Last week’s issue of Batman by James Tynion IV was a nonstop thriller. With Gulliem March and Danny Miki on art, the issue has a very ‘classic’ Batman feel to it. To be Moree specific, an early 2000’s Batman story. This is further enforced by the striking colors by Gulliem March and Carlo Pagulayan who work is nothing short of excellent in this issue.
Picking up where the last issue left off, the story starts with Penguin recovering from the attack on his life, and he isn’t happy about it. However, for a change of pace, Penguin is trusting Batman to, well, Batman things out. Which he is, and his work is about to lead him to the doorstep of Harley Quinn and Selina Kyle. But first, he needs to find the Riddler.
While Batman is out battling with the Mr. Teeth, Harley and Selina are going toe-to-toe with Cheshire and Malcolm Merlyn. However, in the bushes, readers get our first sneak-peak at Punchline, Joker’s new girlfriend. Although Punchline appears to be studying Harley and notes that she “doesn’t look so tough…”, Harley reminds readers she is a force to be reckoned with as she and Selina can apprehend both assassins.
Checking back in with Batman, wee find out when Nygma was taken by The Designer, he left one last Riddle for Bruce. This leads him to the doorstep of Riddler’s base. Lucky for Batman, Harley and Catwoman are also there! Pulling Bruce aside, the story ends with Selina saying “I’m sorry…”
Although the main story may be over, there is a one-page backup featuring Joker and Punchline (or part of her). After informing Joker on Harley and Selina’s investigative progress, Joker inflicts. fear into the audience, ending the issue by saying “There are a few people I need to talk to first before the big game starts.” Behind him is a pinboard with every Bat-Family member and their identity.
This issue’s usage of paneling on slanted angles provides a more fluid story while also making a more visually pleasing story. Many have labeled James Tynion IV’s Batman as “safe” but it is much more than that. The Designer has been a refreshing new villain for both Batman and readers. Additionally, the utilization of the rogue’s Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, and Joker in new roles is a reminder to the audience how much history these characters have.
Speaking of Joker, the subtle buildup to Joker war should not be lost. Whatever’s coming, it sure isn’t going to be good for Batman.
Final Thoughts: Batman 89 is a gorgeous issue that brings each panel to life all while building off the last page to remain as suspenseful as possible.