Review: BATMAN #93
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Colours: Tomeu Morey, David Baron
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman #93: Batman faces off with the Designer as “Their Dark Designs” reaches its epic climax! In the last year, Batman has lost more than he could have imagined, and now he faces a cost so dear it will change the course of his life. And there is worse on the horizon. In the midst of all the horror, he can feel the drumbeat of battle. “Joker War” is coming, and Gotham City will never be the same.
We haven’t seen much of the Joker during “Their Dark Designs”, despite being an important player in the story. In Batman #93, the Clown Prince of Crime steps into the spotlight, revealing his true role in the events of the Tynion’s storyline.
We had learned earlier that the Joker had a method for reanimating corpses and exerting control over them remotely. I did suspect that the Designer was either the Joker, or someone working with Joker posing as the Designer. In retrospect, the revelation that the Designer is one of Joker’s reanimated puppet corpses seems obvious. Okay, you outsmarted me there, Tynion.
We finally learn the Designer’s original plan in detail. Not surprisingly, the Dark Knight has figured it all out, and the Joker confirms it. The plan actually makes sense, and probably would have been effective – if it had been carried out when the Designer originally conceived it. The more experience Batman of today easily figured it out and foiled it.
Tynion fills us in on one important part of the plan: the Joker’s role in it. The Designer intended for the Joker to kill Batman, who would be the only one left in Gotham who could threaten the criminal empire that the Designer’s plan would create.
And that was the flaw in the Designer’s plan: “No matter how far the Designer pushed him, he wanted to kill anybody and everybody but Batman”. Tynion rightly recognizes that although the Joker has an obsession with the Batman, the last thing he would ever want to do is kill him. He wouldn’t hesitate to cause the Dark Knight any suffering, but killing him would put an end to the Joker’s fun.
However, the plan was not meant to succeed. It was meant as a distraction while the Joker pulled his true. plan into effect. He tells Batman, “I have a whole war planned for you”, which is a direct reference to the imminent “Joker War” event. It appears that the Joker has a whole campaign of misery in store for Bruce.
And it starts with a devastating move. Catwoman thought she was saving Bruce Wayne’s money by stealing it herself. We now find out that she was unwittingly giving Punchline and the Underbroker the opportunity to divert the Wayne fortune to the Joker.
Guillem March and Javier Fernandez do a splendid job of illustrating Tynion’s story. I quite like their depiction of the Joker. It seems to bring some elements of Heath Ledger’s Joker to his comic book counterpart.
I don’t have much to complain about this issue. I’m still not convinced that Punchline is a necessary addition to the Batman Rogues Gallery, but I trust that Tynion will convince me as the story continues to move forward.
Batman #93 brilliantly brings the plot threads of “Their Dark Designs” together in a way that makes sense and beautifully sets up the “Joker War” event. A penniless Batman now has to face the Joker, who knows all his secrets and has possession of his fortune. The Batman certainly has his work cut out for him.