As Scarecrow draws his first blood in Fear State, he turns the tables on Oracle via his own connection to Gotham, putting the bats on the back foot.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: Fear State – Alpha # 1, on sale now from DC.
After the cataclysmic “Joker War” crossover event, Barbara Gordon opted to retire from her usual superhero role as Batgirl and instead reclaimed the mantle of Oracle. Supporting Batman and his allies with his extensive surveillance network and cyberwar aptitude, Oracle is a vital part of the Bat-Family and the never-ending war on crime. However, as Scarecrow launches his ambitious plot to break down the Dark Knight and take control of Gotham City in “Fear State”, he begins by targeting Oracle and using his best weapons against her.
Oracle is monitoring the situation from its usual headquarters in the Clock Tower, overlooking much of Gotham. As the magistrate removes all communications in the city, effectively isolating Gotham from the outside world, Oracle decides to use its own communications network to relay to the people of the city that the Bat family is on the case and offer them a reinsurance measure. However, when Oracle connects to the city’s communications systems, Scarecrow reveals that the communications failure was just a sham to access Oracle’s network via Trojan and grab it by Batman: State of Fear – Alpha # 1 – by James Tynion IV, Riccardo Federici, Chris Sotomayor and Clayton Cowles.
Locked out of his own system, Oracle and his friends can only watch in horror as Scarecrow transmits a message across town via his communications network, linked to town screens, home televisions, and the mobile phone network. Impersonating Oracle, Scarecrow announces that he is on the run, that Batman is dead, and that the air and water they have been consuming for weeks are fraught with fear toxin. As locals reeling from the spate of announcements, the hijacked Oracle Network informs them to trust only themselves and their loved ones and prepare for war, ending its broadcast in self-destructing Oracle’s supercomputer so that she cannot cancel her message. .
With Oracle effectively removed from the board so soon, the Bat Family’s resident tech expert is largely without his signature technology, leaving the heroes cut off from each other and without Oracle’s support in the sky. Worse than that, the city is now completely in a panic, ready to turn on each other and face the magistrate system that the scarecrow benefactor, Simon Saint, intended to use to lead the course of the city. And while Scarecrow may be bluffing by launching the water and air supply systems with fear toxin instead of his new mind control tech, his message through Oracle’s network may be more than enough for him to succeed.
Future State teased a world where Gotham had become a cyberpunk police state, with a vast surveillance network overseen by the magistrate ruling the city with an iron fist. “Fear State” suggests that the foundation of this surveillance system was Oracle’s own network, seized and hijacked for nefarious purposes against the very people who created it. Oracle is now without its best weapon, but remains determined to defuse the situation before it escalates. As it stands, Scarecrow maintains full control of the situation as “Fear State” unfolds.
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