Ray: Fear State continues to unravel, and Batman is behind the eight-ball. He’s barely recovered his sanity, just in time to discover that his entire network has fallen and a mysterious villain has hacked the Oracle network and is disseminating propaganda. The messages, designed to send Gotham into despair, are some of the most subtly unsettling scenes in this run so far. Batman has a plan, including going to Renee Montoya (more reasonable here than she is as Commissioner in other books) to warn her about the Peacekeeper-01. The scenes where he pointedly takes on Magistrate drones to send a message to Simon Saint are peak Batman. But there’s one more problem—he can’t trust his own mind.
With Scarecrow having potentially planted a trap in his mind, he unveils an unexpected—and possibly unethical—new Bat-device. It’s a two-man job, so Batman and Ghost-maker take a trip inside Batman’s mind. Ghost-Maker continues to be one of the best new characters in the book—a morally ambiguous equal who knows most of Bruce’s dirty secrets. But Bruce doesn’t know all of his, and a flashback segment makes that clear as Ghost-Maker reveals his secret past with Scarecrow and we learn just how far back Crane’s insanity truly goes. This issue, like the last, is mostly prelude before a coming massive showdown, and it’s a testament to just how good Tynion’s writing is that it hasn’t lost a step.
Brandon Thomas and Jason Howard’s Clownhunter story is a compelling tale of the young fighter’s descent into madness. As he battles vicious, hulking clowns, it’s never clear what’s really happening and what’s in his fear-gas addled mind. While the story is strong and moves fast, it’s Howard’s art that really stands out here. A two-page spread visualizing the fight as a game of Pac-Man is one of the best visuals in any comic out this week.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.
This post was last modified on September 20, 2021 3:30 pm
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