OK, this Batman series that picked up where Tom King left off has been pretty good so far. If it weren’t for that long Alfred funeral special, I might have gotten to it more often.
But then I noticed something.
Issue: Batman #89, February 2020
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Guillem March, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki
The Plot: Batman has to track those assassins down again while Catwoman realizes what’s going on.
Commentary: Let’s start with the stuff I’ve liked here: I like the characterization that Tynion has given to Batman and his foes. I like the idea that some master planner, a new character identified by name at the end of the issue, is behind all this. I like that Riddler, Catwoman, and Penguin are all having very different reactions to this fellow’s return, someone who frightens all three of them in different ways. Penguin battened down the hatches (it didn’t work), Riddler went into seclusion (it didn’t work), and Catwoman went looking to solve the problem while avoiding telling Batman for as long as possible (that doesn’t seem to have worked either). I even like the idea that Harley Quinn and Catwoman, two very different women with histories on both sides of the law, take some time to work together to take down some assassins.
I like the basic story. I like the way Batman has moved on to a life post-Alfred with Lucius in the role. I like the way the story shows Batman at his most competent, and he still doesn’t know what’s going on.
I like that the Joker is doing something else with a new character that I have only heard about for the most part so far.
I mostly like but don’t love the artwork.
What I don’t like is the way this series handles action sequences in that, well, it largely doesn’t. I’ll see characters leap into action against various opponents, but what I don’t see is the actual fight. I’ll just see, say, Batman standing there bloodied with rips in the Batsuit, for example. But how did he win the fight? I’m not sure. There’s enough good going on here to keep me more or less happy, but I really should be getting more of the action scenes than I have been.
So far, that’s a minor complaint, but I would not want it to become a bigger one.