Review by Paul Bowler.
A new era begins in Batman #86, but the Dark Knight’s world has changed forever. Bane is defeated and one of Batman’s oldest allies is dead. Now as Batman begins to rebuild his life and embarks on his bold new vision for Gotham, Deathstroke arrives in town, hired under a deadly new contract that threatens everything Batman is striving to achieve…
New series writer James Tynion IV takes the helm of DC Comics flagship Batman title for this next chapter in the life of the Dark Knight, together with the epic new art team of Tony S. Daniel and Danny Miki, for a story that instantly sets the tone for an entirely new directions as Batman starts to pick up the pieces after Alfred’s death. Their Dark Designs Part 1 gives us poignant insight into Batman’s radical new approach towards Gotham, indeed Alfred Pennyworth’s untimely demise in City of Bane inevitably hangs heavily over this issue, and consequently because of these opening scenes it also resonates just as powerfully in the wake of Batman’s confrontation with Deathstroke as well.
Batman has other allies though who will seem to be just as crucial to the Dark Knight’s designs during Tynion’s run. So, with Catwoman undercover and working a room full of Gotham’s high-fliers at the New Wayne Campus and Lucius Fox crafting Batman new and ever more wonderful toys in an immense subbasement workshop, Batman is free to deal with the lethal contract killers he’s been monitoring. Tynion is clearly going all-out with some new, and inventive technological innovations for the Dark Knight’s arsenal, and this issue sees the debut of the perhaps Batman’s most fearsome vehicle to date – the Nightclimber!
Needless to say the artwork that graces the pages of Batman #86 is little short of phenomenal. The pencils by Tony S. Daniel combined with Danny Miki’s inks are like a match made in heaven, and together with the vibrant colors by Tomeu Morey this issue is a veritable feast for the senses. From the opening rain-swept scenes over Gotham with a contemplative Batman, to witnessing the hired killers gathering in secret, and the deft inter-cutting between Batman’s conversations, first with Catwoman and then Lucius, there is a rich fluidity and consistency to the art that is staggeringly beautiful. Of course, Deathstroke is the one who has been brought in to lead this band of hired killers and the showdown with Slade Wilson – though brief – is still impressively depicted.
Closing things out with an intriguing mystery, a night sky full of memories, and a dark epilogue Batman #86 gets the new creative teams run off to a pretty good start. However, Batman #86 follows what has arguably been one of the most divisive runs in recent times for Batman comics. So is Batman #86 a bold new era or damage control? I honestly cannot decide as this issue felt like a little of both to me. I still feel that Tom King’s run has done immeasurable harm to the legacy of the Dark Knight, but, if anyone can fix things I’m sure James Tynion IV is the man to do it. Fingers crossed, eh?
Publisher: DC Comics Writer: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Tony S. Daniel Inks: Danny Miki Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles Cover Tony S Daniel & 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