Review: BATMAN #110
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Jorge Jimenez, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Colours: Tomeu Morey, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman #110: Main: Batman’s bloody, no-holds-barred fight with Magistrate enforcer Peacekeeper-01 rages on in epic fashion! Simon Saint’s master plan comes to fruition as his Magistrate program makes its move on Gotham City and things are about to heat up! (Not in a good way!)
Backup: The Instigator versus Ghost-Maker in a kung fu showdown! Need we say more?
Batman #110 opens with another flash forward to Batman’s upcoming conflict with Scarecrow. The villain makes the pronouncement, “The Fear State is nearly upon us”, hinting at the imminent event by that name. And we can see threads of the story Tynion has been weaving are coming together.
Peacekeeper-01 is proving to be somewhat more of a threat that he appears at first glance. His cybernetic enhancements allow him to fight Batman to a draw, and the Dark Knight is forced to retreat. Being capable of such a feat gives shows a glimmer of how he could rise to be the big baddie in the Future State timeline.
Any doubts that we have about his malevolent intentions are completely eliminated in this story. Harley recalls Peacekeeper-01’s career as an Arkham guard: “that guy was a… sadist. Insecurities in all the wrong places. He kept getting in trouble with Dr. Arkham for roughing up inmates”.
But it’s really driven home when he raids the nearly-abandoned headquarters to find only Miracle Molly and a young girl called Squeak. Molly attempts to surrender peacefully. However, Peacekeeper-01 reports that he’s encountering armed resistance, requesting permission to use lethal force against them. Even worse, his request is granted.
The scene where Batman leaps from a skyscraper to be caught be Ghost-Maker is quite impressive. I love how it shows the trust Batman puts in his allies to make such a leap, confident that Ghost-Maker will be there to catch him. Of course, if Ghost-Maker hadn’t caught him, Bruce assures him that, “I would have figured something else out”. Ghost-Maker is doubtful, but Batman is the epitome of resourcefulness.
In the Ghost-Maker backup story, the hero continues his assault on Madame Midas’ island fortress. Like the previous chapters, this one focuses on one of the villains working for Madame Midas, telling of a previous encounter with Ghost-Maker.
The villain this time is called Instigator, who seems akin to Killer Croc or Sobek – a cross between an alligator and a man. Madame Midas desires to take Ghost-Maker’s costume and reverse-engineer the technology in it. But Instigator tells her, “I was like you once. I though all o the Ghost-Maker’s power lay in his armour. That he used it as a crutch”.
He then tells of his previous encounter with Ghost-Maker to illustrate that Ghost-Maker is no less formidable without his uniform. During this tale, we see Ghost-Maker facing instigator without the benefit of his costume, using pure skill and stamina to defeat the much stronger foe.
This serves to underscore that Ghost-Maker’s prowess in on a par with Batman’s. This whole story arc seems to be geared to showing readers exactly what Ghost-Maker is capable of. He is a truly formidable crimefighter. He has already proven to be a boon to Batman as an ally, but he could also make for a deadly opponent if they have a falling out.
Things are clearly progressing towards the future timeline we have seen in the Future State books. With each issue, that future appears to be more inevitable. However, while I enjoyed that event, I don’t really relish the idea of that future timeline becoming the status quo of the Batman books. I’ve been hoping that DC would keep Future State as a possible future, rather than making it the current state of affairs. But it does serve to amp up the suspense as events seems to be falling in line with that future.
I’m not sure how I feel about where the Batman books are heading, but I’m loving the journey towards that destination. Batman #110 is full of the kind of action-packed excitement that I love to read in a comic. I can hardly wait to see what Tynion has in store for us during the Fear State event.