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Review: Batman #114

Batman #114

DC’s Batman line of comics has been on a hell of a roll. Post “Future State”, the comics have had a shared focus and vision of where they’re all going while each having their own personality. Batman has been at the center of them all taking us through a build up to “Fear State” the current storyline that connects so many dots and brings so many pieces of the puzzle together. Batman #114 is an issue neck deep into the story as the two Peacekeepers battle it out and we get a clue as to how far Simon Saint will go to cover up his crimes.

James Tynion IV has hit his stride with “Fear State” delivering one of the best Batman storylines in years. Scarecrow is whipping up the people of Gotham while manipulating others to get the result he wants. It’s a giant experiment with the city as his test subjects. It’s a flip from where the story began as Simon Saint was using Scarecrow to get his Magistrate program up and running, striking fear into Gotham so its leaders would turn to Saint for protection. Now, Saint’s Peacekeepers threaten to bring it all down as Peacekeeper-01 is dose by the Scarecrow and killing Gotham citizens in his hallucination while Peacekeeper-X is tasked with stopping the rampage. Stuck in-between is Batman who can only do so much to stop everything going on.

Tynion has done an excellent job of building to this moment as the two Peacekeepers battle it out and we get to see that Saint really will do whatever it takes to gain control. But, what’s more impressive is we really get a sense that Batman is a bit outmatched. The tech Saint has brought not only has an edge but there’s so much of it that there’s little Batman can do. He can slow things down but not stop it. For once Batman is overwhelmed and it feels like it could happen and makes sense.

Batman #114 packs a lot of action with some amazing art by Jorge Jimenez. The fights are brutal. The explosions are huge. There’s so much raw emotion thrown about it’s hard to not feel it looking at the character literally frothing at the mouth. Tomeu Morey‘s colors continue to be amazing delivering a slight step towards the neon-infused Gotham of the future. Clayton Cowles‘ lettering adds so much personality to everyone, especially Scarecrow and Peacekeeper-X. Small details like that adds a lot to the reading experience.

Brandon Thomas, Jason Howard, and Clayton Cowles also deliver a back-up story featuring Clownhunter as he deals with Scarecrow himself. It’s all ok with an ending that leads us to other series. This back-up has been a bit so-so though the visuals are pretty solid. Overall, it just feels like something we’ve seen a lot before (a character tripping because they were dosed by Scarecrow) dragged out over three issues.

Batman #114 is summer blockbuster worthy. There’s a hell of a fight and a lot of surprises in the issue as the Peacekeepers battle it out in Gotham and Batman’s caught in-between it all. This is some of the best additions to the Batman myth in a long time giving opponents who feel worthy to take on Batman and his entire time and also feel grounded in many ways. Where this is going to go remains unknown but it’s a journey I’m all in for. It’s one hell of a ride so far and hoping it to continue to be.

Story: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thomas Art: Jorge Jimenez, Jason Howard
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Batman #114

Batman #114

Written by: Brandon Thomas, James Tynion IV
Art by: Jason Howard, Jorge Jimenez

Batman is racing against time to stop Gotham City from tearing itself apart as the Scarecrow’s long game is revealed. The Dark Knight has bigger problems though, as an insane Peacekeeper-01 is on a murderous rampage through the streets of Gotham! Can Peackeeper-X stop him?!

Back-Up: Clownhunter has been doused with Fear Toxin at the hands of the Scarecrow, and he is living out every anxiety, moment of pain, and heartbreak he’s ever had. Will he find his way out and resume his goal of being Gotham’s protector from clowns? Or will he succumb to Scarecrow’s greatest mind game yet?! See the end of this epic story that will change Clownhunter’s trajectory in Gotham City forever!

Batman #114

Preview: Batman #113

Batman #113

Written by: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thoma
Art by: Jason Howard, Jorge Jimenez

Ghost-Maker reveals a dark revelation about his past connection to Jonathan Crane while Batman puts together the pieces of Scarecrow’s master plan. Using the Unsanity Collective’s technology, the villain plans to detonate a “Fear Bomb” in Gotham City! Backup: Clownhunter has been dosed by the Scarecrow with a deadly fear toxin and is now traveling through his greatest nightmare of Gotham City. Will the Clownhunter center himself and strike back at Scarecrow? Or will he succumb to all his worst fears?!

Batman #113

Review: Batman #113

“Fear State” is in full swing plunging the various Batman comics into the latest storyline event. But, this event feels a bit different. There’s a self-awareness to it all that feels like its been missing for a long time. Even fatigue has set into the Batman books with one disaster after another and “Fear State” actually addresses that in many ways. In fact, it’s a setup to the plan by Scarecrow. For that alone, it makes what’s going on a bit more interesting. Batman #113 takes some steps back in the story exploring what Scarecrow’s plan is and that includes an explanation of the meta.

