James Tynion begins the final chapter of his current run on Batman as he begins the big Fear State event that is taking over the entire Batman Family franchise. With Scarecrow and the Magistrate now holding firm control of Gotham City can the Batman Family even match up? If all that power and control wasn’t enough there is also the fact that Batman is currently being held captive by Scarecrow. That is not the best starting point for Bruce Wayne to try to save Gotham City with the rest of the Batman Family. Let’s see how Fear State begins with Batman #112.
Writer: James Tynion IV (Fear State Part 1); Brandon Thomas (Clownhunter In DIY)
Artist: Jorge Jimenez (Fear State Part 1); Jason Howard (Clownhunter In DIY)
Colorist: Tomeu Morey (Fear State Part 1)
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Across all of the TV channels in Gotham City Simon Saint broadcasts an informercial going over his history, the Magistrate mission, and the Peacekeepers way of protecting to ensure a better Gotham City.
As that goes on Batman tries to fight through the heavy dose of the latest Fear Toxin that Scarecrow injected into his system. Batman is able eventually makes it out of the ruins of Arkham Asylum and back to his Batmobile. Batman then injects himself with a Fear Toxin antidote he had made.
After coming too Batman reaches out to the Batman Family to let them know his situation and how he is not sure if he became compromised while under the influence of Scarecrow’s Fear Toxin and is now using mind control technology. Batman fails to get a hold of any Batman Family member.
Inside the Magistrate’s Skybase-01 Simon Saint orders his people to push the Magistrate’s message even with Scarecrow turning against them and Peacekeeper-01 going insane from the Fear Toxin he was injected with.
Elsewhere, Peacekeeper-01 continues to be effected by the Fear Toxin. When he gets to a street with a crowd of people Peacekeeper-01 envisions everyone is part of Joker’s gang so he gets ready to fight them all.
Over at the Clock Tower Batman finally makes it there but is knocked down by Batgirl (Cassandra Cain), who is surprised to see Batman alive. Barbara Gordon shows up and reveals that a someone is posing as Oracle to deliver a message across Gotham City that mentions Batman is dead. Barbara goes on to say that she intended to deliver a message to Gotham City like she did during Joker War (Batman #100) but the Anti-Oracle hijacked her feed.
Batman asks Barbara to contact Ghost-Maker as he is the only clear line of communication she can get after the Anti-Oracle attack.
Ghost-Maker gives Batman an update on things becoming complicated after Harley Quinn met up with Queen Ivy (Batman: Fear State Alpha #1). Ghost-Maker goes on to say that while Queen Ivy has the capability of bringing Gotham City down at any moment Harley Quinn was able to convince her not to and allow the Unsanity Collective to hide out in Eden.
Harley Quinn mentions that she and Gardner are going to find the missing part of Poison Ivy and when they are successful she wants Batman to give her a Robin costume.
Batman tells Ghost-Maker to meet up with him at the BatGarage to help scan his brain to see if he is compromised. Ghost-Maker agrees to meet-up. Batman then says that they have to work fast with the threats that the Magistrate, Scarecrow, and the insane Peacekeeper-01 pose.
Elsewhere, Scarecrow stands on a gargoyle as he feels ready to begin his Fear State.
On the Magistrate’s Skybase-01 Simon Saint transforms Ricardo Huertas into Peacekeeper-X. Simon Saint then assigns Peacekeeper-X with the mission to bring down Sean Mahoney so the Magistrate can regain control of the narrative. End of main story.
The Good: Batman #112 acts as an extension of the set-up done by the Fear State: Alpha #1 issue that proceeded this comic book. Whereas Fear State: Alpha #1 established the foundation for the entire event and how the entire Batman Family would be involved Batman #112 was largely focused on Bruce Wayne’s part in the story.
Where Batman #112 is most successful is showing how Bruce Wayne is starting several steps behind Scarecrow and the Magistrate in this event. And before he can even get going Bruce must first deal with the consequences of rushing into trying to deal with Scarecrow alone. Following up on those consequences gives weight to all the flashforward scenes we got in the previous story arc.
Everything about how Bruce acts in Batman #112 further exemplifies how things aren’t normal for the Dark Knight. Even when he didn’t previously see things coming we could be confident he could figure things out and get several steps ahead. That is not the case with Fear State as Bruce has to be much more reactionary to what is going on in Gotham City. Which continues the greater character arc for Bruce Wayne that we saw explored in Joker War. Because the reality is Bruce no longer has his normal Batman resources.
That will make things even more challenging as both Scarecrow and Simon Saint’s Magistrate have all the resources at their disposal to be tough to take down. Actually positioning the two big villains of this storyline to have a never ending pool of resources creates even greater questions around if Batman even has a chance. Especially when adding in how the Anti-Oracle has hindered how well connected the Batman Family are things aren’t starting off at the best point for our heroes.
Through all of this we see how Scarecrow just continues to be elevated to be one of the most terrifying villains around. The entire presentation of Scarecrow gives off a horror villain vibe. This is where Jorge Jimenez artwork really shines. Tynion’s dialogue is just there to enhance how Jimenez draws Scarecrow to be an imposing figure that even has Batman running scared.
Adding to how big of a threat Scarecrow is at the moment is how he has created an massive wild card for the Fear State story in the form of the insane Sean Mahoney. After being positioned as the new white knight of Gotham City as Peacekeeper-01, Sean Mahoney’s entire narrative has changed thanks to being injected with a large dose of Scarecrow’s fear toxin. With Sean Mahoney running around hallucinating that Gotham City’s citizens are Joker gang members there is no one safe from this super soldier the Magistrate created.
Which also makes Simon Saint’s moves to make sure the image he has crafted for the Magistrate isn’t undone even more interesting. With how his plans are already unraveling we are seeing Simon Saint make rash decisions such as fast-tracking another Peacekeeper being placed on the field. The entire design for Ricardo Huertas Peacekeeper-X that Jimenez provides the character does not inspire the peace Simon Saint speaks on in his informercial. Which does make the longevity of the Magistrate program come into question if it already this off-rails as soon as it begins.
Another interesting wild card for the entire Fear State event to watch for is the developments around Poison Ivy. Tynion once again pushes how the current split of Queen Ivy and Poison Ivy will play a major factor in how Fear State turns out. Given how it was set-up here this does make reading the Harley Quinn and Catwoman series even more vital. While this could impact the flow of the story Tynion has built enough trust throughout his Batman run that he will make this sub-plot work within the context of his Fear State chapters.
The Clownhunter back-up story by Brandon Thomas and Jason Howard continued the solid use of these companion stories to flesh out other characters involved in the main story. Clownhunter is someone that has needed to be given more of his own time to be developed after his introduction in the Ghost-Maker story arc. Given how chaotic things are getting in Gotham City, Clownhunter is well positioned to make his mark on the current status quo. That is something that Thomas and Howard do well as they spotlight how he is still new to the vigilante game but brings his own unique flair to the state of Gotham City.
The Bad: To get the full impact of Batman #112 the Fear State: Alpha #1 comic book is a must-read. While Tynion does try to give a quick recap of that issue through Barbara Gordon’s appearance it does not work as intended. By going with that direction for Barbara’s appearance Tynion turns her into nothing more than an extension of himself as the writer. Which in turn never makes it seem as though Barbara is the one talking to Bruce Wayne but James Tynion.
Also because Batman #112 does place such a big focus on Bruce’s role we don’t actually get to see where the rest of the Batman Family are in this story. Showing the rest of the Batman Family on their way to Gotham City would’ve helped get over how big of a story Fear State is. Dialogue for those characters weren’t needed but something that showed the Batman Family is united from the beginning, unlike in Joker War. The splash page with Batman and Oracle that had smaller panels within the double page spread would’ve worked very well for this.
Overall: Batman #112 works well as an extension for how Batman: Fear State Alpha #1 set-up the latest big event that is taking over Gotham City. This issue emphasizes how Batman is going to working from behind as Scarecrow and the Magistrate are several steps ahead of him. Which all sets a strong foundation for a Batman event that I am fully invested in from the beginning.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content visit our Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram. You can catch up with all of Kevin’s thoughts about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter. You can also watch the fun and silly videos Kevin is making over on his TikTok.