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Review: Batman: Fear State Alpha

Batman: Fear State Alpha

Batman in recent years has had issues going from event to event, a non-stop cacophony of chaos. Future State gave a slight break taking us to a future Gotham, one controlled by fascist police. After, we got a line that focused on that possible future, each series having an “end goal” to get us to. It’s been fresh in some ways delivering one vision in a way.

James Tynion IV‘s run began plagued by “mini event” syndrome with each arc feeling like a “big event” shrunk down to fit in a trade, some major story that wound up just setting up what’s next. Post Future State, that feeling has gone away a bit with story arcs focused on Gotham’s possible future with numerous plot threads all combining to move Batman’s story along. With Batman: Fear State Alpha, we get some of those threads coming together, things that have been hinted at for some time.

Tynion’s run has been up and down but for some time now, the series has show massive improvement as it has been laser focused on Simon Saint and his slow takeover of Gotham through his technology and military police force. We’ve had interesting characters and new factions introduced. But, what’s been interesting is that Tynion has, in many ways, been addressing the “event fatigue” that has been a hallmark of recent Batman runs. Batman: Fear State Alpha puts that fatigue square in the center as Scarecrow’s place within Simon Saint’s plan is fully explored. The comic in many ways is the villain explaining their complicated plan but it works really well.

Batman: Fear State Alpha is the rare start to an event that works as moving the story forward but also acting as a primer for those new to the story. It does a great job of not just focusing on Batman, but Oracle, Harley, and more importantly, Gotham as a whole. It lays out what’s going on, why, and what our heroes will be up against. There’s frustrating moments, the fact the elected officials are this dumb, but Tynion even addresses that through a character vocalizing doubts. It’s a meta comic in some ways not just commenting and the endless event driven storyline but also the reader screaming at stupid decisions characters make.

Riccardo Federici handles the art duties with Chris Sotomayor on color and Clayton Cowles lettering. The art is pretty solid giving us a look that’s just to the side of nightmare. The style really fits a story about fear and the Scarecrow at the center. It never quite crosses the line into nightmare territory but there’s a look to the style that really works for the subject matter. The characters look solid and there’s a great amount of emotion delivered. With the angles and panels presented the way they are at times, it all comes together to leave readers slightly off, just before a Scarecrow attack.

Batman: Fear State Alpha is a solid start to the next Batman event. There’s an awareness about it all that acknowledges what has come before and works it into the story. It works as a great introduction to the event while really laying things out for long time readers. There’s a lot packed into the story and as far things go, a solid start for what’s to come.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Riccardo Federici
Color: Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1

Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Riccardo Federici

The event over a year in the making begins! Fear State settles upon Gotham City, and no one is safe! Overwhelmed by the dual threat of the Scarecrow and Peacekeeper-01, Batman and his allies have been one step behind since the events of Infinite Frontier #0, and with the arrival of a mysterious anti-Oracle and the return of Poison Ivy, Batman might have more than he can handle!

Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Almost American #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Almost American #1 (AfterShock) – The true story about two Russian spies as they defect to the United States.

Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1 (DC Comics) – The next Batman event is coming and the Scarecrow is at the center of it. We’re excited to see where this storyline is going as its been building since the line picked up after Future State.

Dark Ages #1 (Marvel) – Marvel has been teasing this miniseries and we’re still not sure exactly what it is but we’re intrigued since we’re so in the dark.

Eighty Days (BOOM! Studios/Archaia) – A graphic novel about a pilot who wants to just fly with freedom. But, Jay meets Felix, a thief who draws him into the struggle against the looming aviation guild.

Telepaths #1 (AWA Studios) – J. Michael Straczynski and Steve Epting are enough to get us to want to check this out where an electromagnetic disturbance awakens telepathic powers in a tenth of the Earth’s population.

Transformers: King Grimlock #2 (IDW Publishing) – The first issue was an interesting one putting Grimlock on a different world where he’ll have to decide if he’ll be a hero or just his usual pain in the butt.

Undiscovered Country #15 (Image Comics) – The series has been a wild ride with every arc. You never know where it’s going or what the creators are going to come up with making this a comic series that keeps its readers on their toes.

Preview: Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1

Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Riccardo Federici

The event over a year in the making begins! Fear State settles upon Gotham City, and no one is safe! Overwhelmed by the dual threat of the Scarecrow and Peacekeeper-01, Batman and his allies have been one step behind since the events of Infinite Frontier #0, and with the arrival of a mysterious anti-Oracle and the return of Poison Ivy, Batman might have more than he can handle!

Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1

DC Connect Heads to Print

DC Connect #14

On Tuesday, June 29, comic book fans can get the latest dish on what’s to come from DC when DC Connect, the monthly previews magazine, arrives in participating comic book stores.

Initially available online, this print version will give fans all the great tools to know what to order from their local comic book stores, including breathtaking cover art, preview pages from upcoming stories, behind-the-scenes looks at projects in development, and more!

The debut issue spotlights some of DC’s hottest titles and events arriving in September, including:

  • Batman: Fear State, including I Am Batman #1, by John Ridley and Olivier Coipel
  • Deathstroke, Inc., written by Joshua Williamson (Infinite Frontier, The Flash) with art by Howard Porter
  • Aquaman: The Becoming, a six-issue monthly limited series from Future State: Aquaman writer Brandon Thomas, with art by Diego Olortegui and Wade Von Grawbadger
  • Black Manta six-issue monthly limited series from Bitter Root writer Chuck Brown and artist Valentine De Landro
  • Milestone Compendium One, a softcover collection with more than 1,300 pages  of classic Milestone stories, collecting the debut story arcs of Blood Syndicate, Hardware, Static, Icon, Xombi and Shadow Cabinet from the original Milestone creative team
  • Are You Afraid of Darkseid?, a prestige format anthology of scary stories from across the DC Universe, just in time for Halloween (on sale October 5)
  • Special Batman Day versions of:
    • Batman: The World
    • Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #1
    • Batman – Knightwatch/Bat-Tech Special Edition #1
Almost American