Review: Batman #95
“The Joker War” officially kicks off with Batman #95! Batman and Bruce Wayne have been stripped of their toys and wealth. The Joker has siphoned every dollar taking over Wayne Enterprises and is using the media and elected officials to play his game.
Written by James Tynion IV, there’s a lot to like about this beginning chapter of “The Joker War”. But, there’s also a lot there that feels like we’ve seen it all before. The concept of the rich superhero having their wealth stripped and company seized is something that regularly happens. Green Arrow and Iron Man have experienced it, if not multiple times. So, in that essence, Batman #95 doesn’t deliver a whole lot new. There are a lot of interesting details to make it worth checking out though.
Much of the issue dances around the two sides jockeying for position. It’s focus is the opposing factions taking stock of what assets they have. With Lucious Fox controlled by Punchline, the Joker’s crew taps into the material and tech hidden away at Wayne Enterprises. They also use the information at their disposal to paint a picture of a billionaire secretly funding Batman, and the media to demand that technology is returned. It’s a battle of public relations not just wits and fists. Batman has no idea what’s compromised so takes his opportunity to see where things stand and what the Joker is in control of.
Tynion does a good job of setting up the back and forth. Tynion also teases the game played between these two characters for years. By using his first case against the Joker, we see why Batman fears him and the psychological aspects of their relationship. And this is where the issue, and storyline, has the best chance of standing out. There’s a back-and-forth between these two that is hopefully explored more. What’s done here is an interesting set up that indicates we’ll see it. While the general plot is “been there, seen that,” the relationship between the two is unique, for example the Joker could easily unmask Batman but chooses not to. He knows Bruce’s trauma and looks to be using that somehow. These are the small things that stand out.
The art by Jorge Jimenez is pretty solid. Along with color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the look of the comic is solid. The fight between Batman and Punchline is well framed and though the comic lacks really dynamic splash pages or moments, there’s a tenseness to the art that really fits the story well. It feels like the coiling of a spring before an explosion of energy down the road.
Batman #95 isn’t an explosive start but it delivers an interesting start. There’s a lot of fascinating choices, the police standing up for Batman as an example, that will hopefully pay off nicely down the road. This feels like the opening of an epic film, a slow opening but one that does a fine job of setting things up. If you’re interested in “The Joker War.” Batman #95 is worth checking out. But, if you’re new to Batman and want to see what this story is about, you may walk away wondering what the buzz was about.
Story: James Tynion IV Art: Jorge Jimenez
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read