The second part of “Their Dark Designs” delivers an interesting chapter in Batman #87. While it builds upon the mystery of who is bankrolling this latest attack on Gotham, it’s the character interactions that stand out.
Written by James Tynion IV, the issue brings in new pieces of the puzzle, the Riddler and Penguin. Each are part of the game being played and both are also targets of the mysterious bad guy. Their interaction reveals who is and who isn’t behind the hiring of Deathstroke and his crew. And, it’s their interaction that sets the tone of the comic and focus.
Tynion continues to lay out the new status-quo for his vision of Batman. Without an Alfred to guide him, there’s a conscious effort to display what Bruce/Batman’s attitude is at this point. Whether it’s talking with Lucious, Catwoman, or Bullock, each scene gives us an idea of what we should expect and where Batman is at this point.
The issue also continues whatever the big picture plan is. Like a good heist story, the concept is already convoluted with being captured and needing to escape. There’s more to it but it’s best to not think about the details at this point. As more is revealed, hopefully the “why” of those details of this issue will make a bit more sense. For now, turn your brain off.
The art is where I’m most mixed on the issue. Guillem March both nails it and doesn’t. Details of characters feel lost at times lacking a crispness we’ve seen in other recent Batman artists. But, the layouts of the pages are inspired. There’s some very solid work delivering different perspectives that create an engaging flow of a read visually. Tomeu Morey‘s colors stand out as well, especially in the beginning. March delivers his vision for the Riddler and Penguin and each are more monstrous than we’ve seen recently. Morey’s color helps drive that home with a sickening palette for each. Riddler’s curved body mimicking a question mark is a nice touch and detail.
Batman #87 is a fine second chapter. There’s solid action and moments for characters but it feels like a chapter. The comic doesn’t have quite enough to stand on its own. It’s part of the puzzle and features too much of a mystery to totally praise. As part of the arc, it’ll be quite good but as a single issue, it lacks a little and doesn’t stand on its own.
Story: James Tynion IV Art: Guillem March
Color: Tomeu Morey Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review