In superhero comics, sometimes a fist fight is a necessary plot device. In some cases, it’s even a necessary evil — something to engage readers who aren’t really engaged in the plot. In Batman #110 though, the creative team pulls off an incredibly unique take on the plot device.
The Magistrate and their enforcer Peacekeeper-1 are active, and it appears that the dystopian Gotham of Future State is about to be realized. But Batman might be facing even bigger problems as this fall’s Bat-crossover, “Fear State,” looms tall over events. The issue comes from James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles.
Batman is face-to-face with the man now known as Peacekeeper-1. The conflict could tear Gotham apart, as Simon Saint’s Magistrate goes online across Gotham City. Now, Batman and his allies have mere moments to stop them, and save the lives of peaceful Gotham citizens…
This is far from Tynion’s strongest issue to date, but he still does some very fun things to keep this issue feeling fresh. The opening, setting up the next phase of the story, only features a single panel of the fight on each page as we check in on Saint, Mayor Nakano, the Unsanity Collective, and the Bat-family. It’s fast paced and intense. From there, he steps back and lets Jimenez go nuts with the action until the fight ends, and the rest of the issue sets up the remainder of the arc. It’s a transition issue, but so much happens that it kept me engaged the entire time.
Meanwhile, the entire issue is a massive showcase for Jimenez and Morey. The layouts are chaotic, which matches the frenzied nature of the fight. Jimenez shows with every blow that Peacemaker-1 is Batman’s equal — or his better — just by having the impact feel real or showing Batman loosing control. Best of all: the fight simply feels real. That’s the best thing about it. The colors take more of a back seat in this issue, but Morey still makes them pop for emphasis, especially with the reds around Saint as he secretly tears the city apart. Cowles also stands out in this issue, juggling bubbles, captions and shifting fonts; changing all in a way which feels natural, but also creates an illusion of a soundscape.
The Fear State is looming and Gotham is about to become a dystopia once again. It’ll be fun to see how our heroes get out of this.
Batman #110 is available now from DC Comics.
There’s no denying that this might be the single most talented creative team in superhero comics right now. Not every issue is solid gold, but overall this is one of the most enjoyable superhero books to read month after month.