Review: BATMAN #114
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thomas
Artists: Jorge Jimenez, Jason Howard
Colours: Tomeu Morey, Jason Howard
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman #114: 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!
James Tynion’s Fear State event kicks into high gear in Batman #114, as Peacekeeper-01 faces off against Peacekeeper-01. While Peacekeeper-X has the superior armour and weapons, Peacekeeper-01 manages to defeat him, despite of – or perhaps because of – being under the influence of Scarecrow’s mega toxin.
Batman attempts to stop the conflict, but is hindered by a multitude of Magistrate numbers. Batman is possibly the greatest fighter in the DCU, but it’s still possible to slow him down by putting an entire army of foes in his way. And during that delay, Peacekeeper-01 manages to kill his opponent.
The death of Peacekeeper-X leads Simon Saint to make a decision that could prove catastrophic for Gotham City. Saint gives the order for armour to self-destruct so that it won’t fall into Batman’s hands. But that will cause “a blast that could take out an entire city block”. An explosion that size would have a significant death toll, and will likely push the already danger fear level in Gotham even higher.
Meanwhile, Molly comes to a realization about Scarecrow’s plan. It’s apparently connected to the technology that the Unsanity Collective uses to erase memories. The story ends as she informs Batman, “I know how Scarecrow is getting into people’s minds…I think I know what he’s going to do next. And we’re running out of time”.
The backup story concludes Brandon Thomas’ Clownhunter story. Clownhunter is still stuck in a vision of fighting a monstrous clown. However, he keeps encountering the message “Grab my hand”. It turns out that Bao is still in the midst of the fall that started in the first chapter.
But it turns out the message is coming from Red Robin, who saves Bao from his fall. After giving Bao an antidote for the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Tim asks Bao for assistance in fighting Scarecrow, and for once, Bao agrees.
This is definitely a step forward for the character. Bao has no real training or skills, so continuing his vendetta on his own was likely to lead him to an early death. But Tim can provide Clownhunter with some much needed training and mentoring. And it would better for Bao’s mental health to have a friend. I’m looking forward to seeing what becomes of this partnership.
While I’ve been enjoying the backup stories, I think it may be time to start devoting the entire issue to the main story – at least for the rest of the event. This issue’s story flew by so quickly that it seemed a bit too rushed and left me wanting more. A few extra pages could have alleviated that somewhat. But the story’s brevity was the only drawback for me.
Fear State is moving at a breakneck pace now and I’m immensely enjoying it. Tynion has managed to redefine Batman’s status quo during his run, and I’m sure he has a few surprises left before he finishes his run. Issue #115 can’t come soon enough.