Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Gotham City has once again had a hostile takeover, only this time the citizens are clueless to it. Bruce Wayne has lost his families company and fortune as charges of embezzlement and misappropriating funds spreads across the Gotham airwaves. Rather than deal with the charges head on Bruce Wayne has disappeared, making his guilt look even more probable. Watching over all this is the new and mysterious CEO of Wayne Enterprises- the Joker. Welcome to the Joker War!
Batman #95 kicks off the long-anticipated Joker War, James Tynion IV’s second arc and one that he has been building toward since he took over the title. It’s daring to take on a Joker story so early into a run but Tynion IV brought the Joker in during his first arch, Their Dark Desires, that set the stage for where we are now and we are is not good. With near limitless funds and a psychotic intelligence rarely seen in super villains the Joker has set about his grand plan, a plan that goes back to the first years of the Batman, when the Joker was testing him and learning. While the Joker is going about his business, scheming for the destruction of Gotham’s Dark Knight by returning to the roots of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman, the hostile takeover of Wayne Enterprises has fallen to two new villains, the Underbroker and Punchline. While the Underbroker deals with the financial side of the Joker’s plan it’s up to Punchline to find and destroy all the Bat toys produced and stored at the Wayne Enterprises Headquarters. Don’t think Batman is taking any of this lying down, as the Dark Knight might be stripped of funds and all his fabulous toys but he is never without a plan. But what happens when Batman’s plans compete with the Joker’s dark machinations? Who will prevail and can Gotham survive?
I’ve been waiting for the Joker War since it was announced and Batman #95 did not disappoint. While his run might have started out slow there is no denying that James Tynion IV is a great writer and really understands the Dark Knight and he’s really finding his groove on Batman with the Joker War. It was also a wonderful treat to have Jorge Jimenez return as artist. Jimenez’s hyper kinetic style is a perfect fit for Batman and he is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists working today. While I’m not 100% sold on Punchline I am really digging the Underbroker and all the financial warfare going on within this arc. While it’s not a new concept to attack Batman through Bruce Wayne this one feels interesting and is immensely entertaining. I’m glad that Batman is firing on all cylinders again and as the Joker War barrels toward Batman #100 I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Verdict: James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez are a perfect creative team and their kickoff to the Joker War was wonderfully written with beautiful art making Batman #95 a BUY!