With Future State complete we are back to what is the new main DC Universe. One of the first comic books that will be setting the table for the new DC Universe is James Tynion’s Batman. While Tynion will be continuing his run where he last left of there are a lot of things that have happened since the last issue of the main Batman series. For one we have Dark Nights: Death Metal that brough all of the continuity of the DC Universe back into play, that includes the Batman Family entire 80+ year history. On top of that the Future State comic books involving the Batman Family established that in the present DC Universe we will be seeing the Magistrate rise up in the wake of “Joker War.” With all of that now in play how will Tynion develop the stories already in motion for his Batman run? Let’s find out with Batman #106.
Writers: James Tynion (Batman: The Cowardly Lot); Joshua Williamson (Robin: Demon or Detective)
Artists: Jorge Jimenez (Batman: The Cowardly Lot); Gleb Melnikov (Robin: Demon or Detective)
Colorist: Tomeu Morey (Batman: The Cowardly Lot)
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Inside an emergency room of a torn-up hospital Scarecrow has captured Bruce Wayne and covered him in restraints while forcing him to watch countless TV screens. Bruce does his best to fight off the effects of the drugs Scarecrow put in him and everything he is being forced to watch.
Scarecrow enters calling to Batman and talking about how natural it is to succumb to fear as it is part of the evolution process. Scarecrow decides to show Batman by injecting him with his new fear toxin.
Flashing back to some time in the past Batman races through Gotham City in his newly modified Batmobile, which Oracle (Barbara Gordon) calls Bruce out for not being as safe. Batman quickly asks Oracle about what the Unsanity Collective’s latest target was. Oracle says that they stole $36 million worth of painting from Atchison Cole (CEO and owner of the Gotham Gazette).
As they talk Oracle views the latest video the Unsanity Collective have released talking about the fall of Arkham Asylum (events that take place during the Batman segments of Infinite Frontier #0) and calling for people to join their organization as part of the New Gotham City.
Elsewhere the Unsanity Collective, flying a massive drone, contact Miracle Molly to inform her that Batman is on their tail. Miracle Molly tells her crew to stay strong as Batman doesn’t see things like they do.
Batman is finally able to catch up to the Unsanity Collective and hands over control of the Batmobile to Oracle since it only has remote steering after his modifications. Batman then grapple lines up to the drone.
While Batman takes on the Unsanity Collective on the drone Ghost-Maker finally appears after Oracle started contacting him thirty minutes ago for help. Ghost-Maker makes quick work of the Unsanity Collective members driving motorcycles.
Batman and Ghost-Maker meet up at Robinson Park and leave the Unsanity Collective members they captured for the GCPD to find. Batman then uses one of the Unsanity Collective’s walkie talkie’s to tell Miracle Molly he is going to stop them all. Miracle Molly reminds Batman that the GCPD are also after him. Batman and Ghost-Maker then take off before the GCPD arrive.
Elsewhere Harley Quinn arrives to a crime scene too late. This leaves Harley Quinn wondering how the Batman Family are able to afford all their equipment without robbing banks.
Over at Saint Industries in Midtown Gotham City, Simon Saint is giving a presentation where he talks about his history as someone who rose to prominence in Silicon Valley but returned to Gotham City because he looked up to Thomas Wayne. Saint goes on to talk about how people view Gotham City as a horrible city that is in the constant grip of madmen by the rest of the world.
Saint then asks Mayor Nakano how the police have failed to thwart a major super-villain attack without Batman’s help. Mayor Nakano tries to say its because Batman never gave them a chance but Saint believes otherwise. Saint goes on to present Mayor Nakano with the Magistrate Program that features a group of five specially chosen Peacekeepers to stop all the villain attacks for good and rebuild Gotham City to the metropolitan city it should be. Mayor Nakano thanks Saint for his compelling presentation and says he will talk with his advisors about the Magistrate Program.
On a rooftop across Saint Industries headquarters Scarecrow is shown perched watching the meeting between Saint and Mayor Nakano.
Over at the Fort Graye neighborhood in Gotham City Bruce Wayne’s new landlord (Edmund E. Potter) yells at a reporter trying to get Bruce to come out of his new house for an interview. Edmund tells the reporter that he hopes that for once Bruce will actually make an effort to be part of the community.
Under his Bruce’s house, in a mini-garage, Ghost-Maker calls Bruce out for what he is currently passing off as a Batcave these days. Bruce reveals that with his current situation and where Gotham City is at that he is focusing on having several small Batcaves across the city and this Batcave they are in is just a garage.
