Well, we’ve finally made it folks. We’ve reached the end of Fear State… Well, sort of. We still have Fear State: Omega, but considering the “story” – or lack thereof – has already wrapped, I really don’t see the point of a one-shot special. I doubt many people will either, because, let’s face it, there wasn’t any payoff here anyway.
The previous issue ended with Peace-Keeper shooting Scarecrow before going toe-to-toe with Batman. This leaves Miracle Molly to sort out the Trauma Machine (what a terrible name) and stop it from going off and inducing fear into the entire city of Gotham. The rest of the Bat-family are left to take down Simon Saint and the Magistrate – which I’d recommend that you read Nightwing #86 before reading this issue or you might be a little confused… Actually, even if you do read Nightwing, you’ll still be confused. While Nightwing delves into the details of what this issue of Batman touches on, both books depict the events rather differently.
Anyway, within a few pages, it’s quite clear that this story is going to wrap up way too easily and way too quickly. As with previous issues, we start with Saint absolutely losing it. Before we can get too far into his temper tantrum, Nightwing, Batgirl (all three), and Red Robin show up to stop him. And… They do so with ease.
The issue then cuts to Batman, Peace-Keeper, Miracle Molly, and Scarecrow. Batman is treated like garbage, yet again, and the focus turns to Miracle Molly. When we last saw her, she was going to be forced to revive Scarecrow and use him to help stop the Trauma Machine. Now, she’s magically figured out exactly what she needs to do and is just plugging away at it. It’s lazy writing. There is a flicker of a good moment where Scarecrow tries to play into Miracle Molly’s motivations and manipulate her, but that ends with a quick, swift slap. Yet again, another thread that ends way too easily.
The story cuts to Eden where Queen Ivy is being confronted by Harley, the Unsanity Collective, and Ivy’s “pure” copy. The group easily talks Queen Ivy into absorbing her pure form – which she does without any pause – and that abruptly stops her vines from wrecking Gotham. I still take issue that she has vines bursting through to the top side without it causing any major damage, but hey… Tyinon is gonna Tynion. Yet again, another thread that ends way too easily.
Unfortunately, things get worse. Poison Ivy – back to being her regular self, I guess – can sense the fear of everyone in Gotham now. Uh… Ok… Sure. Anyway, sensing this fear, she sprouts flowers throughout the city that will release a pheromone throughout Gotham curing everyone of their current fear. Yet again, another thread that ends way too easily. Oh, but this one has a kiss between Harley and Ivy, so if you’re excited by that, then I guess you have something to look forward to.
The plot cuts back to Batman. After roughly a year of being a supporting character in his own book, we finally get to see him do something semi-heroic, and he defeats Peace-Keeper… You guessed it! Another thread that ends way too easily. This does set up a conflict between Batman and Miracle Molly now though. It appears that what Scarecrow said got to her. She’s altered the Trauma Machine back to what it was originally supposed to do when it was the Mind Machine, and she’s going to use it to cure the people of Gotham of their fear once and for all.
She doesn’t have to! Ivy has already done that and Batman proves it by plugging in a news feed to the side of Molly’s head so she’ll know he’s not lying. *Sigh* Look, aside from the fact that the local news got all of this information way too quickly, this is all too much. We spent multiple issues building this story up at a snail’s pace, only for Tynion to write around his story, ignore key characters and their arcs, and just end the event. This is the most uneventful event that I’ve ever read. I know many people like Tynion and his work on Batman. I’m not one of them. I haven’t been from the start because I knew this would be the outcome. The guy can’t execute stories or stick a landing to save his life.
Jorge Jimenez continues to deliver incredible art, and I continue to feel bad that his “big break” is James Tynion’s Batman. We’ve been in a trend now where the only redeemable aspect of Batman has been the art, so I’m hoping that trend changes soon. DC seems willing to consider quality artists for its flagship title, but can’t bring themselves to put a competent writer on the book.
And the fact that Jimenez’s art is so good is part of what makes reading this so frustrating. It feels wasted. There are stunning pages and panels throughout the book, but I’d never recommend someone pay money for it. Hopefully, Jorge will get one of those art books in due time. He deserves it.
I’ll make this quick and easy for you. This chapter is more of the same. It takes place before this issue, so you know how things end. And the big “reveal” is covered in Nightwing. There you go… I saved you some time.
- Save your money. Don’t buy this.
Overall: Say what you want about me, but I’ve given y’all fair warning that this would ultimately be the outcome of Tynion’s run… Nothing. No payoff. No satisfaction. It’s his schtick at this point. The writing has been on the wall since the beginning and after multiple arcs of ignoring the actual meat of his narrative, it was clear that all he had to offer was new characters for the speculator market. If that’s something you want to read, then I guess this is good for you. As for me and my stance, this is easily the worst Batman run I’ve read, and I think time will only prove that point.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.