Fear State Demolished the Bat-Family's Most Resilient Headquarters

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman #116, now on sale

The Bat-Family has increasingly been put on the run lately, with events like Joker War and the ascension of the Magistrate program genuinely challenging the heroes place in Gotham City. Now, the Magistrate has gained an even more powerful victory over the heroes, costing them one of their last major remaining home bases.

In the story "Set It Off" from Batman #116 (by Beck Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Jorge Corona, Sarah Stern, and Becca Carey), the Batgirls survive an explosive attempt on their lives. But they aren't able to save the Clocktower, confirming that the Bat-Family has lost one of their last remaining major bases of operation.

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Fear State has increasingly thrown Gotham City into chaos, with the various heroes sent scrambling to survive not just the extending reach of the ruthless Magistrate, but whatever plans Scarecrow has for the city now that he has successfully stolen the technology used by the Unsanity Collective. Due to the actions of Seer -- building themselves up as the anti-Oracle -- the Bat-Family hasn't even been able to rely on Oracle's technology to remain in contact with one another and coordinate a strong response to the chaos. This hasn't stopped the heroes from throwing themselves into the conflict -- but it has left them scrambling more than they typically do.

This chaos almost even costs two members of the group their lives. While Oracle, Nightwing, and Robin track down a former base constructed by Oracle but usurped by Seer, they end up exposing themselves to the villain. Meanwhile, the Batgirls -- Steph Brown and Cassandra Cain -- relocate to the Clocktower, which has long served as Oracle's base of operations. Seer is then able to use their tech to create a fabricated video of the Magistrate commander Simon Saint -- and gives the trigger-happy army the location of the Clocktower. To the apparent gleeful surprise of the Seer, the Magistrate quickly move into position and open fire on the Clocktower. Although the two Batgirls escape the building just in time, Oracle's Clocktower is absolutely destroyed -- costing her untold amounts of resources.

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The Clocktower has been a constant fixture in Gotham City for decades by this point. When Barbara Gordon became Oracle, she increasingly embraced using the location as her chief base of operations. It was from the Clocktower that Oracle contributed to the heroic work of the Justice League, coordinated the actions of the Birds of Prey, and served as the eyes and ears of the Bat-Family through multiple crises events that transpired across Gotham City and the DC Universe as a whole. After serving as the Bat-Family's chief point of operations during the "No Man's Land" event, the Post-Crisis Watchtower was destroyed but eventually restored in the New 52 DC Universe, where it resumed being a major fixture of the Gotham-based heroes.

The destruction of the Clocktower could be seen as another way that the Gotham heroes are going to be forced to change and evolve in the aftermath of the Watchtower. Especially with the dissolution of the Wayne fortune and the resources that Batman could previously provide, there's very little that remains of the heroes' former structured Gotham defensive line. Without the ability to communicate amongst themselves through Oracle and the Watchtower, it's likely the heroes will need to find a new way to work together to protect Gotham. With the similar loss of the Bat-Cave as a viable option due to the events of Joker War, there's no genuine structure the Bat-Family can rely on. The Clocktower's destruction is a major shift for the Gotham-based heroes

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Brandon Zachary (4209 Articles Published)

Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through [email protected].

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