A story concept that might seem like a cheeky pun actually turns out to be a very interesting and potentially exciting status quo.
There’s no doubt that there’s a certain cheeky charm to Batman #101 being an issue where Bruce Wayne is forced to go back to basics. However, the issue quickly proves this is more than a simple soft reset.
Now that the Joker War has ended, Batman finds himself in a whole new situation. It’s a fascinating new set-up, one that I’m interested to see where it goes. It comes to us thanks to James Tynion IV, Guillem March, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles.
Batman is at a crossroads. With Bruce Wayne no longer the head of a massive fortune and empire, he has to decide what that means for Batman, Bruce Wayne and Gotham City. Thankfully, he has Lucius Fox and Selina Kyle to help guide him forward- if Cole Cash- AKA Grifter- doesn’t do him in first!
Right off the bat, I like this. Even though I’ve felt the first 15 issues of Tynion’s run were wildly inconsistent, they were totally worth it for this new set-up and direction. He gives us a Batman who can’t just throw gizmos (and, indirectly, money) at a problem, and who needs to reconnect with his city. His allies within the system are largely gone, and so is Wayne Enterprises. It’s a set-up with a lot of promise, and Tynion puts the pieces in place masterfully.
Beyond that, it’s a fun action piece and a solid character piece. The exposition and plot set-up is largely delivered through conversations between Batman and Lucius and Batman and Catwoman. He keeps it engaging through using the characters, and making them feel very natural and human. It’s the most excited I’ve been for a new Batman status quo since Batman: Rebirth a hundred issues ago.
March and Morey turn in their best work on the title so far too. March keeps the point of view engaging and dynamic, whether it’s the fight between Batman and Grifter or Lucius and Batman walking around the Fox home talking. His layouts and pace drive the story forward. He does over render some characters and panels, but overall it looks great. Morey adds atmosphere to the book with his colors, especially when Selina and Bruce hang over the glowing city beneath them.
This issue was dialogue and exposition heavy, but it’s easy to look past that with how engaging it was. The new status quo, with a stripped back, much less wealthy Batman gives the story a lot of avenues it can pursue, and I’m excited to see what they do.
Batman #101 is available now from DC Comics.