Review – Batman ’89 #3: Forking Paths

Comic Books DC This Week
Batman ’89 #3 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman ‘89 #3 – Sam Hamm, Writer; Joe Quinones, Artist; Leonardo Ito, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: This reinvention of the Burton-era Batman has been one of the most pleasant surprises out of DC in a long time, and as we hit the halfway point things are only getting better. Last issue saw Harvey Dent run into a burning building to save the trapped Drake Winston, only to get trapped himself. A brief segment shows a very different outcome to this scenario, with Harvey Dent becoming a hero, sweeping into office, and tightening his grip over the city. But of course, we know that’s not exactly how it happened. The choice here to make Two-Face’s genesis a fire rather than an attack by mobsters is reminiscent of the way the animated series handled it, and it works, but the reveal and the slow onset of Harvey’s insanity is done better here than maybe any version I’ve seen. The casting of the Two-Face personality not as a homicidal maniac but as an oily manipulator is a great update on the character’s MO.

Gotham afire. Via DC Comics.

Of course, Two-Face isn’t the only villain in this story. As Bruce Wayne deals with some unwanted celebrity as a result of his rescue of Harvey, it brings an old frenemy out of hiding. Obviously, Burton eventually had his own version of Catwoman, but she was so far afield of the traditional version that I’m not surprised Hamm decided to reinvent her. She has much of the usual dynamic with Batman, but it feels a bit more caustic here. Overall, her look works—similar to the iconic Pfeifer costume but without quite so many stitches and shine. After the brilliant Two-Face segment early this issue, much of the story feels like setting the stage for things to come, but by the end of the issue Gotham is burning. This isn’t a comic about race issues per se, but they’re unavoidable with the way Hamm has reinvented Harvey Dent and created Drake. So far, this is a comic that excels both in big action and more subtle stories.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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