FEAR STATE Part 1
Batman #112 serves as a recap of Batman and the Magistrate’s actions in Fear State Alpha. This is useful for readers who missed last week’s book but is a disappointment for readers looking to advance the plot. James Tynion IV provides more context for Simon Saint and ratchets the tension up for Batman and Gotham. Unfortunately, this pacing slows the momentum built after Fear State Alpha.
By: DC Comics
Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Jorge Jimenez
Colors by: Tomeu Morey
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
James Tynion IV successfully kicked off his comic event in Fear State Alpha. The large cast of characters across the Batman family all have roles to play and conflicts to resolve. With Batman #112, Tynion focuses on Batman and Simon Saint. The Scarecrow is steps ahead of both of them. While this provides Batman and Saint with similar goals, Tynion emphasizes their different approaches. This stays true to the existing conflicts Tynion created between Batman and Saint in previous issues. Even though the narrative is barely advanced, Jorge Jimenez’s artwork compels a sense of tension that provides momentum to the page.
Story & Continuity
Fear State Alpha gave readers a jumping-in point for the current storyline. Batman #112 gives readers a reminder of that storyline. This issue shows how Batman escaped the Scarecrow. Furthermore, it shows the impact of a fear toxin-induced Peacekeep-01. But it also spends significant panels recapping Alpha. Tynion does provide further context around Simon Saint and his Magistrates. This aligns well with the threads Tynion created leading into this event. However, the majority of the dialog barely moves the plot forward. Peacekeeper-01 attacks citizens of Gotham and Saint creates an enhanced, off-the-books Peacekeeper-X to hunt Peacekeeper-01. Batman calls for Ghost-Maker’s help even as half of Poison Ivy offers refugee to the Unsanity Collective. Unfortunately, Batman #112 does more to remind readers of all of them than offer any progress for this story.
Comparatively, the backup Clownhunter story by Brandon Thomas and Howard Jason feels fast-paced after the recap of the main story. Clownhunter is attacked by Scarecrow, and the story begins at the end of the battle. Brandon Thomas’ story successfully reminds the reader who Clownhunter is and depicts the dangers of the Scarecrow’s new toxin. It may eventually feel like an afterthought as the main Fear State event picks up momentum again. But for now, it provides an opportunity to highlight a smaller member of Gotham’s crime fighters.
Artist Jorge Jimenez and colorist Tomeu Morey are the highlights of this issue. Jimenez’s portrayal of a fear-induced Batman starts the issue off with a strong sense of tension. Morey maintains that tension through the haunting use of color and shadow. Saint’s passion and obsession are violently displayed. The silhouetted attack of Peacekeeper-01 retains the haunting and violent mood of Fear State.
Batman #112 treads water. While the artwork is beautiful and haunting, the narrative barely moves forward. Hopefully, James Tynion IV can regain momentum for this event as it moves forward.