Batman #89 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Carlo Pagulayan, Guillem March, Danny Miki, Artists; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: James Tynion IV has wasted no time plunging Batman into a genre-fusing mystery, and Batman #89 doesn’t lose a step. This is the issue that’s gotten the most hype, due to the arrival of Joker’s new henchwoman Punchline. Don’t get too excited – the more murderous, deadlier version of Harley only gets half a page and a few lines, and will likely get to do much more next issue.
Ironically, it’s the woman who used to hold her position who steals the show this issue, as Harley Quinn drops into Gotham for a rollicking, ultraviolent team-up with Catwoman. This Harley is different from the Sam Humphries version, is definitely played less for laughs, but Tynion gets the most important thing right – this Harley HATES Joker, and she’s back in town to kill him in the upcoming Joker War storyline. But first, she and Selina have to survive the Designer’s plot. I just wish Ivy was here for this storyline too, but we all know her status quo is a mess right now.
Batman and Catwoman are separated and the events of Batman #89 make it likely that they’sll continue to work solo, but his plot is no less interesting. He’s working his way through the assassins the Designer has sent into Gotham, first taking out the jingoistic Gunsmith in a great fight scene before trying to round up Riddler. But to get to Nygma – or so he thinks – he has to stop the creepy Mr. Teeth. This new villain manages to chill with only a few scenes and no lines, showing how Tynion’s first love is horror comics.
The first appearance of the Designer was a surprise – he worked so well as an invisible figure I wasn’t expecting to see him and his design wasn’t what I expected. Along the way, a major new development for Batman’s new Bat-gear emerges, and it seems like one that could backfire. Under the surface, this Batman is more unwell than he has been in a long time, and I suspect that’s going to come out in a bad way soon. But until then, we’re being treated to one hell of an entertaining run.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.