The rubber finally meets the road in the long-brewing rivalry between Batman and Saint Industries. James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez ramp up the action in order to deliver the exciting turning point of the story leading into Fear State. What is Simon Saint’s next move? What of the Scarecrow’s angle? How will the GCPD and Mayor Nakano respond to this explosive new development?
Tynion IV pivots heavily from the slower pace of Batman #109 to a blockbuster issue rooted in painting a picture of the disillusioned, and power-hungry cop who would become PeaceKeeper-01. It’s a welcome change, delivering on excitement within this story as well as for the future of the Batman brand.
PeaceKeeper-01 is the star of the show here. Tynion IV paints him as someone who is willing to use violence to get back to the way things were, “when [PeaceKeeper-01] was a kid.” He’s frustrated with the powerlessness he feels because of both Batman, “that f*cking turncoat cop-hater Gordon,” and the villains who’ve caused havoc throughout the city. And he has a personal history with many of those villains which informs his current depiction.
This is a depiction rooted very strongly in conversations about modern policing, and it adds a lot of philosophical value to the story Tynion IV is telling. It’s also a refreshing refocus on the classic Batman vs the police dynamic that has characterized so many of the character’s classic stories.
Interestingly, though, PeaceKeeper-01 is able to articulate some legitimate concerns. For example, why should the “regular people of Gotham” trust him when he’s working with Harley Quinn?
Additionally, in the relationships between PeaceKeeper-01, Simon Saint and Mayor Nakano, Tynion IV is saying some very pointed things about the militarization of policing which evoke the same problems that has plagued the U.S. overseas, specifically the relationship between an afraid populace/government official and the corporations who might take advantage of that situation.
This of course plays into the larger threat which Scarecrow is obviously masterminding. It isn’t quite evident yet what that plan is going to entail, but it’s an exciting depiction of the way that character might be able to wield his power.
All of this really interesting plot structure and commentary can stand in contrast with the somewhat ridiculous portrayal of Batman and his comrades at times. It’s just that occasionally the way in which one of them completes a task is the most absurd way they could’ve done it, as opposed to something a bit simpler.
Lastly, despite being important in previous issues, and assumedly being important to the future of the series, Tynion IV doesn’t quite nail down what the purpose of the Unsanity Collective is at this point of the story — that is, other than to be the victim.
Like each issue prior to this, Jimenez absolutely knocks this out of the park on art. This might be his best issue of the series, which is saying something compared to previous issues. In particular, the action he focuses on in this issue is above and beyond in terms of quality.
There’s so much great dynamic movement, which makes every scene feel like an unmissable moment. It’s so often focused on little movements that exacerbate the intentions of each character in every scene.
The use of color also pops throughout the issue. The contrasting blues and oranges draw the reader’s focus into the right points of the image throughout the issue. This has been an unsung element of this book by Tomeu Morey.
Tynion IV and Jimenez kick this book back into gear with one of its most exciting and important issues in months. Almost every element of this book is top notch, and it’s a great advertisement for why readers should return this fall for Fear State.
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