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Preview: Batman #117

Batman #117

Written by: Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan, James Tynion IV
Art by: Jorge Corona, Jorge Jimenez

As the full scope of the Scarecrow’s plans is revealed, a bloodied Dark Knight fights for his life, and all the lives in Gotham City, against an unrelenting, unstoppable opponent. The shocking conclusion to “Fear State” is here…Will Batman ever be the same? Backup: After what happened in the Magistrate’s Skybase-01, nowhere is safe, and the Batgirls hide out in a hotel room until Babs arrives offering a plan for their future. Seer, the “Anti-Oracle,” is revealed here! And who they are will make you question everything you see moving forward in Gotham…

Batman #117

Preview: Batman #116

Batman #116

Art by: Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan, James Tynion IV
Written by: Jorge Corona, Jorge Jimenez

The only thing standing between an insane, heavily armed Peacekeeper-01 and a high body count in Gotham City is Batman. Their first bout didn’t go well for the Dark Knight, but the city is on the line and he can’t let the Scarecrow’s master plan come to fruition…and whose side is Miracle Molly truly on? The penultimate chapter of “Fear State”! Backup: With the Bat comms unreliable, Oracle has instructed the Batgirls to stay in the Clock Tower while she and Nightwing investigate who’s behind the Oracle Network hacks. But with the Magistrate’s forces instructed to attack the Clock Tower, will the Batgirls make it out before it’s too late?

Batman #116

Review: Batman #116

Batman #116

Fear State” continues in part 5 that has everything coming together as Batman and Miracle Molly confront the Scarecrow. Batman #116 is fully of action and drama with some fantastic moments.

James Tynion IV does an excellent job of bringing so much together in Batman #116. There’s really dramatic and “cinematic” moments that highlight an issue that at times feels epic at scale. Balanced well are Batman and Miracle Mommy taking on Scarecrow, some more on Magistrate-01, Ivy, and so much more. It’s an issue that’s bursting from the seems with so much packed in. So, lets take each moment at a time.

Saint’s forces have invaded Ivy’s lair. Standing against them is Ghost-Maker who brings a swashbuckling classic style to the fight. For a character that was a shrug to start, he’s grown into one I really like delivering an over the top style in everything. But, this is all going on in Ivy’s lair. She’s not too happy with it all and the series has hinted that we should expect something big for her in the future. That begins here in a moment that feels like it should be on a movie screen. Epic is an understatement and could be an entire issue and event by itself.

Batman and Miracle Molly’s adventure has them confronting Scarecrow. Tynion delivers a lot of emotion with that as Scarecrow does his thing. But, it also turns into a rather shocking moment as well. It leads to a new confrontation between Magistrate-01 and Batman and a double-page spread of action that’s fantastic. One panel in particular is amazing as a blade gets a bit close to Batman. This has summer popcorn film all about it.

And that’s just a small bit of an issue that feels like a popcorn flick on the printed page.

The art by Jorge Jimenez is fantastic. With color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the issue’s visuals are everything you’d want from a comic book. It pops in every sense with amazing colors and a great flow to it all. What’s great is that the team gives us some visuals that feel like “traditional” Batman while putting on their own spin. Magistrate-01 confronting Batman is fantastic with two moments really standing out visually. Scarecrow’s mask being taken off feels terrorizing for a brief moment, the madness unleashed. The series has a style that’s all its own blending the past with the neon manga-inspired style of “Future State”.

We also get a backup story by Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad with art by Jorge Corona, color by Sarah Stern, and lettering by Becca Carey. Stephanie and Cass are in the tower with Barbara long gone. They’re confronted by Simon Saint’s team who do the unthinkable. It’s a sliver of a story but the impact feels like it’s one that’ll reverberate for years to come. It also sets up an intriguing dynamic for everything to come. It also again shows the extreme that Saint and his forces will go.

Batman #116 is another solid chapter of “Fear State”. There’s an epic scale to it all yet also feels like so much is packed into the issue. None of it feels shorted at all. It’s an impressive balancing act and a highlight of one of the best Batman storylines in years.

Story: James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad Art: Jorge Jimenez, Jorge Corona
Color: Tomeu Morey, Sarah Stern Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Becca Carey
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics TFAW

Preview: Batman #116

Batman #116

Art by: Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan, James Tynion IV
Written by: Jorge Corona, Jorge Jimenez

The only thing standing between an insane, heavily armed Peacekeeper-01 and a high body count in Gotham City is Batman. Their first bout didn’t go well for the Dark Knight, but the city is on the line and he can’t let the Scarecrow’s master plan come to fruition…and whose side is Miracle Molly truly on? The penultimate chapter of “Fear State”! Backup: With the Bat comms unreliable, Oracle has instructed the Batgirls to stay in the Clock Tower while she and Nightwing investigate who’s behind the Oracle Network hacks. But with the Magistrate’s forces instructed to attack the Clock Tower, will the Batgirls make it out before it’s too late?

Batman #116

Preview: Batman #115

Batman #115

Written by: Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan, James Tynion IV
Art by: Bengal, Jorge Corona, Jorge Jimenez

Batman and Miracle Molly are all that stands between Gotham City and absolute insanity! But an unhinged Simon Saint brings all the resources of the Magistrate to bear on the Dark Knight…is victory at hand for the Scarecrow? Back-Up: Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown have each other’s backs no matter what-even if it means punching some Magistrate soldier butt, and putting an even bigger target on their backs. Meanwhile, a mysterious Anti-Oracle character finally makes contact directly with Babs and has a few things to say about the unethical nature of Oracle’s powers, and what they think should be done about it.

Batman #115

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
Almost American
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