The war with the Magistrate has just begun and Batman is already on the defensive. Even when he attempts to take the fight directly to Simon Saint and Peacekeeper-01 it looks as though Batman is fighting against the inevitable. That all goes with Scarecrow looming over Gotham City as his own plan to take advantage of the state of Gotham City continues to play out. How will Batman deal with everything going on as he takes on Peacekeeper-01 for the first time? Let’s find out with Batman #110.
Writer: James Tynion IV (The Cowardly Lot and Ghost-Maker)
Artist: Jorge Jimenez (The Cowardly Lot); Ricardo Lopez (Ghost-Maker)
Colorist: Tomeu Morey (The Cowardly Lot); Romulo Fajardo Jr. (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 Batman attempts to escape the building he is in. When he exits the doors Batman ends up landing on a wheat field. A massive Scarecrow suddenly appears stating “The Fear State is nearly upon us.”
Back in the past as the news reports on the bombing at City Hall, Batman battles Peacekeeper-01 (Sean Mahoney) inside Saint Industries headquarters.
On the roof of the headquarters Simon Saint calls Gotham City Mayor Nakano to state that the bombing is yet another example of why they need to use the Magistrate’s Peacekeepers to investigate at once.
Elsewhere Miracle Molly tells Master Wyze that the Unsanity Collective will be blamed for the bombing. Miracle Molly suggests asking Batman for help. Breaker is not interested in that and instead suggests they focus on evacuating Gotham 2.0.
While the news continues to report on the bombing Mayor Nakano argues with Commissioner Renee Montoya about using the Peacekeepers as he does not believe the GCPD can handle everything that is going on. In his frustration Mayor Nakano dismisses Commissioner Montoya and tells his administration to prepare to announce the Magistrate Program to the press.
Over at The Clocktower, Oracle is unable to get a hold of Batman. Unsuccessful, Oracle makes a call to all the Batman Family members to let them know what is going on in Gotham City and Batman being MIA.
Over in Bludhaven, Nightwing calls Oracle to let her know that he is heading to Gotham City.
Thousands of feet above Gotham City in the Magistrate Skybase-01 Simone Saint gets to the control room where he has all his analyst keep tabs on Peacekeeper-01 vitals during his fight with Batman.
Back at Saint Industries, during a break in their fight Peacekeeper-01 calls out Batman for not being able to do anything for Gotham City. Batman suddenly appears and dropkicks Peacekeeper-01 in the face. Batman then calls out how Peacekeeper-01 isn’t showing any concern for the bombing at City Hall. Peacekeeper-01 reveals that he is the one who planted the bomb at City Hall as part of Simon Saint’s plan for the Magistrate Program.
Peacekeeper-01 then overpowers Batman and slams him around the room. While doing this Peacekeeper-01 talks about how the planned bombing was done so people would go with the Magistrate Program since Batman has shown to be ineffective in bringing in the likes of Unsanity Collective, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and the rest of Gotham City’s villains. Peacekeeper-01 states that Gotham City needs a better hero than Batman.
Having heard enough Batman kicks Peacekeeper-01 away from him. Batman then asks Peacekeeper-01 if his plan is to arrest and unmask him so people can cheer for him. Peacekeeper-01 reveals is plan is to kill Batman and blame the Batman Family killed him. Batman tells Peacekeeper-01 to try it.
Batman and Peacekeeper-01 charge at one another. At the very last second Batman dives under Peacekeeper-01’s legs. He then proceeds to plant a small explosive on a guard rail unnoticed. Batman then continues to make a run for it.
Back in The Clocktower, Oracle contacts Ghost-Maker to let him know that Batman is at Saint Industries. Oracle tells Ghost-Maker to get to the extraction point they had agreed on since they still can’t contact Batman.
Back in Saint Industries, Peacekeeper-01 catches up to and tackles Batman into a wall. Batman is able to recover and lands a upper cut on Peacekeeper-01, having figured out that Sean Mahoney’s armor lacks neck support.
This gives Batman enough time to set off the explosives he planted around the room. The explosives destroy the floor that Batman and Peacekeeper-01 are in. Batman then jumps out of the building to the extraction point where Ghost-Maker and Harley Quinn have just arrived too.
Ghost-Maker sees that Batman won’t make it to his jet so he jumps after Batman. Ghost-Maker is able to grab Batman and uses a grapple gun to break their fall.
In the burning floor of Saint Industries, Peacekeeper-01 tells Simon Saint he wants to go after Batman. Simon says that can happen later as he has another mission for Peacekeeper-01.
Inside Ghost-Maker’s jet, Batman gets patched up while he, Ghost-Maker, and Harley Quinn watch the news coverage on the announcement of the Magistrate Program and Sean Mahoney being the first Peacekeeper.
Harley Quinn can’t believe that Sean Mahoney is being hailed as a pure heroic person. Harley Quinn reveals that she knew of Sean Mahoney dating back to her days as a psychologist at Arkham Asylum. She goes on to state Sean has a long history of abusing inmates and other horrible things throughout his time as a guard at Arkham Asylum.
Batman states they unfortunately prove this since all of the records at Arkham Asylum were destroyed during A-Day. Batman goes on to state that they have to bring down the Magistrate while also keeping an eye out for whatever Scarecrow is planning.
Oracle calls Batman to let him know that she tracked Peacekeeper-01 and the Magistrate heading to the buildings that were being rebuilt by Wayne Enterprises. Batman realizes the Magistrate are about to take in the Unsanity Collective.
Over at Gotham 2.0 as Miracle Molly and Squeak talk about what is going on Peacekeeper-01 shows up with other Peacekeepers to arrest the pair. Miracle Molly quickly surrenders and asks for the Peacekeepers to not harm anyone in Gotham 2.0.
