BATMAN (2016- ) #88 review

Batman (DC Comics)

Batman #88 is available now where all good comics are sold!

Synopsis

The conspiracy that will rock Batman’s world continues to unfold as the Dark Knight travels to Arkham Asylum to get answers from the Penguin! What dark secret does he share with The Joker, the Riddler, and…Catwoman? Plus, the plague of assassins descending upon Gotham City in its weakest moments continues! Will this be the moment when Deathstroke finally takes down Batman?!

Review

James Tynion IV continues his Batman run by cleverly crafting story which is both a slow burn but also has pay-off in each issue. There are so many facets to the story that it’s a pure joy to read this book at the moment.

Three issues in and Tynion has made it clear that his Batman will not follow the blueprint of Tom King’s 85-issue arc. Despite the slow burn there’s a different aesthetic and a different tone to where we are right now. There is much more immediacy to the story he is telling right now and it still feels like a breath of fresh air for the long-running series.

This issue focusses on the burgeoning issue that Selina Kyle is about to have in her relationship with Bruce. We’ve come to understand that a group of villains signed up with a mysterious (and as-yet-unseen) villain known as The Designer. We know this group involves Catwoman, Joker, Riddler, Penguin and more.

Whilst the storyline arguably sets Tynion up to feature an all-star villain roster in his run it also present Batman with some huge personal conflict.

A huge takeaway from King’s run has been pairing up the Bat and the Cat on a more permanent basis. Now we find that the new status quo is already facing its first challenge and it will be interesting to see how the new tone handles any potential fallout from Selina’s involvement with The Designer.

Given that King as his own Bat/Cat book coming later this year it’s most likely safe to say that the pairing will survive this pothole in the road to happiness.

At this stage its unfair to continue to compare the “City of Bane” arc and what Tynion is doing with the book. In the space of three issues he’s brought Batman out from the shadow of Tom King and made it entirely his own.

The new sensibility to Bruce, the focus on more Bat-gadgetry and the new status quo in his personal relationships have all ensures this new era stands far apart from what has come before.

Going back to my earlier point, the arc is very much made up of well defined chapters. This chapter focusses on Selina’s strong sense of self preservation and how that leads her to explore who is currently pulling the strings.

The story in this issue is incredibly simple but also equally effective. It’s driven by that overriding sense of impending doom she has at hearing the name The Designer and how it sets her on the path to accepting responsibility for her previous actions even though it could redefine her relationship to Bruce.

The issue is punctuated by the incredible artwork of Guillem March with Tomeu Morey’s colours. It doesn’t feel too far removed from that previous arc (we won’t mention it again) but shows off a much stronger colour palette befitting of the tonal shift in the story.

The overall product feels more fun but without becoming comedic or less impactful. There’s much less of a heavy weight on the reader in terms of following the story and in its subject matter.

Verdict

Tynion continues his incredible run on Batman with an issue that brings The Dark Knight out of the shadows of the “City of Bane” era and in to a brighter, more exciting future.

8/10

Batman #88 is written by James Tynion IV with pencils and inks by Guillem March and colours by Tomeu Morey. Cover art is by Tony Salvador Daniel, Danny Miki and Morey.


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About Neil Vagg 4568 Articles
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