Review: Batman #112

by Max Byrne
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“Fear State” – Part One
Writer: James Tynion IV & Brandon Thomas
Artists: Jorge Jimenez & Jason Howard
Color Artist: Tomeu Morey 
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Max Byrne

After the deliciously dark Fear State Alpha #1¬†and its wonderful job of setting the stage for the forthcoming Fear State arc, this week finds us back on Terra Firma with the release of Batman #112. Very much a direct continuation of last week’s events, this issue sees the Simon Saint spin machine move into overdrive, whilst the Caped Crusader struggles to keep his mind and sanity in order.

In the current climate of our real world, where propaganda and influence play a huge part in our daily lives, James Tynion IV‘s depiction of Simon Saint’s aggressive ad campaign seems eerily prescient. The most sinister of intentions can be masked by a well-put-together bit of promotional spin. By going on a full-on charm offensive, Mr. Saint’s off-camera persona seems all the more evil. A real two-faced presentation, if you will.

The machinations of The Scarecrow are wreaking havoc on Batman on these pages. Whilst the various fear toxins that Dr. Crane has concocted over the years have always been overcome with some well-produced antidotes, here we have some truly next-level stuff. Incorporating elements of mind control, this particularly virulent strain is beyond even Batman’s resistance. This makes for some excellent storytelling, as a Batman that can barely trust his own mind is a very dangerous creature indeed. He’s a liability to both himself and those around him. As the last 80+ years have always made us see him as a man in complete control of his faculties, this change of state is all the more jarring, and certainly riveting stuff.

What of Peacekeeper-01? As previously seen, Mr. Mahoney is in a delirious state of mind. If the last panel of this issue is anything to go by, then he’s about to become surplus to requirements, an obsolete design. No spoilers here, but suffice to say that Simon Saint is upscaling his workforce, and times are about to get very hard indeed for his first operator. Despite his sadistic back story, there can be an element of sympathy to be doled out to Sean Mahoney, based on the events of the last few issues. One certainly feels that his tale isn’t going to end in a happy fashion.

The artwork of Jorge Jimenez is first-rate yet again. His work has an abstract brutality to it that simply demands the reader’s attention, and boy does it get mine! Whether his panels contain explosive action or still moments, each one is a feast for the eyes that lives to enhance the story that Tynion is telling us. These two creative giants go together like a horse and carriage, and I hope that their respective careers bring them into collaboration frequently.

There is a short bonus story at the end of Batman #112 that once again brings Clownhunter into the mix. One of my favorite new additions to Gotham City, this short and sweet starter brings his motivations and ruthless attitude into focus. The cliffhanger ending of this tale makes the next installment a must-read, as Brandon Thomas’ heady mix of humor and pathos fit the character like a glove.

Conclusion

Batman #112 is another highly consistent issue that adds more weight to the current storyline. Gotham City feels like a ticking time bomb now, with combustible elements ready to explode in a big way. I implore all readers to get on board for the Fear State arc, as all the early signs point towards it being something special.

8 out of 10

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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