Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Guillem March & Javier Fernandez
Colors: Tomeu Morey & David Baron
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Anyone looking to catch their breath in Gotham City is out of luck. Honestly anyone looking for occasional rest and respite should never step foot in Gotham City. The past year has not been kind to Gotham, first there was the coup d’état of the rightfully elected leadership by Bane in Tom King’s swan song the City of Bane. Now the culmination of the deep and dark desires of four members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery are coming true as James Tynion IV’s first arc as the writer of Batman barrels to a conclusion. Since his ascension as writer in Batman #86 Tynion has been bent on making Batman’s life a living hell and he’s done a damn good job of it. Years ago, four of Batman’s earliest rogues (Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin, and Joker) were approached by the Designer, a criminal architect who promised that he could make each of their most desired crimes and outcomes come true. No during Their Dark Designs all of those plans are coming to fruition, much to the fear and dismay of three of those villains and the question becomes can Batman stay ahead of the Designer as well as the Joker, who seems to be at the center of the chaos igniting within Gotham.
Batman #93 is a fine issue of Batman but falls short of what recent issues of Batman have been, most notably the Tom King era. I enjoy James Tynion IV’s work and found his Detective Comics run during the onset of DC Rebirth as one of the finest runs of that initiative. Yet his time on Batman hasn’t quite caught on like I had hoped it would, but that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying the title and have hope for what may come. What I find to be the main problem, which is odd since this is the eighth part of the arc, is that it feels jumbled and rushed. I found the beginning of Their Dark Designs to be interesting and I loved the mystery and connection to the early days of the Dark Knight and his burgeoning rogue’s gallery. I’ve found the desperation of Catwoman to right the wrong she once dreamed of and I may be the only one but I thought the explanation of criminal investments and how Bruce Wayne does his finances to be fascinating. Yet there was a switch within the arc and this issue where the Joker and his new partner, Punchline, became the focal point and the Designer feels more like a red herring. Now I’m sure this was always the intent but the jarring feeling has a lot to do with the coronavirus and the nearly three month pause in new books that ejected me from the flow of the story and I am now finding it hard to jump back into, but I’m not jumping off. The art has been an issue as well as Tony Daniel began the arch, then DC heavily promoted Jorge Jimenez as the new primary artist on Batman but he only did two issues (he will be the main artist for Joker War) but the bulk of the art for this arc has been Guillem March and his erotic art style is a bit unsettling to me as his female postures and proportions would be more at home in the ‘90s then they are today. Artwork aside I am enjoying the action and tension that Tynion has built throughout his time on Batman and I am interested in the upcoming Joker War that looks to tear through Gotham this summer so I have no intention of not reading Batman but there is definitely room for improvement.
Verdict: Buy. While it has yet to hit the highs that I am hopeful for I still found Batman #93 interesting and entertaining. James Tynion IV has crafted an interesting story arc in Their Dark Desires and I am hopeful for what will come in Joker War this summer.