Review: ‘Batman’ #91 Ignites The Designer’s War On Gotham

by Tony Thornley

The last five issues have built up to this. The Designer’s war on Gotham City has finally blown wide open, and Batman’s life may never be the same.

James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Rafael Albuquerque, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles bring Batman’s newest villain to Gotham in Batman #91.

The Dark Knight knows what his greatest enemies have done- given a diabolical mastermind a series of fool proof plans that will bring Gotham to its knees. Now it’s a race against time to stop Deathstroke before the Designer fully springs his plot. Meanwhile, the Joker is making moves of his own that could tear the city apart…

Tynion has me fully bought into the story he’s telling. In only the first three pages, he and Jimenez tell one of the most effective Joker stories in recent history, a chilling example of how intelligent, evil and cunning the character is. The rest of the issue uses that same sort of efficiency in its storytelling- he doesn’t have a single wasted word, and the art team puts the urgency of the ticking clock on the page effectively.

This isn’t just the issue where Tynion found his footing but the art team nails it. Jimenez only draws the three Joker pages, but they’re engrossing in his use of the camera on the page, and the Joker’s presence dominates action, no matter where he is in the panel. Albuquerque’s pages are minimalist, but uses texture on the figures and backgrounds to create a sense of motion through the fight between Batman and Deathstroke. It’s a masterclass in comics art from some of the best in the business.

Gotham’s darkest hour makes for a great read for us. I’m excited to see where this goes.

Batman #91 is available now from DC Comics.

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