Batman’s time left is a ticking clock. He has just moments to pool resources before the Joker War begins. Batman #94 chronicles those moments, but exactly how?
This issue is billed as the final chapter of the Designer storyline. However, it’s more of a prelude to the ‘Joker War’ to come. As a preview of that, it’s a thrilling story, but not without some big faults. It’s brought to us by James Tynion IV, Rafael Albuquerque, Guillem March, David Baron and Clayton Cowles.
Bleeding out on the floor of Bruce Wayne’s office, Batman is beaten. He has only moments to rally his resources and his allies before the Joker’s master plan, and his newfound fortune, snaps shut around him. Can he do it before his time runs out?
This issue continues the trend I’ve found with Tynion’s Batman – the odd issues are a lot of fun. Where the even numbered issues, for some reason, have left me flat, the alternating issues have been fun, campy and full of energy. After the incredibly interesting flashback prelude, this issue has a frantic ticking clock in it that really made for a mostly fun read.
However, I mean it when I say mostly, because the ending of the issue crosses a line that nearly broke me. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a moment that’s so campy that it’s nearly irredeemable. It was silly and dumb, literally making my jaw drop as it happened. I think it’s something that the series can bounce back from, but it was a moment that pulled me out of the story so completely it tarnished the issue for me.
The art does a lot of the heavy lifting in the story. The prelude, illustrated by Albuquerque, is a fascinating snapshot of young Bruce, and Albuquerque gives us a Bruce Wayne that’s instantly recognizable, but also has clearly not evolved in Batman yet. March has a great sense of pacing through the rest of the issue, and his exaggerated figures adds to the frantic pull of the script. Baron’s colors gradually shift from realistic to surreal and dreamlike, giving the feel of a Batman who’s losing his grip on reality.
I have such a love-hate relationship with this series. Sometimes it’s great campy superhero fun, and others it’s over the top in the worst ways. I usually enjoy Tynion’s work, so I hope the bumps along the way for this arc have just been him regaining his footing in Gotham.
Batman #94 is available now from DC Comics.