Review: BATMAN #92
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Guillem March
Colours: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman #92: The greatest heist in history is underway in Gotham City, courtesy of the mysterious crimemaster known as the Designer! Batman knows what he needs to do, but in order to stop the plot, he must first escape the most ingenious death trap the Riddler has ever devised!
In Batman #92, the Riddler has divided Gotham into a grid, turning the city into a crossword puzzle. Riddler explains, “Letters guessed correctly will connect city blocks together. When the gird is solved the city will be open. The walls will come down… If you guess wrong, the bombs start going off”. It’s been a while since we’ve had a good Riddler story.
However, things don’t go as well as the Riddler expects. The Designer’s plan for the Riddler isn’t as successful as expected. I suspect that the plan may have been viable when the Designer first came up with it, but after years of facing off with the Riddler, Batman has become too adept at solving his riddles.
I love how easily Batman solves the Riddler’s crossword puzzle. Without even having a visual representation of the grid to look at, Batman even starts solving words without hearing the riddle that refers to it. And the quicker Batman plows through the puzzle, the angrier the Riddler gets – but both he and Batman know he is incapable of defying the rules he has set for his own game.
Meanwhile, Catwoman and Harley contact a person known as the Underbroker, who appears to be running an illicit bank for Gotham’s underworld. And Catwoman needs to make a withdrawal. However, they find that Punchline has beaten them there.
This sets up an epic fight between Harley Quinn and the woman who has replaced her in the Joker’s affections. Unfortunately, we just see the start of this fight, but hopefully we will see more next issue.
Just like Bruce makes an impressive show of intelligence in solving the Riddler’s clues, Catwoman makes an impressive show of her skills as well. While Harley and Punchline fight, she confronts the Underbroker. The Underbroker is quite alarmed to learn that Selina knows his name, address, and even the location and combination of his private safe.
She threatens, “Do you want me to whisper the combination to that safe right now, where any of these clowns could hear it?… Do you want me to bring the Batman down on this place?”. Clearly, Bruce isn’t the only one who can intimidate criminals, and the Underbroker is happy to comply with Catwoman’s wishes.
The issue ends with Batman finally coming face to face with the Designer. The villain ominously greets Batman as “Bruce”, revealing that he knows Batman’s true identity. We have also seen that the Joker also knows Bruce’s secret. And we haven’t seen much of the Joker in this story so far. Could the Joker be posing as the apparently resurrected Designer? Or is Tynion throwing us a curveball? We will likely find out next issue, but I’m guessing that he is the Clown Prince of Crime.
I’m still not quite sold on the new character Punchline. DC seems to be pushing her like she’s the hottest new character, but I don’t really feel that we’ve seen enough of her to know if she’s worth all the hype she’s getting. However, she is starting to take a more prominent role in the story, so we should soon learn if she can live up to the hype.
Tynion’s first arc has been an exciting ride so far, and Batman #92 shows the Batman at his best. Riddler stories are great for demonstrating Batman’s prodigious intellect, and this issue is no exception. I am eager to see what Tynion and March have in store for the next issue.