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Batman #99

Review by Paul Bowler.

The endgame of Joker War looms in Batman #99 as the Dark Knight and the Joker prepare for the ultimate showdown. Batman knows he cannot win this war alone. He’s going to need the whole of the Bat-Family to help him reclaim Gotham. It’s time for a reunion with the first Robin, Dick Grayson, but is he ready and willing to return as Nightwing so soon after reclaiming his lost memories?

Everyone is in place as the penultimate chapter of Joker War unfolds, writer James Tynion IV delivers his most thrilling issue of Batman to date, and the rich level of characterisation he employs is mind-blowing in the extreme. We are treated to a frightening insight to the Joker’s twisted psyche and his anarchic vision of Gotham. Equally chilling is his warped use of the Wayne fortune, enjoying his luxurious new Jokermobile as he surveys the carnage he’s unleashed, and his ruthless demeanour towards his minions — including his new partner in crime Punchline – as he makes his final preparations at ACE chemicals highlights just how determined the Joker has become over the course of Joker War.

With theaters now filling with Gothamites for a movie where the Joker will ultimately kill them all and Clown goons running riot across the city, Batman calls in the Bat-Family for a rooftop meeting to help him form a strategy to retake Gotham. It’s great to see Red Hood, Signal, Orphan, Red Robin, and Batgirl all reunited alongside the Dark Knight. Harley Quinn is also along for the ride, Batwoman and the GCPD are busy having recaptured Wayne Enterprises and saved Lucius Fox (as seen in Detective comics #1025), but of course the biggest highlight is the return of Dick Grayson to the fold. DC Comics have come to their senses and the whole Ric Grayson debacle is finally over at last! Dick has his memories back and is ready to work alongside Batman again to save Gotham, Tynion crafts a fantastic and moving reunion for Dick Grayson and Batman, and while its not quite the big set-piece hinted at on the cover this scene is still easily the standout moment of the whole issue.

Harley Quinn also gets a good share of the action and some wonderfully snappy dialogue. She challenges Batman’s plans, her furious aside to Red Robin is hilarious, and her heartfelt resolve to finish the Joker if the Dark Knight should fail is as touching as it is brutally frank in its examination of the terrifying schism and collateral damage that Batman’s never-ending conflict with the Clown Prince of Crime has wrought over the years. The only complaint I can really level at the issue of Batman is that Punchline is seemingly sidelined by the Joker himself, Clownhunter gets thrown into the mix as just an afterthought, and even Catwoman’s scheme to strike back at the Underwriter feels a little underwhelming by caparison with the bigger events going on in the  rest of the issue. 

Joker War has seen the work of artist Joege Jimenez and colorist Tomeu Morey elevate DC’s flagship Batman title to new heights of visual opulence, and Batman #99 is no exception to that rule. With its burning panoramic vistas of Gotham, the Joker’s bloodthirsty treatment of his Clown thugs, and the Bat-Family reunion are all highlights from this issue, but the star of the show has to be Batman’s arrival at ACE chemicals — beautifully rendered by Jimenez and sumptuously coloured by Morey these scenes in particular are almost cinematic and breathtaking in scale and intensity.

Batman #99 wraps with another nerve jangling cliffhanger and it seems Dick Grayson isn’t the only one who gets a costume change this issue either! The excellent creative team of Tynion, Jimenez, and Morey are on fire with this title, and everything is now set for the momentous 100th issue of Batman and the conclusion of Joker War!

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist Joege Jimenez

Colors: Tomeu Morey / Letters: Clayton Cowles

Cover: Guillem March & Tomeu 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