Batman #90, published by DC Comics, is written by James Tynion IV, art by Jorge Jimenez, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Previously, Catwoman partially revealed her connection to the Designer to Batman. The issue also hinted at the Joker’s return and introduced Punchline in the epilogue of the issue. Now, Batman works to uncover the Designer’s grand plan. However, Catwoman is still holding on to her greatest secret.
As Catwoman explains her first interaction with the Designer, readers get a background of the mysterious new villain that has apparently been working as one of the greatest criminals in the world for years. During her early years, Catwoman was invited by the Designer to speak about working together, however, she was not the only villain in Gotham to receive an invitation. The Designer offers them training and a way to beat Batman, an opponent very similar to one faced in his youth.
While most Batman comics look at the psychology of the Dark Knight himself, Batman #90 focuses on the villains. The Designer explains his own past and how he found himself wanting to one-up and beat his opponent more than accomplish his goals. This is remarkably similar to what fuels most of Batman’s rouge’s gallery. Over the years, the plots are less about terrorizing Gotham or stealing the biggest diamond and more about finally beating and outwitting the Caped Crusader. The panels where the Designer relays his past transgressions and failures is colored in a muted blue similar to the color you would see on the blueprints of a building. This choice from the creative team, and Morey respectively, is not only a fantastic visual cue but also cleve symbolism to showing just how deep the Designer’s plan for Gotham goes. The blueprints were created from his own past and experiences. The Designer helped shaped the villain’s we know now and the thought that he is back is terrifying.
When it was first announced Jimenez was taking over the art for this issue I was ecstatic and luckily his work did not disappoint. Jimenez has a unique style but overall does a great job of capturing the essence of these classic characters. Additionally, seeing his version of Catwoman in her new and old suits was a treat and worth the price of the issue itself. Jimenez’s art coupled with Morey’s once again excellent coloring makes every panel a delight to look at. A lot of the comic’s story is told through Selina’s internal monologue which is clearly and beautifully lettered by Cowles.
Batman #90 feels like a return to form for Batman. Previously, I was concerned about how much focus would be on the Joker over the Designer. However, it is a lot more clear where the story is heading. Tynion does a great job of establishing the Designer and just how powerful he truly is. And while seeing Selina and Bruce’s relationship tested yet again by her past might seem overdone, in Batman #90 it feels fresh. I am finally excited about this Batman run as this issue picks up the pacing, finally moving the story forward in a concrete direction.
Batman #90 feels like a return to form for Batman. Tynion does a great job of establishing the Designer and just how powerful he truly is. Additionally, Jimenez’s art coupled with Morey’s once again excellent coloring makes every panel a delight to look at. I am finally excited about this Batman run as this issue picks up the pacing, finally moving the story forward in a concrete direction.