Review By Paul Bowler.
Joker War looms on the horizon in Batman #94 following the fallout from the Designer’s grand scheme. The Dark Knight’s life is in ruins and the ambitious rebuilding of Gotham City has ground to a halt. New forces have risen to shape Gotham’s destiny — and there’s nothing Batman can do to prevent it. Lost, without Alfred or the Bat-Family by his side, and desperate to save the woman he loves Batman now stands alone as he faces the ascension of his greatest foe — the Joker!
The finale of Their Dark Designs unfolds with a funeral-like dirge of thunder and storm clouds rumbling over Gotham as writer James Tynion IV brings Batman’s world crashing down around him. As the realisation for the Dark Knight, Catwoman and the entirety of Gotham’s rogues gallery that they’ve all been played by the Joker begins to reverberate across the city, Tynion continues to excel, weaving an insightful flashback to the young Bruce Wayne’s early years of training before he became the Bat into the narrative and the Designer’s machinations to bring everything full circle with Bruce’s encounter with Cassander Wycliffe Baker – the worlds greatest detective.
From there Batman #94 goes into free-fall as the Dark Knight battles back from the brink. Lucius Fox might be on hand to assist after Deathstroke’s attack, but he can’t be the ally Bruce needs right now, especially if they are to have any chance against the Joker who has just seized control of the Wayne fortune. The emotional fallout is equally devastating for Bruce, something that’s powerfully highlighted by the phone conversation between the Bat and the Cat. It’s a heartrending, pivotal moment; and something that could very well strain their relationship to breaking point.
The artistic duties for this issue are shared between Guillem March and Rafael Albuquerque. Their distinct and individual styles complement each other nicely, seamlessly bookending scenes, whilst balance the grim tone and emotional beats of Tynion’s story perfectly, and the rich colors by David Baron bring vivid clarity and tone to every page. Everything from Bruce’s flashback, to the Dark Knight’s steely determination to reach Selina, with a chilling confrontation at the hospital, and the final scenes as Batman looks to the raging heavens above Gotham for a sign all converge to make this one of the most visually impressive and compelling issues of Batman we’ve seen so far in this run.
All in all, I think James Tynion’s first story arc for Batman has turned out really well. Their Dark Designs has ushered in a powerful, innovative and thoughtful new era for the Dark Knight. Batman #94 is a resounding finale to this saga, it rounds everything off with an emotional rollercoaster ride that will leave the Bat broken by his own design, and brilliantly paves the way for the start of Joker War!
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV / Art: Guillem March & Rafael Albuquerque
Colors: David Baron / Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Tony S Daniel & Tommy Morey
About The Author
Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook