“Their Dark Designs” – Part Eight
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Guillem March & Javier Fernandez
Color Artists: Tomeu Morey & David Baron
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
So, the schemes of The Designer have finally come to fruition in Batman #93. His grand design is revealed, and his true motivation is uncovered.
After several issues of build up and mystery, we now find out what this has been all about. No spoilers here, but suffice to say, Tynion has expertly crafted a real rug-pulling moment for everybody here, with an interesting twist, which I can honestly say I did not see coming. The true mastermind behind the elaborate plot is set front and centre, and it’s a deliciously humorous switcheroo…
Of course, it wouldn’t be right for the Dark Knight to be left in the dark about the path of events, so, in a captivating passage of pages, Bruce walks the reader through the machinations of The Designer, and we’re treated to a Poirot-esque step by step by guide to the plot.
Proving that Tynion is a master storyteller, it all seems logical and plausible, right up to the aforementioned twist. Whilst the Bat knows the plot and the main player, he doesn’t realise what the endgame was. I personally love seeing Batman in this type of situation, outsmarted and misled, as it makes his inevitable rise all the sweeter.
The art in this book is a feast. Guillem March and Javier Fernandez have produced something here that is visceral and realistic. Their figure work is pitch perfect, as the characters look like real people, honed to the peak of the human condition, but not overly muscular caricatures. Combined with Morey and Baron’s colours, every page is a treat. My only issue is that we only have 22 pages of excellence to enjoy, as a few more would certainly not have gone amiss.
Running parallel to the main thread is the side mission for Catwoman and Harley Quinn. With their dive into the world of black market banking being rudely interrupted previously by Punchline, the Jokers’ new squeeze, their struggle to achieve their objective is the catalyst for a wonderful insight into Punchline’s viewpoint of the world around her, and her hatred for Harley.
More than a mere case of not liking her for being Joker’s ex, her raison d’etre for life is pretty telling. This is one disturbed, broken lady, and one that’s certainly not going to have a road to Damascus epiphany, the same way Ms Quinzel did. Very much a kindred spirit for Joker, the imminent “Joker War” story arc is inevitably going to leave a trail of destruction in its wake.
Batman #93 is a riveting read, full to the brim with intrigue and genuine excitement. Serving as the perfect pivot point from this story arc into the hopefully epic “Joker War”, it has set the table for what’s to come next beautifully.
This feels like a rolling boulder that’s gathering pace and momentum, and I fear for any characters standing in its way. DC have certainly got my money here, and I strongly recommend that you give them yours too. What are you waiting for?