Review: Batman #97
The “Joker War” rages on in Batman #97 that hits a point that it feels the story and event is being dragged out a bit too much. Batman is battling visions and hallucinations as the Joker Toxin takes ahold of him. It’s a story we’ve seen over and over and while interesting, it feels like a way to delay the story a bit. It’s an attempt to add some tension for a story that is easily resolved otherwise.
Written by James Tynion IV, Batman #97 has Batman in the theater battling reanimated corpses refusing to take the time to heal before the massive battle that’s to come. It also focuses on Clownhunter, a new vigilante who’s taking on the Joker’s crew in brutal ways. All of it is to give the reader the idea that chaos is engulfing Gotham. But, beyond the Clownhunter’s concept and some wide shots of fires and smoke, the reality of that chaos isn’t explored enough.
The Joker would have you believe his latest plan is getting other individuals to stand up and “break” Batman’s rules. The personification of that is Clownhunter as he douses the Joker’s henchmen in gas and sets them on fire. But, even that is something we’ve seen before in characters such as Azrael who took the war on evil a bit more hardcore. We’re shown things we’ve experienced as readers but this time with a supposed Joker spin to it all. That spin of course involves more Joker Toxin showing the villain as a one-note type of guy, failing to be creative in his end plan.
Where the story falls short, the art is top-notch. Jorge Jimenez‘s pencils along with color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles is fantastic. There’s some great art and action sequences and this depiction of the Joker is one of the best in recent years. Batman’s descent into hallucinations is subtle which is both good and bad. The visuals for the comic could be over the top but as presented we’re watching him dealing with it and the action not his experiences. But, the madness settling in is enhanced through panel layouts that are visually interesting and with colors that pop.
“Joker War” hasn’t really hooked me yet. Batman #97, and the event as a whole, isn’t bad it just doesn’t feel original enough so far. We’ve seen Batman trip on toxin. We’ve seen the Joker gas a lot of people. We’ve seen heroes lose their fortune. We’ve seen Gotham in chaos. But, it’s still been entertaining with pretty visuals and beautiful colors and lettering. The story arc is a bit of a letdown from the previous one but here’s hoping it keeps building to something a bit more interesting than what we’ve seen so far.
Story: James Tynion IV Art: Jorge Jimenez
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 7.15 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review