James Tynion IV has hit his stride with Batman as the series not just delivers an event that’s self-aware but also one that further ties into the bigger picture story that is “Future State”. Simon Saint’s plan for his police force is underway but Scarecrow has played Saint using the materials gained to run an experiment all his own. Batman #113 has Batman unsure if he’s been compromised so asks Ghost-Maker to dip into his consciousness to see what has been tampered with. It’s all very comic-book in a good way. A little silly but it works. We also learn some history, Ghost-Maker has a past with Crane, aka Scarecrow.

That revelation feels a bit forced if anything. This character who just so happens to have come back into Batman’s life just so happens to have history with the major bad and know their goal/plan. It’s a little silly and a quick way to get to that revelation. Is it a derailed moment? Not really, but it definitely takes me out what has been a very solid story up to this point. For readers, the issue is, the discussion is a reminder of things we’ve learned before and elsewhere. We know Crane’s plan if you’ve read the comics leading up to this. So, this feels like the moment where the character explains everything to the audience so new individuals can catch up. Is it needed? Maybe. Does it take those following out of the story. A little.

The art by Jorge Jimenez is fantastic. With color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic looks fantastic. There’s just enough “horror” in Batman’s mind to keep up the “fear” aspect of everything. What’s been impressive is the story for the past few issues has played off of the classic visual of Scarecrow without rehashing them. They feel like an homage in some ways that way. The comic looks fantastic in every way.

We also get a back-up story featuring Clownhunter from writer Brandon Thomas, artist Jason Howard, and letterer Clayton Cowles. Generally an ok story, the entry doesn’t quite deliver enough. What’s weird is, if the chapters so far were one comic, things would be a bit better. Than serialized nature of this story feels like it’s hurting it a bit. There’s a flow that’s really solid to it all as Bao sinks into his nightmare but that only really works as the flow continues.

Batman has been an excellent series and Batman #113 does a good job giving us a slight break for new readers and laying out the challenge and what might be ahead. It’s a slight pause to the flow but it’s still not bad and does answer at least one issue, how did Scarecrow mess with Batman’s head. As a slice of the overall story, it’s solid. On it’s own, it’s a bit wobbly though.

Story: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thomas Art: Jorge Jimenez, Jason Howard
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Batman #113

Batman #113

Written by: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thoma
Art by: Jason Howard, Jorge Jimenez

Ghost-Maker reveals a dark revelation about his past connection to Jonathan Crane while Batman puts together the pieces of Scarecrow’s master plan. Using the Unsanity Collective’s technology, the villain plans to detonate a “Fear Bomb” in Gotham City! Backup: Clownhunter has been dosed by the Scarecrow with a deadly fear toxin and is now traveling through his greatest nightmare of Gotham City. Will the Clownhunter center himself and strike back at Scarecrow? Or will he succumb to all his worst fears?!

Batman #113

Preview: Batman #112

Batman #112

Written by: Brandon Thomas, James Tynion IV
Art by: Jason Howard, Jorge Jimenez

A story over a year in the making and set into motion with Infinite Frontier #0, Fear State begins! Batman played into the hands of the Scarecrow, who has unleashed a coordinated attack on Gotham City through his manipulation of Simon Saint and Peacekeeper-01! But there are other forces at work with the emergence of an Anti-Oracle spreading fake news across all channels and inciting terror and violence on the streets of Gotham! Backup: Clownhunter has turned down help from Batman, Leslie Thompkins, the Red Hood, and everyone else who has offered it to him, thinking that he can handle being a vigilante on the streets of Gotham City by himself. But when he takes a shot at fighting the Scarecrow one-on-one, he’ll learn very quickly how much in this city he’s not ready for yet. NEW HERO – PEACEKEEPER X!

Batman #112

Review: Batman #112

Batman #112

With the recent “Alpha” issue of Batman: Fear State acting as a nice primer for those new to the event as well as moving the story along, Batman #112 overlaps it a bit but also sets up the challenge ahead. After months of build-up, Scarecrow and Simon Saint’s plans for Gotham are starting to come together. The issue is, the duo, who were working together, no longer are on the same page. Saint has given Scarecrow what he wants and Gotham is going to suffer.

Writer James Tynion IV delivers an amped up Scarecrow who has moved beyond toxins to inflict his fear. New technology drives this amped up villain who really is proving a challenge for Batman. Add in the fact that Scarecrow has also dispatched Saint’s Peacekeeper-01 and you have a city on the brink of chaos and few able to do anything about it.

Batman #112 is the set-up to the challenge. Tynion uses the issue to focus on how much Scarecrow has beaten down everyone already. Batman realizes there’s something more than toxin going on. Saint realizes that things are off the rails and he needs to get his plan back under control. This is the issue that really sets the bar as to difficult of a fight this will be.

