Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist: Guillem March / DC Comics
The second issue of Tynion IV’s take on Batman continues to show us how things have changed after the fallout of “City of Bane” and Tom King’s vision.
“Their Dark Designs”
This issue mostly follows Batman as he tries to rebuild after Bane’s shenanigans. He’s got a plan with the Wayne Rebuild Project to reshape the image of the city for the better. But there’s someone else who wants to rebuild Gotham in another image, a more sinister image, and Batman has no idea who this person is, or what they’ve paid Deathstroke and his band of mercenaries to do.
We also get some other instances of Batman saving, or at the very least bettering Gotham as Bruce Wayne — something that seems to be a running theme of Tynion’s young run. The biggest example of this is the Black Block.
The Black Block is a super prison put together by the Wayne Rebuild Project. It consists of “nine secure holding cells for the truly dangerous” as Batman puts it. And it’s designed to hold villains Batman doesn’t trust in Arkham like Bane, Joker, and Ra’s Al Ghul. It isn’t exactly Bruce Wayne opening up after-school programs for inner-city kids, or paying out of pocket for the rehabilitation of his mentally ill rogue’s gallery, but it’s a start. Rebuilding Gotham takes one step at a time.
Guillem March’s art is a sight to be seen. Not only does he provide us with respectable interpretations of Batman and Catwoman, but he also has some very unique versions of a few of Batman’s villains. Grotesque would be putting it kindly. One of my favorites to gawk at was the Riddler. Homie has been hiding out since he got a beatdown by Bane’s army. But he hasn’t been taking care of himself. My guy is truly a fright. A far cry from the slick-smiled Riddler we all have come to love. Now he’s emaciated with a hunched back that no chiropractor on Earth could fix. He’s also naked. It makes you wonder how this dude is up and walking around, let alone working with the Penguin on another diabolical plan. It’s almost like a riddle unto itself.
And speaking of the Penguin, March’s version of the classic villain really doubles down on the idea that Penguin looks like… a penguin. Every version of the character plays with that interpretation in varying ways, but March makes it look like this guy got bitten by a radioactive flightless sea bird and is slowly turning into a hybrid. Again, grotesque doesn’t even begin to describe my mans. But it does go a long way in making these recognizable characters feel unique under this new vision of the series.
Tynion IV and March continue to take Batman in a new direction while the Caped Crusader juggles rebuilding Gotham and hunting down an unknown figure who wants to usurp the renovation from under his feet.
8.0 Charred Faces out of 10
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