Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Batman #88 Review and *SPOILERS*

Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Guillem March, Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 5, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Tynion’s first story is now in full swing and we’ve had some good parts and some less ideal parts. We’ve gotten some really cool action and new gadgets which is something that I personally love to see from a Batman comic but it seems like Tynion wants to tell a story that needs a lot of set up and that has unfortunately led to an exuberant amount of exposition in the previous issue. Now exposition isn’t the worse thing in the world but it heavily dominated the previous issue. However, as much as I’m harping on this one point, the fact is that I still really enjoyed the previous issue and I’m really looking forward to this one as well. Tynion’s run has just started and so there is a possibility that I’m still excited to play with my brand new toy, however only time will tell if that excitement is warranted or not. So, let’s jump into this latest issue and see where it takes us.

Our issue begins in a graveyard. Selina is digging up a grave while making a phone call. Eventually the call goes through and she is finally in touch with the Riddler. She asks him for a little information and threatens him when he questions why he would help her at all. Eventually he agrees. She asks him if what is going on is legit. The group of them buried it so long ago that she doesn’t quite believe that someone would bring this all back up now. Riddler tells her that while he isn’t sure, Penguin certainly believes that The Designer is back. Riddler then tells her that they found men buried in Amusement Mile that were wearing clown masks. He suggests that The Joker was a secret conspirator for The Designer back then and he asks if Catwoman has seen him lately. She opens the coffin that she has finally reached and sees the body of Joker.

We cut to Batman who is restraining Cheshire as he calls Lucius. Lucius tells him that the Black Block feed has been compromised and Batman immediately calls Bullock who confirms the story. Batman knocks out Cheshire and then needs a vehicle. Lucius tells him that he gave him a new gadget in his belt. He tells Batman to take a car near him and attach the device. The device emits a holo-interface that hides the car’s true form. Lucius calms Batman’s conscious about stealing a car by letting him know that the car belongs to him so there is not need to worry. Batman loads up Cheshire in the vehicle and races off to go after the assassins. Back with Selina she has to deal with Riddler taunting her as she investigates Joker’s body. He hangs up on her eventually and Selina realizes she has to come clean to Bruce. Before she can contact him though, we see a familiar green gas escape from Joker’s body and she quickly realizes that she has been surrounded. One of the goons strikes her with the shovel he is holding and knocks her down into the grave. A familiar voice taunts her as the goons begin to bury her alive.

We cut to a meathouse where Penguin has the assassins tied upside down. It doesn’t take long for Deathstroke to escape his restraints. Penguin complains about how much money he has lost on this venture but is willing to spend more of it to make the problem go away. He offers the assassin’s double their rate to leave Gotham and then asks how much it will take for Deathstroke to take the same deal. He tells Penguin that he couldn’t afford it and begins attacking Penguin’s hired guns. Just at this moment, Batman crashes through the side of the building with his new vehicle. He engages the assassins and some of Penguin’s goons in combat and seems to be winning until Deathstrokes stops him by holding a knife to Penguin’s throat. His team retrieve Cheshire from Batman’s vehicle and then Deathstroke slits Penguin’s throat in order to tie up Batman as they make their escape. As he aids Penguin, he is told about how the assassin’s true target: Bruce Wayne. We cut back to Selina who comes to her senses before being properly buried but before the goons can knock her out again, they are taken care of by a very familiar hammer. It is none other than Harley Quinn who has come to Selina’s aid and she reveals that this goes so much deeper than she thinks. This is where the issue leaves us.

This issue continues more of the same that we’ve seen from Tynion’s run up to this point but this time the balance is bit better. We still get plenty of exposition (perhaps a bit too much) but we are slowing getting more and more answers as to what is actually happening. However, exposition doesn’t overwhelm this issue as we also get a decent amount of action and some really captivating storytelling. We get even more gadgets and face offs between members of Batman’s rogue gallery. We also get great art and while I would like for things to move a little faster, the storytelling has immediately become more interesting by the end of this issue with major characters being is serious danger and other characters showing up to play a new part in this brand new story. While I don’t think this run has hit its stride yet, I’m looking forward to more and this was definitely better than the previous issue.

Bits and Pieces

While Batman continues to give us a large exposition dump, Tynion seems to have reigned it in a little bit as we are also treated to some great action scenes and get some of the first twists and turns of the story. Slowly we are getting answers about what’s really going on in Gotham and we are getting exciting storytelling in the moments in between. Still plenty of room for improvement but a decent issue and I’m interested in seeing where Tynion will take us.



  1. I'm liking this story bit when did Joker die? Two issues ago he was talking to his henchman on the phone before blowing him up. Did Joker die or more likely fake his death off panel? And how did Catwoman know about it and where he was buried? I feel like there's a piece of story missing between this issue and last.