It also overlaps that alpha issue a bit. While that gave a wide view of what’s going on, this issue narrows it down a bit focusing on Batman and Saint. What’s solid is Tynion has built Saint up beyond just some tech-bro with money able to equip his army with the latest toys. There’s a media savvy about him where he uses manipulated perception to get what he wants and move the narrative in his direction. It’s something Batman hasn’t really faced before.

Jorge Jimenez handles the art with Tomeu Morey on color and Clayton Cowles on lettering. The art is fantastic and gives a new take on Scarecrow’s attacks. A lot of artists in the past have delivered trippy visuals that show Batman spiraling out of control as the toxin takes over. While there’s a little of that here, the main focus is in Batman’s eyes and face as he really expresses the fear that’s overcome him. We get the sense that he’s realizing that things aren’t the same as they’ve been in the past. There’s a real sense of tension and chaos building throughout the visuals, they nail the story Tynion is crafting.

Brandon Thomas, Jason Howard, and Cowles deliver a back-up featuring Clownhunter as he takes on Scarecrow. The confrontation feels a little left-field but the story crafted is solid. I’s best to not spoil it but how it plays out is great and feels a bit like a “traditional” Batman story featuring the Dark Knight taking on Scarecrow.

Batman #112 is a really solid start to “Fear State”. It amps up Scarecrow so he feels like a real threat to everyone. Tynion does is best to give us a new take on what we’ve seen before over and over. The visuals too give a slightly different take to what we’ve seen before. And, most importantly, it doesn’t feel like a distraction from the direction the Batman titles are moving when it comes to “Future State” and a possible future Gotham. This is a great example of an event tying into the greater meta story. More of this please.

Story: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thomas Art: Jorge Jimenez, Jason Howard
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Batman #112

Batman #112

Written by: Brandon Thomas, James Tynion IV
Art by: Jason Howard, Jorge Jimenez

A story over a year in the making and set into motion with Infinite Frontier #0, Fear State begins! Batman played into the hands of the Scarecrow, who has unleashed a coordinated attack on Gotham City through his manipulation of Simon Saint and Peacekeeper-01! But there are other forces at work with the emergence of an Anti-Oracle spreading fake news across all channels and inciting terror and violence on the streets of Gotham! Backup: Clownhunter has turned down help from Batman, Leslie Thompkins, the Red Hood, and everyone else who has offered it to him, thinking that he can handle being a vigilante on the streets of Gotham City by himself. But when he takes a shot at fighting the Scarecrow one-on-one, he’ll learn very quickly how much in this city he’s not ready for yet. NEW HERO – PEACEKEEPER X!

Batman #112

C.O.D.E. from Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard Debuts in Skybound X #5

Image and Skybound revealed today that the acclaimed duo of Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard will reunite for the first appearance of their new series C.O.D.Ein Skybound X #5.

C.O.D.E. tells the story of humanity in the far future surviving a technological hellscape through the assistance of a device known as Combat Orb Defense Engines. Seven orb wielders who hail from six different warring factions have set aside their differences to band together and carry out a mission that may be humanity’s last hope to thwart a technological menace that has nearly completely overtaken earth.

This extra-length issue also features the final chapter of “Rick Grimes 2000,” along with new stories from the worlds of The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton from Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer and Gasolina from Sean Mackiewicz and Niko Walter!

Skybound X #5  will be available at  comic book shops  and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, August 4:

  • Skybound X #5 Cover A by David Finch (Diamond Code MAY210052)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover B by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code MAY210053)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover C by Jason Howard (Diamond Code MAY210054)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover D 1:10 Incentive Cover by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code APR219079)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover E 1:10 Incentive Cover by Jason Howard (Diamond Code APR219080)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover F 1:25 Incentive Cover by David Finch (Diamond Code APR219081)
Skybound X #1
Skybound X #5

Rick Grimes 2000 Concludes, Gasolina Returns, and something New from Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard in Skybound X #5

Image Comics and Skybound revealed a first look at Skybound X #5, concluding the weekly event series with…THE DEBUT OF SOMETHING NEW BY ROBERT KIRMAN AND JASON HOWARD!

We’ve also got the final chapter of “Rick Grimes 2000,” along with new stories from the worlds of The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton and Gasolina! Thank goodness Kirkman, Howard, Ryan Ottley, Kyle StarksChris Schweizer, Sean Mackiewicz, and Niko Walter all teamed up for this extra-length issue because it might just be the most talked-about release of the whole darn series!

Skybound X #5  will be available at  comic book shops  and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, August 4:

  • Skybound X #5 Cover A by David Finch (Diamond Code MAY210052)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover B by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code MAY210053)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover C by Jason Howard (Diamond Code MAY210054)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover D 1:10 Incentive Cover by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code APR219079)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover E 1:10 Incentive Cover by Jason Howard (Diamond Code APR219080)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover F 1:25 Incentive Cover by David Finch (Diamond Code APR219081)
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