“Their Dark Designs” – Part 7
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Guillem March
Color Artist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
In a world filled with uncertainty, the arrival of Batman #92, the latest issue of the flagship title of the DC portfolio, makes everything feel like happier times are just around the corner. After an almost three month hiatus, the James Tynion IV era can now continue.
This seventh instalment of the “Their Dark Designs” arc certainly makes up for lost time, with its abundance of characters, riddles, and action.
With bad old Eddie Nygma holding the city in his thrall, the unlikely pairing of Batman and Deathstroke is thrust into a subterranean odyssey through Gotham, which provides the opportunity for some rare moments of levity for the Bat. I’ve always enjoyed the interactions between Bruce and Slade, as the diametrically opposed, yet somehow similar foes, have sometimes made for intriguing frenemies. This story’s no exception. Slade’s wonder at Batman’s aptitude for solving riddles is priceless.
In typical Tynion fashion, the plot pushes on at a breakneck pace, as we follow the twin journeys of Bruce/Slade, and Harley and Selina. The two femmes fatale are a great pairing too, and one I would like to see more of in the future, maybe even as part of their own limited series? The juxtaposition of Harley’s wide-eyed enthusiasm and mile a minute banter, against Selina’s more cynical and wry dialogue, is a potent mix.
With their own mission to accomplish, it isn’t long before we see a meeting of Joker’s main squeezes both old and new, with Harley getting her first meeting with Punchline. Both awkward and hilarious, the precursor to violence comes by way of Harley offering some wonderfully sage advice for her replacement:
Honey, a few years from now, after you have a couple dozen come-to-God moments, and do some good long cries in the shower… I’m going to buy you a frozen margarita, and we’re going to chat, girl to girl. But right now, I’m going to hit you in the head with this big $#@% hammer until you don’t wake up
A wonderful bit of dialogue that sums up the character of Harley Quinn in a nutshell. It shows that Tynion’s handle on the character is spot on, as is his take on every other character in the book. He’s captured the voice of each character superbly, making them feel authentic and genuine.
As always, the art of Guillem March is a feast for the eyes. Vibrant, deep and kinetic, it draws the reader in with its sheer depth and detail, with something to enjoy on every page. Combined with the awesome colour work of Tomeu Morey, the panels explode from the page and make this one of the most visually stimulating titles on the market at the moment.
Fast and furious, humorous, and hard hitting, Batman #92 is an extremely welcome return for this title. With a cliffhanger ending that makes the next issue an absolute must read (The Designer is turning out to be quite the adversary), this arc is really now coming to the boil.
Expertly paced, with a fine mixture of tones and an engrossing read, I cannot recommend it enough. Seek out a copy asap!