Review – Batman #118: New Era, New Enemy

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Batman #118 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman #118 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Jorge Molina, Mikel Janin, Artists; Tomeu Morey, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: Joshua Williamson is the latest heavy hitter to take over the Batman title, coming on after the sudden departure of James Tynion IV—who was a pinch-hit writer himself! Will Williamson follow in his footsteps and have his run take off like wildfire? The first impressions are pretty positive, which shouldn’t be a surprise—Williamson is one of DC’s most consistent writers since Rebirth. He’s picking up right after Fear State, with most of Tynion’s toys back in the box. The Magistrate has been defeated, Ghost-Maker and Clownhunter have left Gotham, and Bruce’s relationship with most of his family is… tense. It’s really just him and Oracle keeping Gotham safe, and Bruce’s brooding is in fine form.

New day in Gotham, via DC Comics.

While this isn’t the happiest status quo, I find Williamson actually works a bit more humor into this first issue than I’m used to from Batman. A segment where he terrorizes some low-level crooks without ever putting a hand on them is very clever, as is a hilariously awkward segment where some real villains decide to crash a billionaire’s ball themed to… Gotham’s villains. How do you tell the real villains from the cosplayers? Batman is prepared, but his presence at the party leads to some offbeat complications. It’s a great day-in-the-life issue for Batman without any big central threat—until Batman gets an alert that sends him out of Gotham and on the trail of some of his old allies.

It’s been a while since we saw much of Batman Inc. from the Morrison run, aside from some players like Knight and Squire. But now the whole gang is back—and they’ve been arrested for murder. The murder, specifically, of a notorious international villain like Abyss. Who was this masked terror and what pushed Batman’s allies to cross that critical line? The answer may lie in who’s been handling them since Bruce Wayne lacks the money to fund them. This is a great ending twist that puts Bruce in uncharted territory and adds a potential new ally—and some new enemies. It may feel like a step back in intensity from past runs, but I think that’s by design. Williamson is an expert at building a run from the ground up.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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