James Tynion has continued to be on a roll with his work on Batman. The events of A-Day have pushed the entire Batman Family to reevaluate things in Gotham City. At the same time Gotham City itself is going through massive changes as the chaos that the city has been known for has left all of the citizens exhausted. Because of that we’ve seen Christopher Nakano become Mayor of Gotham City on a anti-vigilante platform, Saint Industries begin the Magistrate program, and villains like Scarecrow rising up to take advantage of the chaos. What else will the Batman Family have to deal with in Gotham City? Let’s find out with Batman #108.
Writer: James Tynion (Cowardly Lot and Ghost-Maker)
Artists: Jorge Jimenez (Cowardly Lot); Ricardo Lopez Ortiz (Ghost-Maker)
Colorists: Tomeu Morey (Cowardly Lot and Ghost-Maker)
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere unknown Scarecrow continues his attempt to break Batman.
Sometime in the past, outside Gotham City Hall Mayor Nakano presents Sean Mahoney (the officer who saved several people from dying, suffering severe injuries in the process, during Arkham Asylum’s destruction in Infinite Frontier #0) with a medal of honor in front of the gathered press.
In the crowd Simon Saint watches the ceremony. After it is over Simon approaches Sean with a offer for his future.
Over at The Clocktower, Oracle listens into Mayor Nakano’s administration talking about how the mayor’s approval rating continues to go down as he isn’t providing results after all his promises in his anti-vigilante campaign. Oracle then notices Scarecrow on a rooftop from some security footage. She calls Batman but gets no answer.
Over at The Unsanity Collective’s hideout Matches Malone (Bruce Wayne in disguise) is beaten and thrown into a cell. A guy named Breaker tells Wyze (The Unsanity Collective’s leader) that they should kill Matches as he smells like a cop. Wyze isn’t sure who Matches is though did realize he has some training in blocking psychics from scanning his mind.
Miracle Molly steps in to say they should accept and see what Matches is about. Wyze tells Miracle Molly that Matches will be her responsibility.
Miracle Molly goes to Matches and immediately calls him out on his fake disguise and voice. She has Bruce follow her and gives him a mask to make him more comfortable. She then asks what he is looking for. Bruce says he wants to understand what The Unsanity Collection is about. Miracle Molly tells him to get on her large drone so she can show him.
Over in Midtown at Saint Industries, Simon shows Sean the Magistrate facility he has created and reveals his intention to create a new type of police officer. To convince Sean on this Simon has one of the former Marine Corps members working for him to show Sean his highly advance prosthetic arm. Sean is immediately amazed by this. Seeing this Simon offers to make Sean into the Magistrates Peacekeeper-01. Sean happily accepts the offer.
Elsewhere, Miracle Molly then flies Bruce to one of the unfinished skyscrapers that was part of the previous Wayne Enterprises plans to rebuild the city. Miracle Molly reveals that The Unsanity Collective have been moving from one unfinished skyscraper to the next to evade being captured.
Inside Miracle Molly goes over the vision Wyze has to stop following what society deems as happiness.
A young member of The Unsanity Collective named Squeak approaches Miracle Molly with plans for new enhancements she wants. Miracle Molly looks over the plans, which includes a sonic scream device implant, and promises to make it for Squeak. Hearing this Bruce learns that Miracle Molly is the tech expert for The Unsanity Collective.
Bruce asks Miracle Molly on her thoughts on the people she and The Unsanity Collective have targeted. Miracle Molly doesn’t consider the rich people and all they are doing is feeding their people off the excess of the rich.
Miracle Molly then leads Bruce to a view that overlooks Gotham City. Miracle Molly re-emphasizes her belief that the old ways of society are falling apart as people are crumbling under the system of what it takes to live their daily lives. She goes on to say Wyze wants to break this system and embrace technology as the way of the future. During this Miracle Molly reveals her own story of how unhappy she was in her old life.
Miracle Molly then reveals she knows she is talking to Batman all along. Bruce and Miracle Molly then go back-and-forth about what each of their beliefs are.
After this Bruce asks Miracle Molly why The Unsanity Collective started targeting people working in the media. Miracle Molly reveals that Simon Saint hired The Unsanity Collective with a lot of money in the offer to create fear in the media.
Over at the Magistrate facilities Simon Saint and Scarecrow oversee the intense operation to transform Sean Mahoney into Peacekeeper-01. End of main story.
The Good: When looking at the cover for Batman #108 it is easy to expect that we are going to be introduced to another antagonist character like Harley Quinn and Punchline. Both those characters have been incredible successes for the Batman franchise. To James Tynion’s credit he did not go with that direction for Miracle Molly first full character spotlight as we are presented by a character that is very different from Harley Quinn and Punchline.
Its in the way Tynion is able to develop characters around Gotham City that I continue to be impressed by. He has mastered how every person in Gotham City is just an extension of the current state of the city itself. We got that with Punchline, a character who embraced the chaos that Joker represents in the franchise. With Miracle Molly we are presented a character that reflects the futurist direction Gotham City has been on post-City Of Bane that is leading us into a Neo Gotham setting seen in Batman Beyond.
