Review: Batman #89

"Their Dark Designs" - Part Four
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: 
Carlo Pagulayan, Guillem March and Danny Miki
Color 
Artist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Max Byrne

A word that certainly never be used when describing this issue, and indeed Tynion's handful of issues to date, is pedestrian. This is anything but! Events unfurl at a breakneck pace, satisfying the most ardent of action junkies. For those that enjoy exposition deployed in intimate exchanges, then there's still plenty of meat on the bone here for you too. It's just all framed by a sense of purpose, a sense of urgency and above all, a sense that something terrible is about to happen.

Upping the bang for your buck quotient even more this time is the debut of two exciting new characters to the Bat-canon. Or at least, new in terms of the guises we the readers get to see them in, The alleged mastermind behind the influx of assassins into Gotham finally graces the page with an appearance. Yes, The Designer is here. Clearly somebody with a lot of stroke and with evil on his mind, I get the feeling this is going to be a classic villain in the making. With a costume that is a quasi-hybrid of Kraven The Hunter and Onomatopoeia, one certainly gets the impression that it could be a familiar face beneath the visage. But who? Whatever his dark design is, it involves the classic Batman rogues gallery, Their deal with this particular devil is one that is going to cost them all greatly, I can't wait to see how this is going to play out.

The much hyped debut of Punchline also takes place here, albeit during the one page epilogue. With a panel that reveals just the lower half of her face, her true ghoulish appearance is being reserved for a later date. Her faux Harley look should keep her beau happy, as will his imminent plan of destruction involving the Bat-family. Readers of Nightwing #69 will know that a collision course is inevitable. It could be something on a par with the events of Snyder and Capullo's Death of The Family epicWhatever it is that the Clown Prince of Crime has up his sleeve, it 's clear that hard times are just around the corner for the Wayne boys.

As I mentioned earlier, the sense of perpetual forward motion in the issue is tangible. The perfect synergy of Tynion's script and the art of March, Pagulayan and Miki creates something very special. No page is wasted, nor filler. Once you get on this train, it leaves the station and doesn't stop for anybody. Each turn of the page reveals a feast for the eyes, as classic and beloved characters are interpreted faithfully and in a way that pleases this longstanding fan. With Tynion opting to stack the deck with big hitters galore, the artistic team must be rubbing their hands with glee at being given such a plethora of icons to play with. There truly is something for everybody here, with every chance one of your favourite characters will be represented.


Conclusion

Batman #89 is a real treat. I'm really into James Tynion IV's writing style. He strikes the perfect balance between moving the story along, with liberal doses of action, and weaving a web of intrigue and mystery that's slowly being unfurled at a deliberate pace, designed to keep us coming back for more, more, and even more after that.

Sign me up, bring me issue #90 as soon as possible, please. I believe that he next few months are going to be full of seminal moments. Do I smell a bun in the Bat-Oven... ?
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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