The Fear State crossover is nearly at an end, and it’s clear this isn’t going to be a clean win for our heroes. So what does Batman #116 set up for the future state of the Dark Knight?
This run’s penultimate issue is a chaotic sprint for the finish line. It works in a lot of places, and I’m really curious to see where the last issue takes us. It comes from James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles.
Gotham is a ticking time bomb. Scarecrow has directed his war to Queen Ivy, knowing the plant elemental could bring Gotham to ruin. The only hope the city has is Batman, but standing between him and what he needs to do to save the city is the hulking, broken form of Peacekeeper-01…
There is a lot going on in this issue, and that’s to both its benefit and detriment. The pace means the story doesn’t ever let up, keeping the reader engaged in every bit of the action. It creates a feeling of a ticking clock, growing closer and closer to an alarm at the end that will spell doom for Gotham. It also gives Batman’s actions real stakes, as there’s a little doubt that he may not succeed- after all, no one can stop this many threads all at once.
However, it is incredibly chaotic. Scenes change quickly, and some plot threads are brought back from earlier or completely introduced new from the blue. Some of the characters aren’t given nearly enough page time to make us care about the stakes when they’re placed in danger, while others who may help us care are missing entirely. It feels like a madcap sprint to a finish line, while trying to pack as much in before the end as possible.
What makes this issue more than worth it is the art. This is a stunning showing from Jimenez and Morey. Jimenez takes every bit of script given to him and puts it on the page in stunning detail. He’s able to make every action beat and every character moment have the impact it needs, including two back to back splash pages of Peacekeeper and Batman that made my jaw drop. Morey’s color art makes Gotham come to vibrant life on the page, especially in the Ivy sequences that could have just been dark and muddy.
I genuinely hope next issue sticks the landing, because this run deserves a triumphant dash across the finish line.
Batman #116 is available now from DC Comics.
A cluttered yet fun story is elevated by absolutely stunning art in this issue. This is a book that anyone reading comics should pick up for the art alone.