The Unsanity Collective sounds like a surreal group of villains from Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. However, in Batman #108, the Collective actually becomes one of the more profound story elements in DC canon in years.
It’s a deftly handled story element, giving the new Gotham a new perspective. However, it’s put parallel with one of the more terrifying elements of the Future State stories. All together, it looks like Gotham is about to become a very dangerous place thanks to James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles.
Batman has infiltrated the Unsanity Collective, but it’s not going well for the Dark Knight. However, the young tech genius, Miracle Molly has taken sympathy on him and shows him why the group has begun robbing the rich to fund their activities. Meanwhile, both the Scarecrow and Simon Saint have their own plans for Gotham, plans more sinister and frightening than Batman could dream.
I never thought that a group of weird mind-wiped crooks could be as meaningful as Tynion writes them here. In this single issue, they’ve not just had their motives and plans laid out, but the group has become sympathetic and incredibly interesting. It’s so well developed that Molly almost talks not just the reader into fully taking their side, but Bruce Wayne as well.
When juxtaposed with the other elements of the story though, the depth of the Unsanity Collective makes Saint all the more frightening. The tech genius is building a terrifying vision of Gotham- a fascist state run by capitalism and fear. Whether Saint and Scarecrow are in it together or not is irrelevant at this point, because its leading to an interesting war that will be as much spiritual as it is physical.
On the art side, I think Jimenez and Morey are continuing to be one of the best art teams in comics right now, with only Larraz and Gracia on their level. Jimenez’s Gotham is a stunning cityscape, with deep shadows and towering heights, which Morey transforms into a cyberpunk paradise. This is simply DC’s best looking book right now.
One of the best moments of the issue is seeing Bruce Wayne transform from Matches Malone to the Dark Knight just before joining Miracle Molly on an aerial tour of Gotham. Jimenez captures the entire transformation in just changes to Bruce’s posture and body language. Appearance-wise, he only ditches the fake mustache and ties a bandana over his face, but how he walks, stands, and even quietly listens to Molly is completely different than he was just a few pages before.
Combining all that together, the series is perhaps the best it’s been in years. This isn’t a standard superhero tale by any stretch and that’s to its advantage. It’ll be fascinating to see where it goes from here.
Batman #108 is available now from DC Comics.
The series moves into much deeper territory than just the typical capes comic. The philosophical gets as deep as the building physical conflict. The art team puts in stunning work while the story gets way more interesting than a standard Batman comic.