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"Batman #96" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics


Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Jorge Jimenez
Colored by Tomeu Morey
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 5th, 2020


Batman is losing his mind. Dosed with a new experimental Joker toxin, he's hearing Alfred's voice in his head and seeing horrifying visions. Those visions might be better than reality, as the Clown Prince of Crime has taken over Gotham City, wreaking havoc everywhere while plotting a special and heinous treat for the Caped Crusader at the theater where his parents were murdered all those years ago.

In case you couldn't tell, Batman #96 is friggin' bonkers. This book is intense from beginning to end and we're in the thick of “Joker War”, so I can't imagine how the Dark Knight is going to get through this. Writer James Tynion IV packs this comic with unsettling scenes and all kinds of chaos.

At the heart of this is Batman himself, using all of his strength and determination to put one foot in front of the other and soldier on. His city needs him and he's all alone to fight against the Joker and his forces. Well...not entirely alone. Alfred is in his ear, which is a disturbing though, as the butler has been dead for a bit.

Click images to enlarge

Artist Jorge Jimenez delivers some phenomenal work in Batman #96. The details in his pencils are extraordinary, with sharp lines that accentuate each and every aspect of the work. It's amazing to see how he seamlessly moves from what appears to be normal to some terrifying hallucination. For example, when Batman is remembering the death of his parents, it starts out like normal (or as normal as that fateful night could be) and then, in an instant, both of their necks snap, spinning their heads downward in a sickening angle while a rictus grin spreads over their faces.

The Joker's plan for Batman is absolutely chilling, not to mention pretty messed up. Since he knows all of the great detective's secrets and has all of his resources, he's spared no expense to create his greatest masterpiece, showing the Dark Knight every failure he's ever had, starting at the theater where his parents were killed. You remember that episode of South Park where Cartman made that kid eat his parents? This isn't quite that bad, but it's pretty close.

Click images to enlarge

The dark tone of this story is amplified by Tomeu Morey's expert color work. It seems that it's always night in Gotham City, but this is most definitely perpetual. The Joker has cast a dark cloud over this city and Batman is the only person that could possibly push it away. Morey's colors highlight the gritty texture of this book. It's funny to think every so often that in this same world is a man clad in red who can run faster than the speed of sound and an alien that can leap tall buildings in a single bound, yet these horrors arise nonetheless.

Batman #96 also introduces us to the Clownhunter, a new character appearing in the wake of Joker's rise to power. Little is known about him, but he has an interesting design. Letterer Clayton Cowles puts all of his dialogue in lower case, conveying a softer tone, despite his aggressive actions against the clowns. I'm curious as to what part he'll play in all of this.

Joker War” is in full swing and chaos is reigning down upon Gotham City. This is a fantastic blend of action and horror that delivers on every front. Batman has been through some crazy battles before, but never like this.


Story: fivestars Cover
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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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