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Dee-Dee, and all manner of costumed characters.
It's a bit of a Super Hero Happy Hour or No Heroics system. No one gets up to any naughtiness – or goody-two-shoesness – while in the premises.
Will that keep everyone safe? Not really. Especially not Slam Bradley.
Seriously, Slam Bradley, you've been a pulp fiction character for almost a hundred years, you know you can't go around saying things like that.
FUTURE STATE THE NEXT BATMAN #2 (OF 4) CVR A LADRONN
(W) John Ridley – Vita Ayala – Paula Sevenbergen (A) Laura Braga – Aneke – Emanuela Lupacchino (CA) Ladronn
In this second Future State: Batman chapter, wearing a mask in Gotham City is now a crime—and when it's compounded with murder, it can be a shoot-on-sight offense! Batman is on the trail of a murderous couple but quickly finds that all is not as it seems…and finds himself in the firing line of the Magistrate and their Peacekeepers! The gritty, street-level adventures of the new Dark Knight continue! Also in this issue, Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown find themselves in a prison where the Magistrate throws heroes and villains alike! What no one knows, though, is that Cassandra was sent there with a mission… And in a story of the Gotham City Sirens, some girls just want to have fun—so what do you do when you find Gotham City in turmoil and overrun by Cybers? You go shopping, of course! Join Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and a new Siren on a gal's night out. They're on the town, looking for trouble…and finding it! This title is fully returnable at a later date.
Retail: $7.99 Initial Due Date: 11/27/2020 FOC Date: 12/13/2020 In-Store Date: 01/19/2021