Batman Fear State Alpha #1 (Review)

Sep 1, 2021

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BATMAN FEAR STATE ALPHA

Batman Fear State is a comic event pulling the threads of James Tynion IV’s Batman run, and the potential Gotham DC set up in Future State. Like DC’s Infinite Frontier #0, Fear State Alpha sets up the players and conflicts for this event. With all the pieces in play, Fear State looks to leave an impact on the Bat-family and all of Gotham.

By: DC Comics

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Riccardo Federici
Colors by: Chris Sotomayor
Letters by: Clayton Cowles

James Tynion IV’s Batman Fear State Alpha has a lot of moving parts and characters. Consequently, the book jumps from plot line to plot line to set up the comic event. The Scarecrow terrorizes Batman. Harley Quinn is tracking down Poison Ivy. Catwoman is protecting Poison Ivy. Oracle’s network is taken over. Simon Saint’s Magistrates makes a move for power and control in Gotham. And those are just the main threads. Other characters get a few panels to introduce their role in this event—all leading to a Batman crossover that involves most of the related titles.

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Story & Continuity

Batman Fear State Alpha centers on the Scarecrow and Simon Saint’s plan to expose Gotham to a state of fear that will allow the citizens to evolve and move beyond their fears. Gotham becomes a giant experiment for Dr. Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow. Tynion’s use of Dr. Crane corresponds nicely with the current season of HBO Max’s Titans. Furthermore, this is the return of the Scarecrow after being presumed dead during the Joker’s A-Day event.

While there are plot threads that casual readers may be unaware of, Tynion introduces each well and provides enough detail for a new reader. However, readers with additional context in current Batman titles will make deeper connections. Readers who knew of the Magistrate’s takeover of Gotham from Future State finally get a glimpse of how it occurred. James Tynion IV’s run in Batman built to this moment through his previous event, Joker War, and his monthly title. Furthermore, Tynion’s inclusion of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown continue his efforts to highlight others in the Bat-family. Jace Fox, Future State’s Batman, has just started his crime-fighting, and his series will tie into Fear State as well.

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Artwork

Artist Riccardo Federici, DC’s The Last God, creates realistic characters and faces. Though occasionally, their features are inconsistent. Chris Sotomayor’s colors provide a haunting mood and haze throughout Gotham that fits the story’s tone.

Fear state

Batman Fear State Alpha is a good jumping-off point for Tynion’s comic event. All the players are on the board, and there are numerous plot threads to develop and resolve. Batman fans, both current and lapsed, have something to connect with within this event. The next few months and multiple titles will tell if they leave satisfied.

Score 8.6

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