Review by Paul Bowler
Joker War gets underway in earnest in Batman #95 as the Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight prepare to square off for their greatest battle yet! The Joker’s motivations have changed. He’s gone all out to gain the upper hand, and Joker is hell bent on ensuring this will be the final chapter in their eternal conflict. Batman’s life is already in ruins and Joker War has only just begun!
The much touted final showdown between Batman and the Joker explodes — quite literally — in the pages of Batman #95 with Part One of writer James Tynion IV’s highly anticipated Joker War. Following the shock revelation of the Designer’s true identity and Joker having now seized control of the Wayne fortune, the issue quickly establishes the dramatic shift in the Joker’s goals with an insightful flashback to Batman’s early years as he races in the Batmobiile to a previous showdown with the Joker, and Tynion skilfully uses this opportunity to tug at our heart strings as the conversation between Alfred and Batman highlights some particularly striking parallels between past and present circumstances.
Indeed, the fallout from Alfred’s death seems to permeate virtually every aspect of this issue for Batman. Never has Batman needed his oldest, most trusted friend more, and never has he seemed so desperately alone without him. As we rejoin events in the present day Tynion dramatically relays how Bruce’s fortune, Gotham, and even the law have all been taken by the Joker and turned against the Dark Knight. Even Lucius Fox has succumbed to the Joker’s influence, thus giving the Clown Prince of Crime access to all the wonderful toys, and the GCPD has been rendered powerless because of the Underwriter’s legal machinations. Everything that made Batman what he was has been completely stripped away and the Dark Knight is now effectively on the run.
Joege Jimenez’s art for Batman #95 is sumptuously rendered and vividly detailed. The opening flashback, which dovetails sublimely into a high octane Batmobile chase, together with the gloriously gloomy depiction of Gotham, the tantalising glimpse of a new Bat-Suit that’s highly reminiscent of the ice-tech look of George Clooney’s final costume in Batman & Robin (minus the nipples thankfully), and Batman’s face-off with Punchline are all action-packed moments that are beautifully realised by Jimenez’s impressive artwork and Tommy Morey’s exquisite colors. For me though the biggest highlight of the issue was the Joker splurging the cash as he returned to the very origins of the legacy of the Bat itself in the most macabre way imaginableIt! It’s a brilliant, creepy scene, and genuinely chilling.
That aforementioned showdown between Batman and Punchline is another great moment in this issue. Although I found Punchline’s debut a few issues previously something of an anti-climax after all the hype surrounding her, she’s beginning to grow on me a little bit now, and her fight with Batman in the compromised Mini-Bat-Cave saw significant improvements in the characterisation and depiction of the Joker’s new partner.
As cliffhangers go, this issues a doozy, and I can’[t wait to see how Dark Knight fights his way out of this one! Batman #95 provides a bombastic opening salvo to Joker War and certainly gets this major DC Comics Bat-Event off to a great start. Tynion’s run on Batman continues to go from strength to strength with every issue, he’s really firing on all cylinders now, and the art team on this book is also doing a fantastic job. So, will Joker War really turn out to be this much hyped final conflict between the Joke and Batman? No, I don’t believe that for a moment either, but it sure looks like we are going to be in for a battle Royale whatever happens after the dust has settled in the wake of this epic Batman event!
Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist Joege Jimenez
Colors: Tommy Morey / Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Jimenez & Morey / Joker Variant Cover: Francesco Mattina
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