Review: Batman #99

"Joker War" - Part Five

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Color Artist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Review by Max Byrne

Probably more here here than at any other point during his run on this, DC Comics' flagship title, James Tynion IV offers some wonderful character moments. Slices of interaction that really highlight just what this wonderful character is all about.

With two truly poignant and extremely diverse encounters on offer, one with Harley and one with Nightwing, we get to see two sides of the Batman. One is the taciturn crusader that refuses to compromise his ideals, the other shows the human element to the man, displaying genuine love for a longstanding member of his family.

There is a tangible sense here of the end being nigh, with all roads leading to the inevitable Joker/Bat face off. Whilst Tynion hasn't massively delved into Joker's deepest motivations for this particular scheme, there's just enough meat on the bone to keep this reader on the hook.

I've always been the kind of person who prefers the "less is more" approach to digging into Joker's wants and desires. It's usually better to just accept the fact that he simply is. There's always good value in a depraved plan, so let's trust in Tynion and where this will end up. I can't see him letting us down.

Jorge Jimenez is firing on all cylinders, yet again. My list of unused superlatives is dwindling every time I read a new issue, such is the consistency of his work. Jumping off the page at heights that an Olympic-level pole vaulter would struggle with, there's such life to his art. His figures are statuesque, and toned to perfection, but never over the top. One prime example is a treat of an image that brings all the Bat-Family together, poised and ready for action.To see eight icons in one panel is a feast for the eyes, and Jimenez manages to fit them all in without making the image look overcrowded. Jorge, I salute you!

My one minor quibble is that the exciting Clownhunter doesn't see his arc advanced too much, as he's reduced to just a cameo appearance. Deliciously brutal and anarchic, I'm chomping at the bit to find out more about his true identity and motivations. Is he a new character to be added to the mix or is he somebody we've met previously in the annals of DC Comics? I'm not sure, but I really need to find out, ASAP!

With an ending that's truly jaw dropping, and acts as a great device for pulling the rug out from under Batman's feet, Batman #100 should be an emotional roller-coaster. No spoilers here, but could this be the catalyst for the proper return of a much missed character? Hope springs eternal, but one thing's for sure, our Dark Knight is going to be put through the mill from here, both mentally and physically.

It remains to be seen how the Wayne fortune will be restored to its rightful owner, but over the years we've come to learn that Bruce always has a contingency plan in place. When the dust settles, I fail to see a scenario that involves the Wayne brood bedding down in a hostel for the night.

Conclusion

A highly enjoyable and engrossing piece of literature, Batman #99 is a recommended read. Acting as a great bridge for the return of Nightwing as we know and love him, and also as a place setter for the main event still to come, this is a very solid issue. Easy to digest with a truly shocking ending, this is a key purchase for all comic-book fans.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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