Having Miracle Molly represent the change going on in Gotham City is a good foundation for a character. Tynion makes sure to take great care in having us understand what is driving Miracle Molly and why she would see Wyze’s Unsanity Collection vision as something to follow. It gives more depth to the character so when we do see Miracle Molly and the Unsanity Collective break their own moral code by working for Simon Saint something you understand. It is something the Unsanity Collective needed to survive. It is here were we see how Miracle Molly is currently in an antagonist role but could grow to be more, whether it be for the good or bad side, after how Tynion developed her in Batman #108.
Through all of this Tynion further explores Bruce Wayne’s current way of doing things as Batman. We see that he is still relying on his old ways of being Batman by using his classic Matches Malone disguise in an attempt to infiltrate The Unsanity Collective. While the disguise worked on The Unsanity Collective’s leader, Wyze, we saw that Miracle Molly was easily able to know that he was Batman. This reveal was yet another example of how Bruce does need to open himself up to adapt and evolve if he wants to defend Gotham City as Batman.
This also led to some great analysis on Gotham City itself. Through Bruce and Miracle Molly’s discussion we grow to better understand how Gotham City isn’t just simply in a chaotic period like the media and public perceive. Its not that simple. There is a lot of change going on and those in charge from all sides are still trying to figure out what direction to take Gotham City. Which makes how Bruce follows Miracle Molly around and listens to her side a fascinating conversation as they each represent different sides of where Gotham City should go.
While Miracle Molly is certainly presented as being more a shade of grey character that is not the case with The Unsanity Collective’s leader, Wyze. For everything that Miracle Molly says about how he helped her and other Gotham City nomads Wyze clearly has his own greater plans in play. The whole vibe that Wyze has is of someone who is looking to control others with his whole thing of helping others being a blanket to cover his true intentions. We get that idea with how we learn he has used his psychic abilities to alter peoples minds, including Miracle Molly. The way he reacted to being unable to do this to Matches Malone hints at more villainous intentions in the character.
For as much as Batman #108 was about Bruce Wayne and Miracle Molly we were constantly reminded of how under Mayor Nakano’s administration we are getting closer to the Magistrate becoming a thing. This issue goes all in on this as we learn through what Oracle overhears from Mayor Nakano’s administration that his approval rating is plummeting as he is not living up to his campaign promises. Learning this along with how big of a show Mayor Nakano made out of presenting Sean Mahoney with a medal of honor are examples of why we will likely see him go all in on the Magistrate program and the Peacekeepers becoming an official Gotham City policing force.
Speaking of, Tynion does a great job making A-Day an even more important turning point as we see how it led to the creation of Peacekeeper-01, who ruled over Gotham City with an iron fist in Future State. Picking Sean Mahoney, the guy we saw save many from dying during Arkham Asylum’s destruction, to become Peacekeeper-01 was a great choice. Sean has plenty of motivation based on his experience with the GCPD and Batman to have strong motivation to become Peacekeeper-01.
This also further showcased how Simon Saint is an extremely manipulative character. We already saw that with how he has been trying to convince Mayor Nakano to invest in his Magistrate program. Now in Batman #108 we see that again first with how he uses his knowledge of Sean Mahoney’s family and personal past to have him accept the offer of being Peacekeeper-01. Then it is all topped off with the big reveal that he hired The Unsanity Collective to cause greater chaos in Gotham City. It all shows that Simon Saint is play chess with Gotham City as his game board and will do anything to get his Magistrate program to work.
While Simon Saint is definitely the antagonist we are following the villain we really need to keep an eye out for is Scarecrow. Tynion has done an excellent job not overexposing Scarecrow in this storyline thus far. We are getting enough of him in the present day scenes of him trying to break Batman to understand what he is looking to do. Having him have an ominous presence in all the flashback scenes positions Scarecrow to be a major wild card in the current direction for Gotham City.
Through all of this Jorge Jimenez’s artwork continues to shine. He does an excellent job giving a unique vibe to Miracle Molly, Wyze, Breaker, and the entire Unsanity Collective. Jimenez’s design for Miracle Molly in particular stands out the more we spend time getting to know her. The artwork all puts over everything we learn about Miracle Molly and the Unsanity Collective. Jimenez also gives a whole Frankenstein’s monster vibe to Simon Saint and Scarecrow transforming Sean Mahoney into Peacekeeper-01.
The Bad: The Ghost-Maker back-up just does not live up to what we see in the main story. There is a lack of importance to Ghost-Maker’s story in comparison to not just the story in this series but other Batman Family titles. It feels to disconnected and Ghost-Maker himself still hasn’t grown to be a multi-layered character. Actually showing him more out of his Ghost-Maker disguise may help build up the character to be more than just a very good fighter.
Overall: James Tynion and Jorge Jimenez continue to do an excellent job creating a multi-layered story with “Cowardly Lot” in Batman #108. All of the strong character work with Miracle Molly, Bruce Wayne, Simon Saint, and Sean Mahoney adds greater perspective into what Gotham City is becoming. It is all building a world that you can’t help but want to spend even more time reading about.
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