Review by Paul Bowler
A new dawn rises over Gotham City in Batman #101 as the dust settles in the aftermath of Joker War. The full impact of the Joker’s reign of terror and the effect its had on the citizens of the city is now realised in the cold light of day. Batman chooses a bold new path for his war on crime as Bruce Wayne’s life is changed forever, and why exactly is Cole Cash – a.k.a.-Grifter, now working for Lucius Fox?
It’s time to ring in the changes as writer James Tynion IV sets out a new direction for the Dark Knight in this somber, emotional and reflective issue of Batman. Joker War might be over but the fallout from what the Clown Prince of Crime did to the city using the Wayne fortune will have long lasting ramifications for Bruce Wayne. Tynion delivers some terrific character moments for Batman and Lucius Fox as they reevaluate their lives in the wake of the traumatic events they each suffered, both mentally and physically, during Joker War. Fox now has control of the Wayne fortune, the board of Wayne Enterprises want Bruce quietly sidelined from the company, and Batman is going to have to tighten his utility belt with a more cash strapped, low-tech, approach to crime fighting.
Guillem March’s strikingly detailed artwork for Batman #101 brings vivid clarity to the events in this issue. Numerous pages are awash with swapping vistas of Gotham as Batman looks back on simpler times, where Commissioner Gordon always stood by the Bat-Signal, Robin fought by the Dark Knight’s side, and Alfred was ever present in the Bat-Cave to offer advice. Now all these constants in Batman’s life are gone, March’s artwork beautifully encapsulates these reflective, emotionally charged moments, whilst Tomeu Morey’s subtle colors heightens them perfectly in the Dark Knight’s powerful scenes with Lucius Fox and his tender soul-searching moments with Catwoman. Batman’s no-holds-bared fight with Lucius Fox’s new bodyguard, Grifter, is another highlight as well.
Along with having Bruce relocating his operations as Batman to a more modest location in Gotham, Tynion also acknowledges what Joker War will mean for Bat and the Cat relationship now. Tough decisions need to be made to accommodate the new status quo Bruce has adopted to allow himself to work off the grid as leaner, more self-sufficient Batman, and Catwoman being the number one target of Gotham’s underworld after stealing the Wayne fortune back from the Underwriter isn’t exactly going to make things any easier for them or their relationship going forwards.
Brief mentions of Punchline’s media message and Clownhunter’s vigilante antics also get thrown into the mix to keep those plot lines bubbling away in the background for future issue to explore. Although this issue comes across initially as being rather downbeat after Joker War, there’s a distinct move by Tynion here to really start to place his stamp of the character with a more back-to-basics approach. With its excellent character driven narrative by James Tynion IV and terrific artwork by Guillem March, Batman #101 heralds a new beginning for the Dark Knight – in more way than one!
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist: Guillem March
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