Preview: Batman #98
“Joker War” has been an interesting ride so far. Running through Batman and other related titles, the event has had the Joker steal Bruce Wayne’s fortune, toys, and company turning it all against Batman. Batman #98 is part four of the event and like previous chapters, it’s a bit stretched out and while good, doesn’t excite or deliver anything new.
Writer James Tynion IV delivers that moment we’ve seen so many times before in films, television, and other stories. Batman is tripping, attempting to get the Joker Toxin out of his system. He has his moment of reflection and discussion with his dead mentor. It’s his Rocky talking to Mickey moment and there’s even a close “dammit Rock” thrown in there. While Batman is out of it, Punchline and Harley Quinn battle things out in Ivy’s hiding space giving them another chance to square off.
Batman #98 is a fine part of the overall arc but on its own, it’s something we’ve seen over and over. All it’s missing is a montage with proper music while Batman gets back into a healthy status.
What makes Batman #98 not a total loss is the art by Jorge Jimenez. The art features an interesting juxtaposition between Batman’s trippy visuals versus the battle between Harley and Punchline. While one is the standard page layouts with your standard boxes, the other is a kinetic battle. Jimenez has the fight break the page with odd shapes and a nice mix of panel sizes. Jimenez is helped by the color of Tomeu Morey and the lettering of Clayton Cowles. The action scenes pop from the page and when Batman eventually clears his head, literally pops.
But Jimenez and the team make sure to give Bruce’s struggle its moments too. The emotion delivered in panels by Bruce and Alfred really sell the scenes. The delivery takes a rather trope-ish cliche and gives us something more visually interesting. It’s the emotional catharsis we’ve been waiting for and expecting since Tynion took over his run.
“Joker War” as a whole hasn’t been as exciting as one would hope. The event falls upon concepts we’ve seen so many times before. It’s an entertaining read though more in a summer popcorn way. It feels like it’s a setup for what’s coming next for Bruce as he will deal with the fallout from the event. Much like the previous arc, “Joker War” doesn’t feel so much as a story unto itself as opposed to the setup of what comes next, more focused on the next arc instead of itself. Much like Batman #98, the event as a whole feels like the pivot to what comes next.
Story: James Tynion IV Art: Jorge Jimenez
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review