BATMAN (2016- ) #86 review

Batman (DC Comics)

Batman #86 is available now where all good comics are sold!

Synopsis

It’s a new day in Gotham City, but not the same old Batman. With Bane vanquished and one of his longtime allies gone, Batman has to start picking up the pieces and stepping up his game. Batman has a new plan for Gotham City, but he’s not the only one. Deathstroke has returned as well, under a mysterious new contract that could change everything. 
Beginning a whole new chapter in the life of the Dark Knight, the epic art team of Tony S. Daniel and Danny Miki are joined by new series writer James Tynion IV!

Review

It’s always a nervous time when a new writer takes on a huge book like Batman. There’s 80 years of history to maintain and an audience yearning for something new who needs pleasing. Will fans of Tom King’s run like the new direction? Will it please those who felt King’s story meandered to its conclusion in issue 85?

From my point of view: I enjoyed King’s run but was equally excited to see what new writer, James Tynion IV, would do with The Dark Knight.

Issue #86 kicks off Tynion’s run in epic style. It sets up an overall mystery which will bring out some of Batman’s A-list rogues in the coming months, it also tells a (mostly) self-contained story featuring Deathstroke and makes sure to reference recent events.

The “City of Bane” arc had a huge impact on the character so it was important to me to see Tynion to continue to show the impact of those events, particularly the passing of Alfred. Tynion’s Bruce has an edge to him which clearly comes off the back of what he experienced over the last year. It feels like a natural progression for the character given what he has been exposed to but it also, importantly, feels natural to the story.

When Bruce mistakenly calls out Alfred’s name on comms it was very much a heart in the throat moment. There’s still grieving to be done and it’s going to be interesting to see where it takes the character. Whether that is a dark place or somewhere more hopeful, I have every faith that Tynion is the right guy to take him there.

Given the importance King placed on the relationship between Bruce and Selina it’s interesting to see them function as a team here. The way they operate also feels like a natural progression from where King left them and it seems, for now at least, that Tynion has a great grasp on taking the story forwards.

If there were any fears this issue would feel like a mild reboot those were assuaged very early on.

There’s an interesting roster of supporting cast members in this issue too. Cheshire, Merlyn, Gunsmith and Mr. Teeth all working alongside Deathstroke as Batman’s case-of-the-week. Taking them down allows the book to bring in Lucius Fox and introduce some much needed Bat-tech to proceedings.

It’s been a while since Batman relied on his gadgets as King favoured a more street level, fists at the ready Batman. Tynion has a great balance of both the brains and brawn but I did get a kick out of the Nightclimber and Shadowcasters he implemented during those scenes.

Tony S. Daniel (pencils), Danny Miki (inks) and Tomeu Morey (colours) do an outstanding job of rendering this new version of Batman and the world around him. Outdoor scenes feature a lot of rain and bring a noir-sequence vibe to the issue, whilst party scenes with Selina feel more colourful and well inhabited. It’s by far one of the best issues I’ve read in quite some time and really got me excited for what’s to come next.

The issue also features an epilogue which teases a certain villain who is currently collecting a lot of awards nominations. It’s merely a tease for a larger part of the story but on top of the rest of the story it really whets the appetite for Tynion to get stuck in to the mystery of the villains plans for Gotham.

Verdict

The Dark Knight returns renewed, refreshed and with a new vigour in Batman #86. James Tynion IV sets up an intriguing mystery, brings the action and invents new Bat-gadgets all in the space of one issue. A great start to an exciting new arc.

9/10

Batman #86 is written by James Tynion IV with pencils by Tony Salvador Daniel & Guillem March, inky by March and Danny Miki, colours by Tomeu Morey. Cover art is by Daniel, Miki and Morey.

Batman #86 cover art by Tony S Daniel, Danny Miki and Tomeu Morey

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By Neil Vagg

Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & TV and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG