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Batman 88 Main

"Batman #88" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

article-cover

Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Guillem March
Colored by Tomeu Morey
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 5th, 2020

Review:

Batman has his hands full as a group of assassins he just put away have broken out of his high security prison. Meanwhile, Catwoman realizes how close the Dark Knight is coming to discovering a long kept secret she shares with Penguin, Riddler, and the Joker.

There's a lot going on in Batman #88 and all of it is awesome and more than a little unsettling. Writer James Tynion IV is very much making this title his own, embracing a new, darker status quo for the Caped Crusader. That's saying something considering how ominous and broody the character usually is. There's a harsher tone to the hero's actions, as he has not yet gotten over the death of Alfred. His movements are more precise and deadlier, giving the feeling that it's only a matter of time before he snaps.

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Artist Guillem March brings out this quality perfectly. Batman has never been one to show too much emotion. He doesn't crack jokes or even smirk. In this case, he's like poorly bottled rage. He's an exposed nerve ready to lash out at any criminal dumb enough to get in his way. His teeth are always gritted, like he's stifling a scream that's building within him.

This contrasts well with Catwoman, who is depicted as a wide-eyed innocent of sorts. We get the impression that she's in way over her head here and you know what they say about curiosity and cats. This is also an interesting juxtaposition, as Selina Kyle has this lithe appearance as she's digging up the body of the Joker.

There's no doubt about the setting for Batman #88. The rain is pouring down, adding a dreary tone to the already dour atmosphere. Colorist Tomeu Morey creates a drab locale full of greys and dingy browns. You get the sense that Gotham City has never known street sweepers or even garbage men.

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My absolute favorite part of this issue comes with the look of the Riddler. He's been locked up in a room somewhere, obsessively watching surveillance videos from all over the city. He looks strung out with veins bulging from his skinny frame. His bones jut out in an unnatural fashion and his face is sunken in. The harsh yellow light emanating from the monitors is the perfect addition to the creep factor here.

There's a good amount of action-horror in Batman #88 on both sides of the story. Batman has his own demons to fight, but Catwoman's tale edges him out just a bit in terms of overall scares, especially at the end of this issue. Letterer Clayton Cowles is responsible for some unsettling lilting dialogue that seems to crawl up the page like a spider.

Batman is embracing darkness like never before. There are many moving parts in the storyline so far as all of these elements begin to build and build. I'm full of anticipation as we see each piece come into place for this giant macabre picture. From the looks of things, we're just getting started.

Grades:

Story: fivestars Cover
Buy from Amazon US
Cover
Buy from Amazon US
Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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