With the first two story arcs of the new direction over, Batman #101 wraps things up reiterating writer James Tynion IV‘s vision for the character and charting a new direction. While “Joker War” had its ups and downs what it clearly laid out is that Batman has failed in his mission. Gotham is really no better off and his tactics haven’t worked to have the city progress from its crime-infested corrupt roots. Batman #101 lays that all out with an exclamation point and begins to lay the groundwork as to where Gotham, and Batman, goes from here.
Tynion reiterates his vision for where he’s taking Batman. Gone will be the fancy toys that solved all his problems. In is a grittier, back to his roots take. There’s no more Alfred to fix things. There’s no more Wayne Enterprises to funnel projects through. The spotlight is on Bruce Wayne and his finances forcing him to think differently and change his operation. With Lucius Fox now in control of the Wayne fortune, Bruce and Batman need to make decisions in their future.
That goes beyond Batman, it extends to his relationships as well. Catwoman is center stage for the issue as the Bat and Cat discuss their future after the marriage that didn’t happen. There’s a lot of reflection from Bruce on multiple fronts that’ll have some interesting ramifications for the future. And there’s downright hints as what’s to come as the classic WildC.A.T.s character Grifter is introduced as Fox’s new security. What’s said and what happens will have readers excited.
The art by Guillem March is solid. Featuring color from Tomeu Morey and lettering from Clayton Cowles, there’s a lack of the destruction we’ve seen through previous arcs. Instead, there’s a dirty calm about everything. Things haven’t recovered and you can see the scars remain in the art. That’s everything from the status of the city to how Lucius looks. The art tells you the damage is still there and it’s a city recovering. Tynion sets the internal thoughts but the art team sets how Gotham and the characters are in every other way.
Batman #101 sets the stage for the next direction of Batman and Gotham. It also feels like the start of a commentary on the state of our world. Corruption is underpinning society. Those who have, or have supported, heinous acts are hiding their masks from their neighbors. It’s something we’ll likely see happen depending on who wins the November election and starting to see now. There’s a new status-quo in Gotham and Batman #101 begins our journey into that world.
Story: James Tynion IV Art: Guillem March
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review