Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Batman #95 Review and *SPOILERS*

Hostile Takeover

Written By: James Tynion IV
Art By: Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 21, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

I’ve been pretty high on this Batman book since it was taken over by Tynion. The first storyline where Batman faces off with The Designer was really intriguing and while there were a couple drops in quality along the way, overall the story has been really good. However, at the end of the whole thing, it was revealed that the entire thing was a lead up to this new Joker War and while I enjoyed the story that lead us here, I’m a little hesitant when it comes to my expectations. I am worried that we are going to fall into the same traps that we had in the previous run. There’s nothing wrong with having a long story that is segmented into different parts but we’ve had all of that for the entirety of Rebirth with Tom King. Now, I’m actually a big defender of Tom King, but even I was ready for something a little more traditional when his story ended. I figured that’s what we would get with Tynion, but it seems he wants to take the story in a similar direction. I’m hopeful but worried. Let’s jump into our latest issue and see where we go from here.

Our issue begins with a flashback of Batman running off to fight The Joker. It is revealed that this is relatively early in their history as both Batman and Alfred are fairly unfamiliar with this villain. As Batman drives off to face the Joker, he talks with Alfred and remarks about how he isn’t sure that his fight with Joker will ever end. He has never seen a man like this and his fixation with Batman seems to have reached a new level and he gets the feeling that Joker is already planning his next attack. Alfred reassures Batman that despite that, the two of them will always be together to fight this insane clown. (see my thoughts on this in the final paragraph) We cut to the present where Batman is fleeing in the Batmobile. We see news reports detailing the overtaking of Wayne Industries and how Bruce has embezzled money in order to support The Batman. Joker’s goons eventually hit the Batmobile with a rocket, but when they search the wreck they do not find Batman. The goons report into Punchline who is unfazed, especially since she has access to Batman’s armory thanks to some enhanced prodding of Lucius Fox.

Watch our Batman #95 Video Review

We cut to Park Row where we see the Monarch Theater. The owner is giving a man we later find out to be Joker a tour of the place as he is now planning on selling the theater. The owner regularly references a sound coming from the theater but thanks to his bad vision, he is unable to see what it is and he is even unable to see that the man he is selling the theater to is The Joker. Eventually, the owner finds that the sounds he is hearing are people laughing. Joker pulls out the film The Mask of Zorro and tells the owner to join the audience downstairs as they wait for the rest of them. By the rest of them, Joker is referring to Gotham. In the final frame, we see the audience is filled with people infected with the Joker Virus. We cut to Wayne Industries and the new owner’s lawyer, Mr. Graves's faces off with Harvey Bullock. Bullock knows the truth and that it is The Joker that has taken over but Graves denies this and uses his power to push through the police line and enters the building. It is revealed inside that the man is actually The Underbroker and he orders the workers there to buy every single movie theater in Gotham.

We cut to the outside and Batman is sneaking into the building. He cuts his way inside and reaches the Armory before he is attacked by Punchline. Batman avoids the attacks as she monologues, revealing that she knew he would come this way. She reveals a new suit in the armory that she assumes was made for when Batman was done remaking Gotham. The suit is hopeful and Bruce questions if Lucius had it made. Lucius denies it and claims he thought it was Bruce who did it. Batman suddenly starts to lose control as Punchline reveals that he’s been infected with a little poison that is a mix of Joker Virus, Fear Toxin, and a small amount of Venom. Batman turns to flee but he begins to hear Alfred’s voice and this causes him to hesitate. As he looks out the window he sees the Batplane swooping down and targeting him. The plane fires and attack that connects with Wayne Industries and this is where we leave off.

Alright so a little bit to unpack here. First off this story is almost completely set up which seems kind of redundant considering we had two issues of Batman that led up to this Joker War that set up this exact story. So WHY are we still setting things up? Also, I want to give a very small rant about the whole “Batman knew Joker would be around all along” thing that Tynion did at the beginning of this book. Could you guys please remove your head out of your own ass? I really hate that so many writers nowadays think that the Batman/Joker story has always been fate or destiny. It was always going to go this way and both sides knew it. I freaking hate that interpretation. Isn’t it so much more interesting for these two wandering souls to have met head-on and slowly they become more and more entwined until it’s more than just a simple superhero vs. supervillain? It became so much more and I really feel like it’s a disservice to the amazing stories and amazing storytellers that came before to say that all that hard work to bring us to this place was nothing other than destiny. Rant over. Anyway, the rest of this issue is kind of boring. There’s political posturing, media coverage, industry takeovers, and theater acquisitions. It’s kind of a complete snore. Not even the ending fight is that entertaining and it just ends because of a random poison. This is a bad start to this storyline.

Bits and Pieces

Tynion and the crew give us a snore-fest of a first issue. We spent nearly ten issues getting here in the previous story so why do we have to keep setting the same thing up? We know what’s happening in Gotham, we want to know what happens NEXT. Move the story along. Stop delaying us to fill out your trades. There’s some good art but boy this felt like a waste of time.


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