Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): Fear State by Mariko Tamaki

Title: Batman: Detective Comics.
Volume: 2.
Story Arc
: Fear State.
Universe: Infinite Frontier.
Writer(s): Mariko Tamaki, dan Watters (short story), Matthew Rosenberg (short story), Stephane Phillips (short story).
Artist(s): Dan Mora, VIKTOR BOGDANOVIC, Max Raynor (short story), Darick Robertson (short story), David Lapham (short story).
Inker(s): Daniel Henriques & Viktor Bogdanovic.
Colourist(s): Jordie Bellaire, Arif Prianto (short story), Diego Rodriguez (short story), Trish Mulvhll.
Letterer(s): Abitya Bidikar, Rob Leigh (short story).
Publisher: DC Comics.

Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: July 5th, 2022.
Pages: 240.
Genre(s): Comics, Superheroes, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781779515551.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Previously in Batman: Detective Comics (Infinite Frontier):
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 1): Neighborhood by Mariko Tamaki.


Released around the same period as writer James Tynion IV’s Fear State story arc during his time as the leading writer of the Batman comic book series, this latest volume in writer Mariko Tamaki’s Detective Comics: Batman comic book series sees Batman get an unhealthy dose of an induced state of fear as he confronts evil, unlike anything he’s faced before, desperately clinging onto his own sanity and sense of justice as evil splurges out into Gotham city. Collecting issues #1040-1046 of Detective Comics and the one-shot issue Batman Secret Files: Huntress #1, this volume sees the return of artist Dan Mora and colourist Jodie Bellaire alongside writer Mariko Tamaki as Batman looks to save Gotham from drowning in a parasitic chaos that would only cause more harm than good to the city’s foundation, already trying to recuperate from its recent struggles.

What is Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): Fear State about? Following the events in Neighborhood, Bruce Wayne surrenders himself once more for the sake of Batman, remaining the prime suspect in the murders of Sarah and Lydia. Meanwhile, the Penguin looks to help Mr. Worth with his new obsession with Bruce Wayne and Batman and presents to him Vile, now also known as the Jury, as the ultimate weapon in his quest for vengeance. Gotham also sees its underground realm infected, leading to a desperate and terrifying encounter where Mayor Nakano must accept Batman’s helping hand if he and his city is to survive what’s growing below their very feet, and that, even if he doesn’t believe that the city needs costumed heroes to thrive toward a new world.

“Men without reason are still dangerous, sure… But they just the tip of the iceberg… where monsters are concerned.”

— Mariko Tamaki

Despite being a decent adventure for what it is, this volume shows signs of a writer starting to lose control of the multiple plot threads that they want to tackle. With the first volume, writer Mariko Tamaki does an impressive job of resetting the life of Bruce Wayne, relocating him, and presenting him as a civilian trying to fit into his neighbourhood while figuring out new ways to be Batman and save Gotham from trouble that it shelters. Instead of moving forward with new dilemmas, she insists on bringing back Vile and making Batman his own enemy, requiring the help of the Huntress, who has been getting a lot more attention in her comic book run so far, and Barbara Gordon. The first half of the volume is, however, quickly dealt with, as a too-easy resolution comes too promptly to allow readers to properly enjoy the moments of chaos and the central idea of a Batman unchained.

The second part of the volume has writer Mariko Tamaki juggle with the ongoing Fear State comic book event but allows her to focus her attention on Batman’s complicated political relationship with Mayor Namako. The story veers toward a horror thriller where both Batman and Mayor Namako race against time to save each other from impending doom with a giant parasite monster on the verge of escaping and wreaking havoc on Gotham City. Once more, although fun and nothing more, it is the brutally prompt resolution that makes the story somewhat disappointing, preventing writer Mariko Tamaki from properly utilizing the heroes of Gotham City in their efforts to save their city amidst adversity. It also quickly introduces and then un-introduces a new and intriguing villain, Nero XIX, who looked to overthrow Mayor Nakano, making it seem like a missed opportunity more than anything else.

“The true terror of this world is the endless possibilities… The monsters yet to be born.”

— Mariko Tamaki

The story then ends with an epilogue chapter teasing Batman’s hiatus and the inevitable construction of an Arkham Tower where Dr. Meridian would lead and overlook the promotion of a new therapy focused on the mental health of its evil detainees. The volume also contains several short stories, mostly inconsequential to the main narrative, such as a tale serving as a swan song for Kirk Langstrom’s good deeds after his villainous days as Man-Bat, a story to promote a new Task Force Z comic book series featuring the newly-introduced journalist Deb Donovan (who has been promoted so far as a top-notch, do-only-good journalist in Gotham) and Red Hood, and a story revisiting the foundations of Arkham Asylum and the tragedies that give birth to these institutions. Unfortunately, none of these stories really matter at the end of the day, mostly only there as a distraction.

When it comes to artwork, there’s absolutely nothing to reproach of artist Dan Mora’s visual style. His clear, expressive, and sharp style gives Gotham City and all of its occupants a life of its own. Just looking at the conceptual designs of his characters showcases an exquisite grasp of these characters and this gloomy and beaten world. With a little bit of help from artist Viktor Bogdanovic for one particular issue, right when things really got into the more horrifying aspects of the main story, artist Dan Mora delivers some fantastic panels that elevate writer Mariko Tamaki’s ideas in quality, despite being restricted to remaining superficial due to the script at hand. Nevertheless, some excellent moments were still beautifully drawn, helping a lot in attenuating the flaws present in this volume. It’s also worth mentioning that colourist Jodie Bellaire, as she’s done many times in the past, continues to contribute wonderfully in terms of tones and shading.

Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): Fear State is a prudent story arc with an average execution that juggles with ongoing events and ventures into a little bit of horror and monster mayhem.



19 thoughts on “Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): Fear State by Mariko Tamaki

  1. You mention the writer having to juggle with a comic book event. Are the publishers still doing one of these each summer? Or are they more or less common than that these days?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s two kinds of events happening every now and then through out a year: 1) cosmic event that affects the whole DC universe or 2) a more specific region event that affects a city and anyone in it. In this case, it’s the second kind of events and it mostly just affects Gotham city because of the whole Fear State saga that was written up in the main Batman comic book series. As for the first kind of event, there’s at least one every year or so. It’s like an overarching storyline from multiple comic book series that finally happens with a big bad villain or something that can be considered a level S threat hahah


  2. I haven’t read Batman in s olong. I’m a little intrigued by the horror elements, or the horror adjacent elements anyway, but sounds like it was kind of average in the end. The art sounds fabulous. the only writer here I’m familiar with is Lapham, but sounds like the side stories were unfortunately just okay.

    Liked by 1 person

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