We’re only a few issues into the newest Batman run. Already, we’ve met a new antagonist, and been introduced to a new role for a DCU star. But in Batman #120, things go off the rails. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but in this case, that remains to be seen
Joshua Williamson, Jorge Molina, Mikel Janin, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles continue their adventure as Batman’s international mission goes awry.
Abyss has blinded Batman. He’s attacked Lex Luthor. Now the two are racing desperately to find answers, before Batman, Inc. is thrown in prison forever, for a crime they didn’t commit. Yet, there is something much worse lurking behind the surface.
I have to start with the positives here. Molina, Janin and Morey turned in a stunning issue. It’s absolutely fantastic to look at, with every page dripping with atmosphere. Molina’s Batman is equal parts noir and superhero, with Morey giving the page the appropriate color and lighting to fit what’s happening. A noirish infodump, he uses blues and grey tones, a tense game of cat and mouse in the day, he makes the only light source glow yellow.
Janin’s turn on art is fantastic. I knew he was a great artist (go read Superman & The Authority, right now). I never knew about his skills as an artistic mimic. Though his personal style creeps in several panels, I was impressed with how well he captures the same style Molina uses. It’s nearly flawless.
As for the writing, I’m confused as hell as to what I just read. While the Batman plot in the first half of the issue is interesting and engaging, the last half is just nonsensical. Abyss is a complete non-entity with no motivation or goals for the reader to engage with. Luthor has done little so far, and leaving the entire confrontation between Luthor and Abyss off panel is to the issue’s detriment. The issue starts to claw back towards the end, but then ends with a twist that is out of nowhere and can’t be tracked back to any clues in the text.
But at least it looks good.
Batman #120 is available now from DC Comics.
The art is fantastic. The issue has that going for it. However, the plot has just gone off the rails to the point that I don’t know if it can get back on track.