Review: Batman #96
There’s a lot I want to like about Batman #96, the second part of “Joker War.” Having been dosed with a new Joker Toxin, Batman is beaten and bloodied and has no idea what’s going on. He also was in the middle of a major attack on Wayne Enterprises making him a target of Gotham as a city.
Writer James Tynion IV bounces around the issue with interesting concepts but not enough depth to really explore any of the concepts. Like an individual dazed after being beaten, the comic stumbles in a way much like its main character. Batman hallucinates horrors, the Joker plays psychological games, the Joker’s team uses public relations and money to turn opinion around on Batman. All of those concepts are great and interesting. Each could easily be an issue by themselves. But, in a 22-ish page comic, it doesn’t feel like enough time to really explore any of them.
While I’d like to see a greater exploration of any of these concepts, the mix of them works too. It enhances the chaos that is Gotham currently and how in the moment Batman is in dealing with the situation. It enhances that this is a hero who is off his game and is struggling in many ways. It’s still interesting but as opposed to a concept with a lot of depth, the ideas feel a little shallow.
But, part of what makes it all work is the art by Jorge Jimenez. Along with colors by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the art helps enhance the unease Batman is experiencing. There’s some fantastic visuals from the subtle horror of Bruce’s visions to the opening action. There’s an interesting mix in the visuals of the comic. They all work together and in many ways are a logical step from one to the other. The visuals when examined on the macro is a descent for Batman from an ideal world to the horror of his reality. You can see that in the visuals and the coloring and even the lettering that depicts the madness of the Joker.
Batman #96, and “Joker War” as a whole, has been an interesting event that has had some great concepts. But, much like a summer blockbuster film, those concepts never quite get the depth and focus they deserve. There’s so many directions and levels this event could take place and we’re getting the “action” version of it. It’s not bad. It’s actually quite entertaining. But, reading the two chapters so far, it’s hard to not see the potential within and how many more interesting directions it could have gone.
Story: James Tynion IV Art: Jorge Jimenez
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.45 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read