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Review: Batman #119

Batman #119

After the impressive event “Fear State”, I’ve been intrigued to see where Batman would go. The event gave us new villains and an epic feel that had the present and future Gotham in mind. Batman #119 continues the new direction for the series that feels much more grounded befitting the character’s current status-quo.

Batman Inc. is surprisingly still in business with a new bonus, Lex Luthor. Members of the organization have been accused of killing a villain and it’s up to Batman to figure out what has happened.

Writer Joshua Williamson has grounded Batman #119 in a fantastic way. He’s taken out of the larger than life setting that is Gotham. Instead, this new direction has the character back to basics in some ways. He doesn’t have his great toys and we’re reminded he doesn’t have his money. With Luthor knowing Batman’s alter-ego, the issue gets more interesting as the two dance around each other both in and out of costume.

Williamson delivers a hell of a moment where Bruce and Luthor meet for food. The moves and choices of Lex are interesting and can be dissected as to the meaning of each. Every word, every action, feels like Williamson has thought through how this might really play out. This doesn’t feel as much a superhero comic as two individuals sparring verbally and over food. Lex’s actions are a consistent reminder of what Bruce has lost, his fortune. The words are chosen in such a way as to make sure to get a reaction from Bruce. It’s a beautiful dance.

There’s also a lot of action and that’s delivered by Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto, and Mikel Janín. Along with color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic looks great. It balances that verbal sparring with solid physical moments and action. There’s something about the look, along with the story, that feels a bit retro in a way, a bit conservative. And that’s not a bad thing. The art dials things back in a way focusing in on very specific moments and purposely hiding others to deliver surprises and shock.

Batman #119 is a solid issue that dials things back and gives us something that feels much more like a detective story. It also makes sure to remind us that this is a Batman who is generally stripped of his greatest tool, his wealth. With a nice mix of action, verbal sparring, and an intriguing villain, this continues an intriguing direction.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto, Mikel Janín
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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