Review: BATMAN #111
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Colours: Tomeu Morey, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman #111: Mayor Nakano announces a crackdown on masked vigilantes just as the Magistrate moves against the Unsanity Collective. Batman attempts to avert a bloodbath, while the Scarecrow makes his final move…”Fear State” is about to begin!
Backup: Ghost-Maker faces his most gruesome adversary yet…the horrific Razorline!
James Tynion IV has been setting up the Fear State event for months. Scarecrow has been setting the stage for his master plan, and now he’s ready to enact it. Tynion has been leading us up to the edge of Fear State, and he concludes the issue by kicking us over that ledge into his event.
Batman #111 begins with another flashforward to Batman being lectured to by Scarecrow while suffering a fear toxin-induced hallucination. Scarecrow hints at the scope of his plan by revealing that his plot is intended to improve Gotham. He says, “I am healing this city. I am teaching it to be better”. But it seems rather doubtful that Crane’s idea of “better” would really be so. And his method of achieving that goal will undoubtedly be horrific.
Batman #111 begins with Peacekeeper-01’s encounter with Miracle Molly and the Unsanity Collective. Molly is smart enough to realize that Simon Saint’s enforcer has no intention of taking them in peacefully. She also shows off her technological prowess, using one of her inventions to fight back against Peacekeeper-01.
Batman, along with Ghost-Maker, comes to the Collective’s aid. With this, it appears that Batman and the Collective have become allies. I wonder if they will remain on friendly terms after Fear State, or if they will prove to be a problem for Batman.
At Scarecrow’s headquarters in the ruins of Arkham Asylum, Simon Saint is congratulating him on the success of their plan. Saint attempts to call Scarecrow off now that Gotham has reached the level of fear that Saint requires to get the Gotham City government to buy into his plans for Magistrate. However, Scarecrow reveals that he has only just gotten started. Saint realizes that he’s not really been Crane’s partner, but his pawn.
And Crane injects Peacekeeper-01 with the highest dose of fear toxin that he’s ever used. Scarecrow doesn’t know exactly what effect this will have on him. However, considering that he’s already an unbalanced individual, I doubt it’s going to be any good.
And it is this point at which Batman arrives on the scene, falling into Crane’s clutches. It would appear that this is where the story catches up with the flashforwards, and propels us into Fear State.
We also get another chapter in the Ghost-Maker backup story. Like the previous chapters, one of Madame Midas’ hirelings tells us a story of a previous encounter with Ghost-Maker. This chapter’s villain is Razorwire, who has made a lifetime study of pain, and the power that can be derived from it.
In the story, Razorwire has Ghost-Maker at his mercy, hung in a web of literal razor wire. The villain attempts to use the power of pain against Ghost-Maker. However, he discovers that the hero is a greater master of that power than himself.
There is an interesting irony in this story. Ghost-Maker defeats Razorwire by removing the villain’s ability to feel pain. This has the effect of cutting Razorwire off from his source of power. It seems rather strange that a hero would best a foe by ending his pain rather than inflicting it on him.
No negatives – yet, anyway. Tynion has given us a massive build-up to Fear State. This is a good thing, but does introduce the danger that the event will not live up to that build-up. Tynion is clearly capable of giving us a blow-out story that will live up to the hype, so I’m not too worried about this. But we will have wait and see if he succeeds in doing so.
I don’t mind that the Ghost-Maker story will continued (and presumably conclude) in the next Annual. After all, Tynion likely will need to devote the entire page count to the main story during Fear State. But why do we have to wait until November for that Annual? Yeah, he’s probably going to be too busy with Fear State. But it seems like poor planning to me.
Batman #111 is the culmination of Tynion’s build-up to Fear State. Given how amazing Joker War was, I expect that Fear State will prove just as great. I will be eagerly watching to see if Tynion can deliver with this event story.