In Batman: Fear State – Alpha, a new force has taken control of Gotham City and uses the Joker’s best tactics to increase his might.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: Fear State – Alpha # 1, on sale now from DC.
One of Batman’s main Future state the villains, the Magistrate, work with Scarecrow to drive Gotham into a state of widespread fear, and they use classic Joker tactics to achieve it. The Magistrate is a private paramilitary police force founded by billionaire tech industrialist Simon Saint. Although this is a relatively new organization, the Magistrate of Saint is quickly becoming one of the most terribly powerful groups in Gotham.
Now Saint uses one of the Joker’s oldest tricks to gain even more power. He scares the people of Gotham for their safety, so they will look to him to save them, even if he causes the very problems they fear. And all he needs is media control, as seen in Batman: State of Fear – Alpha # 1 (by James Tynion IV, Riccardo Federici, Chris Sotomayor and Clayton Cowles).
Saint is a Silicon Valley billionaire who made his fortune in tech. He visited the Scarecrow in Arkham Asylum and spoke to the psychologist-turned-supervillain about his doctoral thesis on the concept of a “state of fear,” or, as the comic describes, “a means of help a society to evolve by delivering a huge shock to its system. ” However, there is a serious problem that both are aware of: implementing such a generalized shock is no easy task.
Both are taking advantage of the events of the recent Jokers war, in which the Clown Prince of Gotham stole the fortune of Batman’s family and its entire arsenal of paramilitary equipment and used them to wreak havoc in the city. In the wake of widespread terror, Simon Saint used his wealth to fund a massive media campaign that exploited people’s trauma. With the help of the main media outlets, he stoked people’s fears and made them wary of the city police even more than they already were. In response, they sought safety and protection elsewhere, turning to his newly formed paramilitary police, the magistrate.
The irony here is that the Joker not only caused the circumstances that Saint took advantage of, but he also used the exact same tactics. When he first appeared in Batman # 1 (by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson), Joker hijacked the radio waves to announce his intention to kill a wealthy man named Henry Coleridge and steal his precious diamond. From the start, Joker sowed fear by spreading his threats and then taking advantage of the chaos caused when he executed them. He would continue to use this same tactic over and over again over the years.
One of the best-known examples is the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Christmas with the Joker”, in which he takes over a TV channel, takes three prominent personalities hostage, then broadcasts a program live on all TV channels where he swears to kill the hostages if Batman doesn’t. don’t stop before midnight. Most recently, the 2019 film Joker culminated with the villain appearing on a popular talk show hosted by Murray Franklin, whom Joker murdered on live television. This attack came after a powerful monologue, which combined to stir up riots throughout the city.
Certainly, there is a difference between The Joker forcibly grabbing a media network and Simon Saint using his money to force them to spread his message. However, both villains still use some type of force to achieve their ends, as using vast amounts of wealth and power to get a point across is always coercive. However, Saint doesn’t stop there. He is actively taking control of all communications in Gotham by brute force, hacking into systems and shutting out both the government and the police. Even as Saint pleads for the magistrate to protect Gotham, he replicates the attacks carried out by his deadliest killer.
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