Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
The Cowardly Lot arc rolls on with its second part in this issue. The second part of new story arcs can be pretty hit or miss. Sometimes, they contain the bare minimum required to push a single story forward. Other times, they can exceed all expectations and keep you just as invested as you were when you read the first issue. I think the second part is the most important because the first part garnered your attention, and it’s up to the second part to keep it. Very glad to say that this issue had my full interest and intrigue the entire time.
Picking up the same way the first part of this arc began – with Batman being held captive by The Scarecrow – Batman #107 then quickly picks up where that issue left off. In a cliffhanger, Scarecrow was seemingly in the home of the newly elected Mayor of Gotham, Christopher Nakano. In this issue, it is revealed that it’s not THE Scarecrow, but an actual one made of straw. Recently, there was a big poison gas attack on Arkham Asylum allegedly by The Scarecrow, as seen in Infinite Frontier #0.
Batman deduces that Scarecrow is trying to initiate fear through non-chemical means, using Gotham’s paranoia of another gas attack against them. Through panels of newscasts from Gotham, (which is the best way to do exposition in a Batman comic) there are reports from the new mystery character, Master Wyze of the Unsanity Collective, that the attack is “nothing but a hoax.” Also, gas masks are selling out everywhere and citizens are getting into violent altercations over groceries due to fear of a disease…
I’m all for social commentary in comics and I think this makes sense. It gives us who read this a real sense of what Gotham is enduring since all of us have all went through something eerily similar for a year and counting. Kudos to Tynion for referencing the pandemic in a clever way that makes sense for a Batman comic.
Since I’m praising Tynion, might as well give him props for bringing back Renee Montoya, former GCPD officer, and the second Question, and giving her the new status as GCPD commissioner. I’ve always been a big fan of her character and I hope to see her pop up more throughout the second part of his Batman run. Also, I’m sure Harley Quinn will be featured throughout Batman for the foreseeable future and I’m actually all for it. Like most of you, I’ve been experiencing Harley Quinn fatigue. She’s been everywhere lately and unfortunately as a shell of the character she once was. But here in Batman, I really like her. James Tynion gets her character right and I’m liking this new direction he’s taking her in.
I am also pretty interested to see what’s going to occur with the new characters that are being introduced during this arc. Also looking forward to how Scarecrow will be utilized within this arc, as he hasn’t felt very fresh to me since The New 52. The Unsanity Collective so far sounds kind of dumb to me, but we know pretty much next to nothing about them, so I’ll be open-minded.
As for the art, Jorge Jimenez is absolutely killing it. I don’t think anyone who is familiar with his work would expect anything different. His art seems more refined and moodier since he started post-Future State, but still has that exuberance and flair you’d come to expect. Of course, Tomeu Morey’s colors definitely help sell those last two points as the colors pop almost perfectly.
Also, like most DC books under the Infinite Frontier banner, Batman #107 contains a backup. This issue’s backup is about Ghost-Maker, Batman’s frenemy introduced right before the pause for Future State during Tynion’s initial run. Before I talk about the writing, I would like to praise the art by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz and Tomeu Morey. Ortiz’s pencils are amazing and his art style is a mix of Japanese Manga and western Saturday morning cartoons from the 80s/90s. Now the writing, also by Tynion… Is pretty eh. The story is so/so, but the characterization of Ghost-Maker can be summed up with this: Mom, can we have Fantomex? We Have Fantomex at home. Fantomex at home: Ghost-Maker.