Reeling from the effects of the worst Joker toxin attack ever, Batman is on the run through Gotham City, pursued by the dark shadows and voices that haunt his past and present! As the Joker’s plan materializes, the only person who can save Batman from the brink of true madness...is Harley Quinn?! Plus, who is the mysterious new figure known as Clownhunter?
In the second issue of “The Joker War” arc, the story begins to reveal the importance of not only the past– as we have grown accustomed to with Batman– but the potential future that Bruce and Alfred dreamed up. The utopian future and the nostalgic past collide to construct the narrative hellscape of the present, creating clear contrasting sequence that accentuates each period evaluated. It may be Tynion’s vision but this narrative construction relies heavily on Jorge Jimenez’s ability to execute the visuals here. Not to be undersold, Tomeu Morey’s colors also carry much of the heavy lifting in transitioning between light and dark, heaven and hell. As story, despite there being very little here to push things forward, this issue works quite well at established an emotional core to the arc. There is a sense of stress and fear that permeates nearly every page following the opening sequence. This arc is a horror story above all else.
Much of Tynion’s run on Batman thus far has been defined by the speculator interest surrounding Punchline. Punchline is absent from this issue but there is a moment in which we are looking around at the chaos The Joker has wrought upon Gotham that we a curious new character. He has a mohawk pushing through what looks like a bicycle helmet and uses a Batarang tied to a baseball bat as he goes about killing clowns in Gotham. It is a single, nearly throwaway page but the shift in lettering by the ever-brilliant Clayton Cowles to all lower-case letters signaled enough difference here to cause me to pause and take notice. It’s entirely possible this character has appeared before but it isn’t ringing any bells for me.
Batman #96(@JamestheFourth @JorgeJimenezArt @tomeu_morey @ClaytonCowles) injects a strong emotional core into "The Joker War" while possibly quietly introducing a new character.
Batman #96: A Chilly Day in Gotham
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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