Batman #89, published by DC Comics, is written by James Tynion IV, art by Carlo Pagulayan, Guillen March, and Danny Miki, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Clayton Cowles. After Batman’s climactic fight with Deathstroke in the previous issue, The Dark Knight drops an injured Penguin off at the hospital and leaves to fight off the swam of assassins that have descended on Gotham City.
Meanwhile, Catwoman is fighting for her life after the Joker has seemingly risen from the grave. Luckily, she has the help of Harley Quinn who has recently returned to Gotham. However, the two find themselves fighting more than Joker goons when Cheshire and Merlyn turn up to kill Selina. With assassins, just about everyone, Batman is struggling to stop Deathstroke from killing the mayor of Gotham City and figure out who ordered the kill. The usual suspects aren’t cooperating, which traditionally means something far scarier is on the horizon.
The opening panels of Batman #89, featuring a recently stabbed Penguin, were surprisingly laugh-out-loud funny. Dropping Penguin off at the ER without verifying his safety is exactly how Batman skirts the line of his own rule. The scene was also a great example of how well Tynion knows and understands the character. The pacing of the issue is great considering just how much happens. The two storylines, Batman and Catwoman‘s, finally connect at the tail end of the issue.
However, as interested as I am with the new villain introduced, I am concerned just how much the arc will focus on him. Catwoman and Harley’s fight with the Joker and the new information revealed about his return make it fairly clear the upcoming issues will focus on him just as much, if not more, than the new villain. While I cannot speak to how this set-up with play out, for the time being, it is disappointing to see the story shift away from Deathstroke. Joker is Batman’s most famous villain so it makes sense any new creative team would want to give their take on the character.
Outside of the narrative itself, Batman #89 has a lot of the same art problems that plagued the other issues. Most of the close-up shots are stunning but the action scenes with Harley and Catwoman just seem off. Their body contusions seem painful and unrealistic. That being said, the art is no worse than other DC comics currently on the shelves. The stand out of the issue continues to be Morey’s colors. The sickly greens and bright reds make Gotham feel alive while also staying true to its gritty roots. Overall, Batman #89 is not a bad issue and the story it tells is interesting but there are a lot of things that could have been done better.
Batman #89 is not a bad issue and the story it tells is interesting but there are a lot of things that could have been done better.