Batman (2016) #97
Writer: James Tynoin IV
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Coming off the tail end of Tom King’s slow and depressing Batman run, James Tynion IV has reignited the feeling the character usually offers. As much as I enjoyed King’s writing, it is refreshing to get a Batman book that feels like a Batman book. Tynion’s flagship arc is The Joker War, in this issue, we get to learn more about his grand plans. From colorful and unique sets to the introduction of an exciting new character, this comic is exciting from cover to cover.
There was not a lot in this issue to move the story along but it still was a welcome issue. It jumps between what is going on with Batman and the Joker’s plans. Both end up not far from where they started but you get a little more insight into either as well an introduction to a new character. Batman, still recovering from his dose of Joker’s toxin, learns about the Joker’s personal attack against Bruce Wayne. We never find out how the Joker learned who Batman is or his origin story but both at important parts of the plans. I can accept that the Joker knows who Batman is but knowing his origin is a bit of a stretch. It could be that Tynion is going to explain this later but the fact that Batman never questioned it makes me think we’re supposed to just roll with it.
Jorge Jimenez did the art for this book with colors from Tomeu Morey. This duo has so far done amazing work on this run and this issue is no exception. All of the linework is intentionally jagged, making Gotham feel very dangerous and unwelcoming. Morey knows how to draw your eyes with bright colors and when to do it. His work makes each location in this issue feels very unique and lively. Clayton Cowles did the lettering for this issue and it serves its purpose. I do, however, wish he would try new techniques more often. The issue is filled with hallucinations and a character that there are voices in his head. Yet, there are only a couple of times that Cowles changes up the lettering. Granted, there are some narrative justifications I would resent but just disagree with.
This issue might be forgotten in a couple of weeks but it was a pretty well-crafted book. The introduction of a new character might put it on the radar of collectors. Otherwise, there is not a lot going on to get people excited. Looking back, the last issue also didn’t do much to progress the story. In the hands of a lesser team, I might call it filler. With this team, however, we have an enjoyable issue that flesh out the world. While it’s not necessary to read this issue to stay up today on Batman, I highly recommend it.
This issue does not do a ton to progress the story but is still well crafted and a joy to read.