Ghost-Maker is able to get on Bruce’s nerves enough to get him to spare. As he gets ready for the sparring session Bruce mentions the names of Allen Granville (CEO of he Gotham Broadcast System), Michael Shay (co-owner of the Gotham News Network), Victoria Hart (heir to the Gotham Globe publishing fortune), Wydham Mark (owner of WXGC Radio), and Atchison Cole as targets that the Unsanity Collective have targeted.
While they spare Bruce and Ghost-Maker talk about how the Unsanity Collective targeting these media moguls will only heighten tension in Gotham City after the events at Arkham Asylum. Bruce believes someone is using the Unsanity Collective to create greater fear in the city.
At the Mayor’s Mansion, Nakano is dropped off by his security team. As he prepares a drink for himself Mayor Nakano watches the news report on the Unsanity Collective clash with Batman. The new report questions which madman will attack Gotham City next.
As Mayor Nakano silently drinks Scarecrow’s costume is shown hanging right behind him.
Meanwhile at a Markovian hotel someone takes out a bunch of guards.
In her suite, Talia Al Ghul prepares some tea for herself. She then immediately calls out Damian Wayne for using the same theatrics as his father. Damian says he tried to live and learn under his father and the Batman Family but is now free from all that.
Damian comes out of the shadows in his new Robin costume and declares that he has returned to his mother to take back his role as the Heir to the Demon Throne. Talia hugs Damian and says she tried to respect his decision to be with his father but is disappointed he returned in defeat.
Damian says that is not the case but Talia reminds him that rather than proving he is a worthy adversary all Damian has done is run to his mother for help. Talia says she will pick Damian after his fall and return him to his nest but first must answer if the assassins are with him.
Suddenly assassins from the League of Lazarus appear and declare that they are there to test Talia and Damian. Damian and Talia waste no time in taking out the majority of the League of Lazarus assassins.
As they fight the leader of the League of Lazarus group captures Talia. Talia tells Damian to stop wasting time and kill the League of Lazarus assassin. Damian hesitates and suddenly blood is shown being spilled. End of issue.
The Good: Batman #106 is a strong example of how you set the tone for a series from the first page. James Tynion captures your attention with the chilling scene of Bruce Wayne covered in restraints from head-to-toe after being captured by Scarecrow. This opening scene immediately creates many questions as to how Scarecrow was able to do this and what is going on in Gotham City as a whole.
The chilling visual of Bruce Wayne completely overed by straps and being forced to watch video screens as Scarecrow injected him with fear toxin was a definite tone setter. It not only created concern for what is going on with Bruce but also immediately elevated Scarecrow back to the terrifying status the character has had in the past. Tynion went all in on making Scarecrow out to be a villain straight out of a horror movie. The way the character acts as he taunts Batman and how he appears in the flashback story the character had unsettling aura.
From that opening scene Tynion did a good job in having Scarecrow briefly appear as he is established as the main villain controlling what is going on in Batman #106. You get the vibe that Scarecrow has completely elevated his game to a new level not before seen. Which fits well with how it is being teased that he had something directly to do with A-Day. That idea is further pushed with the way he acts throughout Batman #106. The final scene with Scarecrow having his costume up in Mayor Nakano’s mansion cements how Scarecrow is set up to be a major villain moving forward.
The opening scene also worked to show how Bruce as Batman is currently unprepared to fight against Scarecrow and other threats he will now be facing. While he has been able to keep enough of his fortune to create several small Batcaves across Gotham City he is no longer operating as the most prepared superhero in the DC Universe. He is now working from the same point we saw him in stories like Batman: Year One and Zero Year.
Tynion pushes that idea further with the flashback story that takes up the majority of Batman #106. Through the chase scene involving the Unsanity Collective and the sparing session with Ghost-Maker we see a Bruce Wayne that is doing the best to work with what he’s got. Things like having to sacrifice certain things from his new Batmobile, like taking out safety features to make the car faster, is an example of how Bruce is trying to maintain the same level he was at when he had access to infinite resources as Batman.
This makes it even more important that Barbara Gordon returned to being Oracle to help Bruce out in his continuing mission as Batman. Barbara is one of the voices now that Alfred is not around that Bruce will at least listen to. Even though he avoids talking in-depth about all the modifications to his current equipment Tynion and Jorge Jimenez do a great job showing through Batman’s dialogue and facial reaction that Bruce understands Oracle’s concerns are extremely valid.
Oracle’s voice of reason is balanced out by Ghost-Maker’s more direct approach at calling out Bruce for trying to act like he is still a superhero with infinite resources. Tynion does a much better job writing Ghost-Maker during this scene than in his introduction as we do see how the character does provide a weird balance to Bruce’s current way of thinking. It’s a good spin on the normal dynamic we would see from Batman and Robin as Ghost-Maker talks to Bruce more as a equal because of their shared past.
