Batman #100 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Jorge Jimenez, Guillem March, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Artists; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: The finale of Joker War is as spectacular as the issues that came before it, but the surprising thing is that for me, the stars were the characters BESIDES Joker and Batman. Joker does his thing, of course—he’s dressed in Batman’s future Bat-costume and has reanimated Alfred’s corpse for psychological warfare—but this issue focuses more on Batman’s support network than any in recent memory. Watching the Bat-family show up one by one feels like Tynion celebrating that all the toys are back in the toybox. Nightwing in particular gets a great scene as he gets his revenge on Punchline, while Harvey Bullock reckons with the corrupt nature of the GCPD and finally takes a stand. A lot of new developments are coming in Gotham.
But that’s underselling the final showdown between Batman and Joker. There’s a more nuanced approach to Joker’s war this time, as he seeks to unravel Gotham’s belief in Batman more than just killing him. But the star of this final showdown is Harley Quinn, pushed to her limit by Joker and willing to take a desperate and possibly fatal gambit to finish him off for good. It’s strange to see a more serious take on Harley by now, but she’s no less compelling and the end of this issue feels like it’s setting up her becoming a full-fledged hero with Batman’s trust. I could quibble with a decision Batman made at the end, but I think that’s more his understanding that Joker would once again, get away. The Ghost-Maker cameo at the end was good, but the epilogues may be the strongest part of the issue.
Carlo Pagulayan takes over on art duties from Jorge Jimenez for the first epilogue, which has Batman finally meet Clownhunter as he tries to guide the troubled young man away from the path of murder. This segment is fantastic, showing both Batman’s determination to help with Clownhunter’s deeply disturbed worldview. New Robin incoming? Maybe, but it’ll take a lot of visits with the Bat-therapist. The other segment, drawn by Guillem March, shows what Joker’s been up to since the end of the main story, but it’s really a Punchline story. Tynion’s lived up to the character’s hype, turning her into a fascinating sociopath who can change her story and manipulate the situation as she needs to. This story directly leads into the upcoming Punchline one-shot, and it’s set up a fascinating new status quo for Batman and everyone around him.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.