Peacekeeper-01 contacts Simon Saint to let him know that the Unsanity Collective are showing armed resistance. He requests to use lethal force against the Unsanity Collective. Simon Saint grants Peacekeeper-01’s request. End of story.
The Good: The first fight between Batman and Peacekeeper-01 lived up to the hype. There was nothing pretty about how the fight went between the two went. Everything surrounding it with Gotham City in a state of chaos added to the overall success in Batman #110.
Having news stations across Gotham City reporting on the bombing kept the chaotic environment Gotham City has become at the front of the mind of the reader. It kept you connected to the greater scope of the narrative James Tynion is creating with his run. Even when Batman is able to be named the victor in the first fight with Peacekeeper-01 you could sense how everything is changing towards the Magistrate’s favor. The news reports accomplish in making putting over why at end of Batman #110 the Magistrate Program is fully active.
This all-elevated Simon Saint as the person currently running the Magistrate Program to be someone you absolutely hate. Everything about the Magistrate’s noble intentions are just a mask that is not hidden to the reader. That is clear with how Sean Mahoney as Peacekeeper-01 proudly states to being the one who planted the bomb at City Hall as part of Simon Saint’s plan for the Magistrate Program. It solidifies how from the very beginning the Magistrate are set up to be an oppressive regime we saw them be during Future State. Which all goes back to making Simon Saint a villain you want to see get punched in the face for everything he is doing.
All the credit for how the success in how Simon Saint’s Magistrate Program is put over in Batman #110 goes to the characterization of Sean Mahoney as Peacekeeper-01. Tynion and Jorge Jimenez present Peacekeeper-01 as an unstoppable tank of a fighter. Throughout the entire fight with Batman we see how as a super soldier Peacekeeper-01 is different from similarly sized Bane. The fighting style Sean Mahoney implements as Peacekeeper-01 comes across as a middle linebacker who is just looking to tackle the quarterback and go from there. There is noting pretty about how he fights which makes him an even bigger threat.
The fighting style further enhances how we can clearly see he is not the hero everyone in Gotham City believes him to be after saving people in A-Day. As we learn from Harley Quinn, Sean Mahoney is an unhinged individual who has been thrusted into the spotlight of a hero for the one good deed he has done. Adding in how his criminal acts were destroyed along with all the other Arkham Asylum records during A-Day further pushes how dangerous of an individual he is now as Peacekeeper-01. We even see that with the way he taunts Batman as he knows he is positioned as the hero for the city and Batman is the failure.
The presentation of Peacekeeper-01 makes how Batman has to be extremely creative in how he takes on this super soldier even more impressive. Both the writing and artwork show us that Batman is fighting just to survive. Which speaks to how Batman is currently unprepared to take on the Magistrate and Peacekeepers. Seeing how injured Batman was after the fight really drove that point home and does make you wonder how long Bruce Wayne will keep trying to do things on his own.
That said it was interesting to see how Batman was presented throughout the fight. Batman specifically calling out how Peacekeeper-01’s lack of neck protection was a weakness in his armor was a moment that stuck out. That came across as an overconfident statement that made Batman look as though he still believes he can always beat Peacekeeper-01. Which adds an interesting note as to how we saw in Future State Peacekeeper-01 wearing an extremely protective Iron Man-like armor. Batman’s own overconfidence could be the very thing that leads the Magistrate and Peacekeepers to evolve more than they would normally. Which is likely given how Simon Saint was monitoring this first fight and never intended Peacekeeper-01 to beat Batman here.
Batman #110 ending with the Magistrate Program’s first official act is to place the blame of the City Hall bombing on the Unsanity Collective was a strong hook to build interest for what comes next. We spent enough time in Batman #108 to get to know Miracle Molly that you do end up caring for the situation she, and by extension the Unsanity Collective, have found herself in. The fact that both Peacekeeper-01 and Simon Saint aren’t holding back in how they are portraying the Unsanity Collective as the most dangerous individuals in Gotham City to the public makes you hate the Magistrate even more. It all makes you wonder if the Batman Family even stand a chance against what they are up against right now.
The GCPD angle on this entire story is going to be an interesting one to follow. Tynion establishes through the argument between Mayor Nakano and Commissioner Renee Montoya that the GCPD aren’t behind the implementation of the Magistrate Program. How this sub-plot ends up being built out will be interesting to see the GCPD play an important role in what happens in Gotham City.
As mentioned earlier, Jorge Jimenez continues to knocked it out of the park with his artwork for “The Cowardly Lot” main story in Batman #110. Jimenez does such a great job capturing the chaotic nature of this entire story. From how brutal the fight between Batman and Peacekeeper-01 to the current state of Gotham City, the artwork by Jimenez and colorist Tomeu Morey elevates the entire story taking place.
The Ghost-Maker back-up continues to be a solid story that is building up the character as an individual. Tynion and Ricardo Lopez showcase Ghost-Maker’s fighting style well. And Madame Midas continues to work as a good antagonist who is Ghost-Maker’s complete opposite.
The Bad: The only negative I have for Batman #110 is the continuing future scene involving Batman being Scarecrow’s prisoner. At this point it has come across as repetitive cycle of the same scene over and over again. The inclusion in Batman #110 in particular came across as just a way to introduce the “Fear State” term since that is the next big Batman Family event that will be taking place shortly. It added nothing to the story as it would’ve been better to just show us a glimpse of what Scarecrow is doing during Batman and Peacekeeper-01’s fight instead.
Overall: James Tynion and Jorge Jimenez are an incredible creative team and Batman #110 is yet another example as to why that is. The fight between Batman and Peacekeeper-01 is as brutal as you expect it to be. How this fight builds on the current state of Gotham City and leads to the Magistrate Program official launch creates even greater interest in what will happen next in all the Batman Family titles.
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