Review: BATMAN #118

Batman #118 - DC Comics News

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artists: Jorge Molina, Mikel Janin

Colours: Tomeu Morey

Letters: Clayton Cowles

Reviewed By: Derek McNeil


Batman #118: New creative team! Start of a new story arc as Batman leaves Gotham! “Abyss” part one! As Gotham celebrates surviving Fear State, Batman retreats alone into the darkness. But when he learns of a mystery involving Batman Inc., it forces the Caped Crusader to leave Gotham for a brand-new adventure! Thrills, chills, and international intrigue await! The Dark Knight begins a new story with superstar artist Jorge Molina and new writer Joshua Williamson!


With Batman #118, Joshua Williamson takes over from James Tynion IV as writer of Batman’s eponymous title. Not that I didn’t enjoy Tynion’s run, but I’ve been eager to see what Williamson had planned for the Dark Knight. I have very much enjoyed his epic run on The Flash. And that run included two fantastic crossovers with Tom King’s Batman run: The Button and The Price. Perhaps now that Williamson is the Batman writer, we might collaborate with current Flash writer Jeremy Adams for a third Batman/Flash crossover.

Batman #118 opens with a rare sight of a Gotham-wide celebration. The citizenry is expressing their joy and relief at surviving the Scarecrow’s Fear State. And even stranger, they are expressing gratitude to Batman for saving them. Bruce states, “I’m not used to Gotham celebrating me”. To my memory, he’s correct. Batman hasn’t ever enjoyed public adulation from the citizens of Gotham in any modern comics. I think you’d have to go back as far as the Silver Age to see that. But it’s understandable that Batman would be as a saviour figure by the citizens of Gotham after saving them from their recent harrowing experience.

I quite enjoyed the sequence where the very sight of Batman is enough to send them running to the nearest cops, demanding to be arrested. And Oracle accuses Batman of enjoying it as well: “You enjoyed that, didn’t you?”. Of course, Batman’s reply is a curt “I don’t know what you’re talking about”. But I’m with Barbara – he got a secret kick out of the incident.

We also get to see Batman facing off against a number of his rogues gallery without any of them technically being in the story. A group of criminals infiltrates a “Villains of Gotham” costume party, armed with the functional weaponry to match their costumes.

Batman #118 - DC Comics News

Positives Cont.

I love that Batman doesn’t rely on Oracle’s computers to identify the criminals. Instead, he uses his detective skills to accurately distinguish the criminals from the partygoers. And I liked that instead of a direct confrontation, Batman took the more theatrical approach of disguising himself as Killer Croc to attack them.

And I absolutely adored the sequence of the little girl dressed as Punchline asking the Dark Knight for an autograph. He just give her a stern look and drops a smoke bomb to disappear. But as the smoke clears, we see that he’s left behind an autograph for the child. He expertly manages to grant the child’s request in a way that doesn’t compromise his badass image. This encounter says to me that Joshua Williamson really gets the Batman.

And it’s followed immediately by a great moment that shows Williamson’s appreciation of the character’s history. Oracle asks him, “What did you do in the past after solving a big case?”. This is followed by a montage of moments of Batman with his closest friends and partners: Commissioner Gordon, Robin, Catwoman, Superman, and Alfred. This single wordless page is poster-worthy. I was impressed at the choice to frame the image of Robin to make it unclear which Robin is shown. This is an effective way to make it represent all the Robins (or the male Robins at least, as it’s clearly not Stephanie).

We even get a cameo from Nightwing, as Oracle invites Bruce to come and celebrate with her and Dick. But Bruce is unable to accept, as this is when he learns of the arrest of a number of his associates of Batman Inc. So Bruce rushes to Badhnisia to investigate their supposed murder of a villain named Abyss. I doubt that Williamson would create a new villain who we would never see in action due to already being dead, so I suspect we will be seeing more of this Abyss.

Batman #118 - DC Comics News

Positives Cont.

I was also intrigued that Batman dons his Batman Inc. Batsuit for the investigation. Is this merely because he’s looking into a Batman Inc. case. Is there some advantage to using the Batman Inc. suit on this case? Or is Batman retiring his Tynion-era costume to mark beginning of a new era?

And then there’s the interesting revelation that Lex Luthor has stepped in to fund Batman Inc. in Bruce Wayne’s place. It’s almost certain that there’s a nefarious reason behind this. Lex doesn’t do things like this out of the kindness of his heart. I also wonder if Luthor still knows that Batman in the Infinite Frontier continuity. He definitely did in the New 52 era, and presumably still did during the Rebirth era. But does he in the recently redefined continuity? This is likely to become clear as Williamson’s story progresses, as it would definitely have a major impact on how Bruce and Lex interact.


Negatives? Not a single one. We’re only one issue into his run and Williamson already has me hooked.


Regardless of your feelings about Tynion’s previous run on Batman or Williamson’s run on The Flash, I urge you to check out. Batman #118 clearly shows that Williamson understands the character and bodes well for the title for however long he remains as the writer.


You may also like