Batman: Fear State Omega #1 Review: Clearing the Decks for More Batman

With James Tynion IV's run on Batman at an end and the "Fear State" event ostensibly over, there are some loose ends to tie up. That's what Batman: Fear State Omega #1 is for with the comic seeing Batman bring Scarecrow to justice while also offering up a montage of sorts to conclude the stories of other major players in the "Fear State" arc. It's a convenient and rather tidy way to close off Tynion's run, but while it will satisfy some Batman readers in that it gives a distinct sense of closure, one can't help but walk away from the issue feeling as though it was all very superficial – a very slick way to shuffle characters around, clearing the board for the next creative team while also never really dealing with any of the issues presented over the course of the run.

In the issue, Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. Scarecrow has been temporarily held at the GCPD Central Precinct for about a month while Arkham Tower is prepared for inmates. However, during his transport to the tower, Scarecrow attempts to escape and is thwarted by Batman. Taking matters into his own hands, Batman sets off to deliver Scarecrow to Arkham Tower via Batmobile and from there the story enters recap mode with its montage of what happened to everyone else. Miracle Molly testified about Simon Saint and ended up going to prison for the whole of the Unsanity Collective. With the Magistrate no more, Simon Saint was on house arrest but ends up working for Amanda Waller. Peacekeeper-01 has escaped. Poison Ivy and Harley snuggle and nap, though Ivy also chastises the Gardner for acting against her will. Clownhunter even factors in with Batman thanking him for help and Ghost-Maker ultimately offering to train a still-belligerent and unhinged Clownhunter. Eventually, after what feels like a slightly smug victory tour, Batman delivers Scarecrow to Arkham Tower where he's turned over to none other than Dr. Chase Meridian and a new day in Gotham begins.

I don't usually do a running synopsis of the events of a comic, but it felt important to do so here because it is all very superficial. Functionally, there's nothing wrong here. It's a pretty direct "here's what happened" and nothing more. But given how hyped "Fear State" and much of Tynion's run were, the superficiality feels disappointing. More than that, it feels derivative, particularly with the appearance of Dr. Chase Meridian, a character best known to fans of the film Batman Forever. The use of the character echoes Tom King's use of Andrea Beaumont in Batman/Catwoman, which considering the plethora of original characters Tynion brought to his run reads weakly.

There are also some editorial hiccups with the issue and it's almost as though Tynion can't keep his own canon straight, particularly with Clownhunter. Outside of that, some of the outcomes just feel wrong (particularly Miracle Molly's) and ultimately, the whole thing just lands in mediocre territory. The art, at least, is generally nice to look at. Still, it's an issue that isn't good, but it isn't bad. At least the table is bussed, as it were, for what comes next and hopefully Batman as a title can move forward.

Published by DC Comics

On November 30, 2021

Written by James Tynion IV

Art by Riccardo Federici, Christian Duce, Ryan Benjamin, Guillem March, and Trevor Hairsine

Colors by Chris Sotomayor

Letters by Clayton Cowles 

Cover by Jamal Campbell