Review: Batman #101

"After The Laughter"
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Guillem March
Colour Artist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Review by Max Byrne

So, The "Joker War" is over, and the status quo has been restored to Gotham City, right? Well, it has, but only to a certain degree. Whilst the taciturn titular character has reclaimed his place at the top of the local food chain, the after effects of his recent ordeal have certainly set him on a new trajectory.

Still very much our typical Dark Knight, the key change is that now the seemingly bottomless pit of wealth and resources at his disposal is no more. Although still rich beyond the wildest dreams of this writer, the Wayne fortune is now in the possession of Lucius Fox, albeit for totally altruistic and mutually beneficial reasons.

This is a very positive step from writer James Tynion, as this should be the catalyst for a more streetwise, stripped down version of Batman, devoid of his endless array of toys and gadgets. As the US government now has their eyes trained on the Wayne billions, no longer can it be funnelled into crime fighting.

In the words of Fox:

It will have to be a leaner Batman. No more rocket ships or satellites or sophisticated A.I drones that know how you're going to get punched before you do. If you break a car, you'll need to fix it yourself.

A leaner, meaner Batman? Take. My. Money!

Grifter Returns

Of course, the action is liberally sprinkled into this excellent issue, by way of a superb one on one fight between Batman and Grifter, making a very welcome appearance via the pages of Wildstorm. Seeing this two peerless combatants go at it is a real treat, and one that I hope we get to enjoy again very soon. Full of heavy impact blows and close quarter choreography, this is comic book fisticuffs at its very, very best.

Said fight is a showcase for the artistic prowess of Guillem March, illustrating his penchant for expertly depicting a good scrap. Dynamic beyond belief, March's potency has made him one of the finest artists actively working in comic books today.

There's an eye catching quality to his work that demands a whole lot of attention from the reader, and rewards us all for investing our time in viewing his work. Tynion and March make a great combination on this title and I hope that they continue together for a very long time indeed.

The Bat/Cat relationship is addressed at the conclusion of this book, setting up where Tom King may take it next in his upcoming limited series, focusing on the two of them together.

It's a love story that's complicated, passionate and ultimately, deeply loving, I look forward to the next evolution in their relationship.

Conclusion

A great bridge between one arc and the next, Batman #101 is a very engaging read. This creative team has my full attention, and I find myself counting the days between the issues with a real fervour.

As we move towards a less tech-oriented Batman, there's now a great opportunity to get into the true core of the character. With Tynion and March at the helm, the future is so bright, Gotham City had better have plenty of shades on order!

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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