At the same time, Tynion is able to take Bruce’s current situation to place an emphasis on how Batman is known as the world’s greatest detective. While he may not have all his resources anymore Bruce is still the best detective around and is now focusing even more on leveraging that maintain his normal status as Batman. It helps put over how Batman is still seen as the top-tier hero that can overcome what the villains in Gotham City may throw at him.
Batman’s current situation made the look into the beginnings of the Magistrate and Peacekeeper programs being presented to us much more fascinating. Given Batman’s current situation things are now open for a company like Saint Industries to manipulate the events of Joker War and A-Day to their advantage. The presentation that Simone Saint presented to Mayor Nakano was exactly the pitch you expect to hear from someone looking to take advantage of a situation to gain more power and money. It helps leverage what we saw the Magistrate Program turn into a tyrannical regime in Future State to create greater concern for the Batman Family in the future.
Tynion also did a great job in building up how the post-Joker War status quo has left things open for more criminals to rise up as full on supervillains. The Unsanity Collective were used well to get that idea over as there were major Jokerz Gang from Batman Beyond vibes to the way the villain group acted. While Batman and Ghost-Maker were able to take out the members of the Unsanity Collective seen in Batman #106 Tynion makes sure to show that there is someone greater in charge. While not a full-appearance we get enough from Miracle Molly’s appearance in this issue to look forward what she and the rest of the Unsanity Collective have planned for Gotham City.
The major wild card in all of this is Mayor Nakano. We already know that Mayor Nakano has a huge anti-vigilante mentality that have been further amplified by events like City of Bane and Joker War. Though he does not accept Saint Industries pitch you do get the sense that the Magistrate Program is exactly what Mayor Nakano is aiming for with his administration. How Scarecrow ends up likely further pushing him to that direction will be interesting to see play out.
Everything about Batman #106 main story is further elevated by Jorge Jimenez’s excellent artwork. Jimenez goes all in on the tech-noir style that Tynion is going for in the current Gotham City. This entire comic book looks like Gotham City has become a city similar to what we would see in movies like Blade Runner. Which further pushes the idea that we are headed more into seen the city turn more into the Neo Gotham state from the Batman Beyond cartoon. That includes things like the Unsanity Collective using a giant drone to fly through the city after stealing from one of Gotham City’s elite.
The Robin back-up by Joshua Williamson and Gleb Melnikov does a fantastic job at establishing where Damian Wayne is at this point in his life. Williamson wastes no time in addressing why Damian would go back to his mother, Talia Al Ghul, and is now wearing a new Robin costume that is a hybrid of his original Robin costume and his League of Assassins gear. Merging those two styles further pushes the idea that Damian will now be acting in an even more grayer area as he goes in between the Batman Family and League of Assassins way of thinking.
Williamson also did a great job writing Talia Al Ghul as a mother that both loves and looks down on her son. Talia does not mince words when it comes to calling Damian out on all his failures as she does view his return to her side as him crawling back like a baby. This was easily the best Talia has been written as she never hesitated with any of her words. Which made Damian’s new character arc even more interesting as we do see how he still has the internal struggle to either be like his father or grandfather.
The introduction of the League of Lazarus was effectively handled. Williamson does try to put over this new assassins group over with some long monologue. The League of Lazarus say that they are there to kill Damian and Talia and immediately proceed to attempt to do just that. It was simple but effective as Gleb Melnikov artwork put this group of assassins over as something to take seriously.
The Bad: The one part of Batman #106 that did not work was how Tynion only briefly mentions the events of A-Day seen in Infinite Frontier #0. Given how impactful the A-Day event is to the Batman books moving forward it would’ve helped to dedicate one or two pages to showing what went down. That would’ve helped to inform why Batman is now on the run from the GCPD and Scarecrow seemingly having control of what is left of Arkham Asylum. That would’ve especially helped bring in new readers that are looking to pick up Batman after the interest built up by Future State without having them feel like they have to spend another $6 to understand what is going on.
Overall: Batman #106 wasted no time in establishing what the new normal is for Gotham City after the events in Joker War and the Future State direction. James Tynion and Jorge Jimenez nail the tech-noir vibe Gotham City now has. That added to how Batman is currently in a spot were he has to much more creative with how he defends the city that villains like Scarecrow are looking to rise in power to take over. The quality of Batman #106 is further elevated by the excellent start to Damian Wayne’s new arc as Robin that Joshua Williamson and Gleb Melnikov establish for his character.
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