Batman ’89 Echoes is written by Sam Hamm and published by DC Comics. Artwork and main cover art (left) are by Joe Quinones, colours by Leonardo Ito and letters by Carlos M. Mangual.
Batman ’89 Echoes #1 is available now, in print and on digital platforms where all good comic books are sold.
You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts! After Harvey Dent’s crusade against Gotham and Batman, the Caped Crusader has disappeared without a trace. In his place, ordinary citizens have taken to the streets to root out crime. As innocents get hurt, the question on everyone’s mind is the same: Where is Batman? Sam Hamm, screenwriter of the 1989 Batman movie, and Joe Quinones reunite for another tale in Gotham!
Michael Keaton is back (in comic book form) for a second round of Sam Hamm’s brilliant Batman ’89 continuation. This brand new chapter, dubbed Echoes, looks set to continue broadening the universe of the Tim Burton movies with the introduction of several recognisable faces.
Batman ’89 Echoes picks up a couple of years after the events of 2021’s Batman ’89 series. As is tradition we open with a sequence featuring a majestic, swooping arrival for the Dark Knight. But all is not what it seems. As “Batman” stops a robbery in progress he’s shot and seemingly killed by average street thugs. But this isn’t Batman. Not our Batman anyway. Hamm is exploring a similar concept to The Dark Knight movie, where Batman has inspired average citizens of Gotham to protect the streets. But as invariably happens is the bodies have begun mounting up.
Of course the GCPD are on hand to investigate. Enter Barbara Gordon, now Captain Barbara Gordon, our window in to Gotham for this first issue. You may recall that as Batman ’89 concluded its first chapter Barbara had learned Bruce’s identity. As is crucial to this new chapter, Barbara chose not to turn Bruce in after learning he had been working with her father. Barbara’s actions this issue are crucial to understanding the current status quo in Gotham. It’s through her we learn that Batman has been missing for two years. But it’s also through her that we learn there’s much more going on than it first seems.
Elsewhere we’re introduced to a pair of classic Bat-villains who weren’t established during either of Burton’s films. Inhabiting more of the story this issue is Dr. Q, aka Harleen Quinzel. Yes, we’re going to get to see how Hamm would have approached introducing a version of Harley Quinn to the Burton-verse. The approach here is perfect, pitching her as a TV psychiatrist who appears on City Beat and already displays a strong affinity for Joker. Quinzel also works at Arkham which is where we’re briefly introduced to a certain Dr. Jonathan Crane and a familiar new patient of his.
They’re a pair of villains which should work well together. Establishing a connection between them early works well in the context of setting up the Arkham location. Harleen will offer a great callback to Jack Nicholson’s Joker, an “echo” if you will which should tie in nicely to the theme of the book. Where Crane represents something completely new. It will be interesting to see how Hamm establishes his experiments with fear toxin and his motivations for doing so. There are some small hints here but really only small nuggets to tease for the story ahead.
But wait, there’s a third. Firefly also appear to be a factor in Batman ’89 Echoes. His introduction here feels somewhat separate and standalone. There’s not a huge amount of context around how this will tie in to the wider story. For now it stands an out a little awkwardly but will surely come in to play pretty quickly. Particularly if he’s delivered to Arkham under the watchful eye of Dr. Crane…
Of course one of the major draws of the series is Joe Quinones outstanding rendering of Tim Burton’s world. Characters from the films all reflect the actors who once played them. Whilst new additions feel like they come directly from that design world. From Harleen’s incredibly 80’s inspired wardrobe to Michael Keaton’s typical scowl, every detail is meticulously placed.
The debut of Batman ’89 Echoes is a perfect reintroduction to this world. The introduction of new characters keeps the series feeling fresh and promptly sets up an exciting new chapter. Clocking in at six-issues should inject a healthy dose of exhilaration to the pacing.