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