Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Batman #90 Review and *SPOILERS*

The Past Comes Back

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 4, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Tynion’s run with Batman has been pretty good so far. However, we’ve arrived at a spot where the story seems to have stalled a little bit. That’s not exactly what you want from your first story with this character but we will see how things change in the coming issues. For me personally though, I need to have some reveals in this issue. We’ve been introduced to everything that is happening and we’ve been given mystery upon mystery but we still don’t have any concrete answers. So, from this issue going forward, no more leeway will be given. The deadline has been met and now I need something more from this book and I think most readers will agree with me on that point. However, I’m not too worried as I’m sure Tynion will bring the book back to a place we want it to be. Let’s jump into this new issue and see if that is an accurate prediction.

We begin our issue by catching up with Deathstroke. He is currently being chased down by Batman’s gadgets and he calls for backup but with his entire team taken out, there is no one to answer. No one except Harley Quinn that is who is controlling the drones that are chasing Deathstroke. She mocks and threatens Deathstroke before we cut away. We cut to Batman and Catwoman who are talking on the top of a roof. Selina remarks about how beautiful the view is but Bruce is all about business and Catwoman agrees to tell him everything. She begins her story by letting him know that it wasn’t at the beginning of their careers but it wasn’t long afterwards. She found a card on her pillow with The Designer’s symbol on it. The Designer was pretty much just a myth in those days. She followed the instructions inside the letter and found that she wasn’t alone. When she arrived at the meeting place she found that Joker, Riddler, and Penguin had all been extended an invitation as well. The group exchange “pleasantries” before a dead man pulls a boat up to the shore and invites them all to hop on. They are taken out into the sea and eventually arrive at a house in the middle of the sea.

When they come to the entrance, they are welcomed by The Designer himself who collects all of their weapons before allowing them to enter. As she tells the story, Selina reminds Bruce of how things were much different back then. Gotham had no hope. It was full of corruption and crime to the point that no one thought that it would ever change. However, once Batman came onto the scene properly, he began changing the culture. She talks about how he still had the intensity that he has now but during that time he was working to be a good role model for Robin. We cut back to the flashback as The Designer tells the group that he has been watching all of their careers and he offers some of his assistance. He tells them about his past and how he began creating elaborate crimes not for gain but to simply best the one trying to stop him. He would offer those expertise to each of them in order for them to best Batman and get everything that they ever wanted. He will take his cut and they will never see him again.

The Designer then met with each of them one by one and helped them think of their most ambitious crime of their wildest imaginations. With his help they were all able to create plans that would finally help them achieve their dreams. However, Joker is the final man to enter the room and he stays inside for a very long time. When The Designer finally exits the room, he orders his men to kill all four of them. However, before he is able to take them out, Joker reveals that he has a hidden gun and kills The Designer and his men. Without his financial support, all of their plans would be impossible to pull off. So they decide to burn the place down, pretend that they have never met them, and go about their lives. Selina tells Bruce that this was the moment that she first saw what Joker would eventually become. Bruce knows that she is still hiding something and she reveals that her target was him. If the Designer is successful with his plan, Bruce will lose everything. This is where the issue leaves us.

Well I can’t say that I didn’t ask for new revelations. Unfortunately they seem to be a little lackluster. We finally meet The Designer and his backstory seems to be a little by-the-numbers. Something tells me that is a red herring though. We finally know what Selina has been hiding this whole time but it was pretty easy to guess all of these revelations before this issue even came out. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping that things would have been a little more surprising. Ultimately, this issue stops our story in its tracks in order to tell this flashback which doesn’t really give us anything surprising. That is, except the finale in which Joker kills The Designer and all of his lackeys. Now that is a new twist that I appreciated. So where does this issue fall? Well, I’m not thrilled by the answers that we got, but they aren’t exactly bad. I did ask for answers and sometimes the simpliest answer is the best. However, the new question that they’ve given us is probably the best one in this story thus far. So how do I rate this book? Well, as with the previous issues, it falls somewhere near the upper-middle. Not great but a simple enjoyable issue. I’m hoping for more in the coming issues but I was able to enjoy this issue, even if it was a bit predictable at times.

Bits and Pieces

We finally get some answers to the questeions that we’ve been having but the answers are so simple that most of us have had them figured out for the past few issues. It’s not the worst thing in the world but it was a very safe way to keep this story going. That being said there is a great twist near the end that gives us the most interesting plot point of the entire arc up to this point. So once again, Batman falls somewhere in the upper-middle, quality-wise.



  1. Wait is Harley Quinn working for Batman? "No one except Harley Quinn that is who is controlling the drones that are chasing Deathstroke"

    A little bummed that Tynion went and used Deathstroke already when now was a good time to give the character a break.

  2. I'm still enjoying this story but this issue was nothing but exposition and nothing else really happened. I know the exposition was necessary but this is part of what I disliked about King's run.