The Riddler has been lying low since his humiliating defeat as part of Bane’s army- but as costumed assassins start to make their way into Gotham City, Edward Nygma may have the answers he’s been looking for. Or at least, the answer to why Deathstroke is trying to kill him! Is it possible that Batman’s tussle with Slade Wilson was all just a ruse to get the killer closer to his true target?
Good, old fashioned Batman storytelling is back with a bang as James Tynion IV continues his new arc. This story finds itself solidly on familiar ground as Batman’s rogues prepare for war and a new player known only as The Designer enters the Gotham arena. What sets this story apart from, aside from its timing in the grand scheme of Batman stories, is its technical profiency. Pacing, rhythm, voice– all the major characteristics of writing style are perfectly on point here as no time feels wasted and the characters resume their familiar roles.
Guillem March feels like a step backwards from the sleek artwork of Tony Daniel in the previous issue. The character designs, particularly Penguin and Riddler, are the most unfamiliar elements in such a familiar-feeling narrative and while much of the technical work done by March in this issue feels proficient, the fit doesn’t quite feel right. There is a tendency in March’s work to perhaps overly gender his style, using rugged, rough lines on male figures while switching to clean, sleek lines for female figures that I found particularly jarring. Both Catwoman and Cheshire appear in drastically different styles that makes them both appear to have been done separately and then copy/pasted into the book, usually looking back over their shoulders for… reasons.
Batman #87 (Tynion IV, March, Morey) continues to bring readers a familiar Bat-story and although the shift in art team is jarring, still manages to pull off a highly proficient issue.
Batman #87: Design School
Writing - 9.5/10
Storyline - 9/10
Art - 6/10
Color - 8/10
Cover Art - 6.5/10
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