The mysterious master criminal known only as the Designer once brought together Gotham City's greatest criminals to plot the perfect crime, and now his plan has been unleashed upon the city in all its might. Batman will go to any length to uncover the grand design, but Catwoman is the one who holds the greatest secret. If Batman wins against the Designer, he will lose everything.
The central story here follows the cabal of Gotham rogues meeting The Designer for the first time. In that meeting, The Designer teaches each rogue (Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler, and The Joker) how to take a step forward so massive that even Batman couldn’t predict the leap or hope to keep up with it. Upon seeing The Joker’s leap, however, The Designer orders the villains killed for fear of what he would become. There are some flaws to the premise, of course, but overall, Tynion IV does a solid job of covering his tracks with small crumbs such as how the rogues would need The Designer’s bankroll to fund the capers. Leaving aside the fact that, most likely, several of the villains could have executed these plans at some point in their careers, the story still delivers a fun and somewhat menacing narrative more akin to an 80’s Batman story than recent years.
Another issue, another shift in art as Jorge Jimenez drops in to pencil this issue. Jimenez’s style is well suited to the story although his Harley Quinn looked overly stylized and out of touch with the rest of the issue. Jimenez continues to show a knack for controlling the pacing of the story, however, and despite my misgivings about constantly shifting art teams, does manage to produce a solid issue here.
The origin story for The Designer feels like a red herring here. Who is the detective he fought and eventually ruined? There seems to be a trail of breadcrumbs here for the astute reader but I suspect a narrative twist of the knife soon that will upend current fan theories. Oh, and for the speculators out there, no Punchline in this issue.
Batman #90 (Tynion, Jimenez) takes a look into the origins of The Designer and their link to the current crimes occuring in Gotham.
Batman #90: “Three May Keep a Secret…”
Writing - 9.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/10
Art - 8.5/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 9.5/10
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