Review: BATMAN #117
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colors: Tomeu Morey, Sarah Stern
Letters: Clayton Cowles, Becca Carey
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman #117: As the full scope of the Scarecrow’s plans is revealed, a bloodied Dark Knight fights for his life, and all the lives in Gotham City, against an unrelenting, unstoppable opponent. The shocking conclusion to “Fear State” is here… will Batman ever be the same again?
Backup: After what happened in the Magistrate’s Skybase-01, nowhere is safe, and the Batgirls hide out in a hotel room until Babs arrives offering a plan for their future. Seer, the “Anti-Oracle,” is revealed here! And who they are will make you question everything you see moving forward in Gotham…
The “Fear State” event reaches its climax in Batman #117, James Tynion IV’s final issue on the title. However, before he departs the Gotham books, Tynion still has the story’s denouement in Batman: Fear State Omega, as well as the Batman 2021 Annual and a few more issues of The Joker.
Batman faces off against Peacekeeper-01, who has apparently been empowered by Scarecrow’s process of fear-inspired evolution. Combined with the technological enhancements given to him by Simon Saint, this makes him a formidable opponent. But he still proves to be no match for the Dark Knight. However, he likely wasn’t fighting at top form, so he might prove more of a problem for Batman when he inevitably returns.
However, once Batman defeats Peacekeeper-01, he then has to deal with Miracle Molly. While she had been fighting alongside Batman to stop Scarecrow, Molly sees her chance to save Gotham her way. Seeing Gotham as a lost cause, she intends to use Scarecrow’s fear bomb to erase the memory of everyone in Gotham.
But the Dark Knight doesn’t stop Molly with violence. Instead, he talks her down. He tells her of his belief that the people of Gotham are capable of great good and can survive anything, regardless of how bleak the current situation seems. He even unmasks in front of Molly. It will be interesting to see if this decision comes back to bite him. Molly could use Bruce’s secret identity against him if they ever find themselves at odds in the future.
We also see Harley talk Queen Ivy to merge with her other self to once again become a whole Poison Ivy. It’s great to see Harley and Ivy reunited again. This makes me wonder if Ivy will be joining the cast of Harley’s own title. Hopefully, they will pick up their relationship where they left off.
With the main conflict resolved, we now have to wait until Fear State: Omega #1 to see the aftermath of “Fear State”. Tynion may be moving on, but he has introduced some major changes to the status quo of the Gotham books. So, it will be interesting to see if these changes are kept, discarded. Or perhaps there will be new changes coming out of Fear State.
Batman #117 also contains the third installment of Becky Cloon and Michael W. Conrad’s Batgirls story. This preview of the story serves as a preview for a new Batgirls series. And if this story is any indication, it looks to be a winner.
I love the idea to include Barbara, Stephanie, and Cassie as multiple Batgirls – well except for Bette Kane. Perhaps she might make a guest appearance as Flamebird in the new title.
I had been worried that the conclusion of Fear State might not live up to the build-up that Tynion has given it. But I didn’t have to worry. I was completely satisfied with the way the conflict was resolved. However, I will reserve full judgment on the story until after I read Fear State: Omega.
I have also been hoping for some indication that the Bat-family books are locked on an unchangeable course towards Future Stare. While Future State is a fun exploration of a possible future of Gotham, I really don’t think it would be a very good permanent status quo. Fear State has thus far not deviated from moving towards Future State. However, it is quite possible that Tynion’s epilogue in Fear State might provide some clues one way or another. So, again I’ll reserve judgment.
With Batman #117, James Tynion IV has ended his run on Batman with a bang, and there’s no denying that he’s made his mark on Batman and Gotham City. While I enjoyed his work on the title, I also have high hopes that incoming writer Joshua Williamson will bring some great Batman stories as well.