Batman #96 is published by DC Comics, written by James Tynion IV, art by Jorge Jimenez, colors by Tomeu Morey and letter by Clayton Cowles. As Batman reels from the effects of the newest batch of joker toxin Gotham is going up in flames. The Joker owns Gotham and his clowns are running wild. With Batman having been out of commission for three days no one knows what’s going on. Now that Bruce has regained consciousness he just has to figure out what his next move will be. And if he can muster the strength to make it.
When you first open Batman #96 it greets readers with an idyllic Gotham that could put Metropolis to shame. Unfortunately, it turns out this utopia is all in Bruce’s head. But it’s an excellent way for Tynion to bring readers in. Because going from sunshine and rainbows to what Gotham really is makes for a shocking ride. Rarely has the tone of a book changed so hard so fast.
Batman awakens to Harley providing what care she can for him. She proceeds to catch him up on what has transpired during his unconsciousness while trying to, futilely, get him to rest. But, as all Batman fans know, Bruce is never one to follow a doctor’s orders. With an invitation from the Joker, Batman heads out to try to finish this fight and save his city. Though the ability to walk a straight line might be helpful.
Tynion’ s script for Batman #96 is executed to near perfection. Bruce’s single-minded determination is delivered flawlessly. Even as he struggles with his ability to grasp reality his persistence is unwavering. It instantly reminded me of Scott Snyder’s take on the character in the seminal “Court of Owls” storyline. And I don’t make that comparison lightly.
While Tynion’s writing is excellent, it is the art that truly delivers Batman #96’s hardest hits. Jimenez’s pencils perfectly capture every moment of Batman’s determination, every bit of Harley’s desperation, and every drop of nightmarish horror that Gotham has been reduced to. The final panels of this book are literally the stuff of nightmares. Exactly as the Joker would want it.
The visual design in Batman #96 is taken to even further heights by Morey’s exquisite color choices. Every moment in this book is amplified perfectly through its color. From the bright tones of the ideal Gotham to the nightmarish neon green that follows the Joker wherever he goes, the color work couldn’t be more impactful. I can honestly say this issue delivers the best colors I have ever seen in a comic book.
Finally, the presentation of Batman #96 is finished off by Cowles’ lettering. The story here is delivered smoothly, and in an easy to follow manner. This, along with some altered font choices to give a little extra umph to a few particular dialogue moments shows Cowles deliver an excellent performance for this book.
So, when all is said and done Batman #96 blew me away. I haven’t been this taken with a Batman story in quite some time. If the creatives can keep this energy going for the rest of this storyline “The Joker War” could find itself a spot among the great stories in the Dark Knight’s history.
Batman #96 is available August 4th wherever comics are sold.
Batman #96 blew me away. I haven’t been this taken with a Batman story in quite some time. If the creatives can keep this energy going for the rest of this storyline “The Joker War” could find itself a spot among the great stories in the Dark Knight’s history.