The latest Batman event has officially begun. After last week’s prelude issue, Fear State Alpha #0, provided a final run-through of the story leading up to this, Batman #112 comes to kick off the event proper. All the pieces are in position and there’s no turning back: this event promises to shape the future of both Gotham and its Caped Crusader. Will the dark vision of Future State come to pass? Or is there still time to change the course of the future?
After being sidelined for the past several issues, Batman is back in action. However, not a ton happens in the issue besides more setup. We spend the bulk of the issue catching Batman up with the rest of the Bat-family while Gotham succumbs to Scarecrow’s machinations. After so many issues of getting everything into position for Fear State, one would hope to see some strong forward momentum here. Instead we get more build up, more re-explaining of past plot points and more promises of things to come. What the issue promises is engaging, but it remains to be seen if it pays off the deeper we go into Fear State.
One of the most promising story threads comes from Simon Saint and his Peacekeeper-01. A lot of page time is devoted to Simon as he and the Magistrate program unilaterally take over Gotham’s media outlets. Eerily enough, one can feel some startling parallels between this dystopia and real world media conglomerates. It remains to be seen how this thread will continue, but it’s definitely going in a unique direction.
Jorge Jimenez’s artwork continues to knock it out of the park here. Despite the pacing issues, this comic looks killer. Every panel sells the disorder and fear that’s consuming Gotham. Whether it’s off kilter paneling or a hazy distortion effect, it all works together to create an uneasy tension. Tomeu Morey’s coloring here also blends well. Glowing greens and other vibrant hues leap off the pages and give the setting a neon fever dream quality. The artwork here does a lot of heavy lifting by providing a brilliantly illustrated issue.
There’s also fun visual flair that pops throughout. Question marks appear above confused heads alongside more jagged lines above characters to emphasize anger or shock. These little touches work to the issue’s favor and add a distinct texture.
A brief Clownhunter backup is also included here. The first installment in a three-part arc called “DIY” finds Clownhunter getting entangled with Scarecrow. The most noteworthy aspect here is Howard Jason’s artwork. He gives the short an exaggerated and cartoony style that fits well and is a visual treat. Besides the art, though, there’s not much to write home about at this point in the backup’s story.
Fans of James Tynion’s run thus far will find a lot of enjoyment here. All of the new characters and seeds he’s planted are slowly coming to fruition. Fear State holds a lot of promise for the Bat-titles, but the jury is still out on how game-changing this event will turn out to be. As it stands, Fear State is off to a steady start backed by brilliant art.
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