Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Batman #89 Review and *SPOILERS*

Moving Along

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Carlo Pagulayan, Guillem March, Danny Miki, Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 19, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Tynion’s first story with this book has been going pretty smoothly at this point. Sure, there has been a ton of exposition but Tynion clearly has a story that he wants to tell and he can’t tell it without all of that context. That being said, in the previous issue, he reigned it in a little bit and we finally got some of the first bits of story progression. However, I’m hoping that he follows up on that by continuing it in this issue. We took a couple issues to set things up and start the ball rolling but we need that momentum to carry through this storyline. There’s nothing wrong with keeping the audience in suspense but refusing to give them anything and instead just give them questions upon questions, many will tune out. So, let’s hop into this latest issue and hope that Tynion knocks this one out of the park.

Our issue begins at Gotham Mercy Hospital where a couple of nurses are sitting at their station. One of them is doing her work while the other is reading the paper. He complains about all the new changes to Gotham and how he is worried about the state of the city after Wayne is done with his construction. However, their conversation is cut short when a patient comes stumbling through the front door. It is none other than The Penguin and the nurse (or maybe doctor?) jumps to his aid. Penguin gives the man some instructions to follow before he is taken away for surgery. Meanwhile, we see Batman being dragged by Gunsmith’s motorcycle. We get a quick background on this villain as we learn about how he worked for private military contractors and was eventually fired from all of them which eventually led to him taking hits for money. The fight is rather quick but despite the beginning, Batman seems to be the easy victor. After knocking Gunsmith out, he tells Lucius that he needs a new suit and then sets his sights on one of the conspirators that he already knows of.

We cut to Catwoman and Harley Quinn in the graveyard still fighting with the goons that attacked Selina in the previous issue. They are no match for the two of them and in this exchange we learn that the body in the grave is not actually the Joker but a double. Harley also reveals that Joker has been making some big moves lately and she returned to Gotham in order to take him out. However, just before the two head out, Harley stops an arrow that was on it’s way to Catwoman’s temple. The two find themselves face to face with Meryln and Cheshire and the two pairs engage in combat. However, it is revealed that someone has been watching them from the bushes. We cut to a warehouse where we find another new assassin, Mr. Teeth. Through Batman’s inner monologue we get a short background on him. His victims had all their teeth removed and dropped into their stomachs. Needless to say, his skill set led him naturally to becoming a contract killer. However, he clearly isn’t a very talented one as Batman is able to take care of him quickly. Once inside, it is revealed that they are at the Riddler’s hideout. Riddler is nowhere to be seen and his traps have all been disabled. Batman sees that this isn’t the work of an assailant but that of Riddler himself and quickly deciphers the code to Riddler’s computer which allows him to access a security feed that Riddler left for him. The footage reveals a masked figure with a prominent letter D on his mask.

Inside the computer, Batman is also able to find Deathstroke’s location which Riddler was tracking and he sends his new Bat Swarm (a bunch of Bat Drones) after him. After doing so, he is joined by Catwoman and Harley who are carrying Merlyn and Cheshire’s unconscious bodies. The two quickly relay the information they know to Batman and then Bruce and Selina take a moment in private. Catwoman agrees to tell him everything but starts off by apologizing for everything. In the last page of the issue, we see the figure that was spying on Harley and Catwoman earlier make a call. She reports to the Joker and tells him that while they found the clue, they are currently wrapped up in something else. Joker doesn’t seem to mind though as it will give him the time he needs to make sure everything is ready. This is where the issue leaves us.

So I don’t want to come down on this issue to hard because I did enjoy it overall and we did get some new revelations that are interesting. Harley’s appearance is explained and it forshadows an upcoming face off with the Joker. We also get our first look at the mystery man behind everything in the footage from Riddler’s hideout. In addition, we got some really great looking fight scenes in this book. However, that’s about all we got because the rest of this book is explaining the backstory of minor characters, setting up a storyline that isn’t even happening yet, and deciphering Riddler’s clues. While the last part at least makes sense with the story, it’s a fairly basic explanation and isn’t every exciting at all. While Tynion doesn’t provide us with a lot more questions this issue, we certainly didn’t get any answers. I have to knock the book for that. This issue doesn’t really feel like it took us anywhere significant in our journey through this story. However, we did get some nice character interactions, some beautiful art and just enough story progression that it doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time. I want better from this book but I’m willing to give it some more time. However, my patience is now starting to wear thin.

Bits and Pieces

Despite some small reveals and story progression in an issue filled with amazing art and well constructed fight scenes, this issue ultimately doesn’t give the reader a whole lot. We still have most of the questions that we started with and there wasn’t enough meat in this issue to really sink our teeth into. I’m willing to be patient with this book for the time being but I expect the creative team to really bring it in the coming issues if they want to continue to keep the reader’s interest.


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