On I write a Bleeding Cool article which, at the time, was meant to tease that week's upcoming Batman #92. It wasn't published, instead, Diamond Comic Distributors warehoused the print run and shut down, as a result of coronavirus pandemic orders. Over two months later, it is finally coming to comic books stores this week. We also know now that DC Comics printed a quarter of a million of them, so copies should not be hard to come by. Some stores will have reduced their orders massively but it means that copies should still be available from Diamond, UCS or Lunar. And plenty of them. But it seems as timely as ever as, as I pointed out then, the Riddler puts Gotham City on lockdown. With no one allowed to leave their homes or places of work. So I'm going to re-run what I had then, with some new preview image of the comic in question (and a few old ones too).
It begins with The Penguin demanding Harvey Bullock arrest Deathstroke, with The Penguin saying he is pressing charges which, be honest, is a great way for any Batman comic to begin. Gotham has turned green as it has just been St Patrick's Day.
But this is the Riddler's doing, working under the auspices of the Designer, and he has Gotham on lock-down for one of his riddles — the empty streets used for his puzzles. And no one is allowed to leave their homes or offices until it is over. Familiar feeling? Oh, and there are bombs everywhere as well.
And it's a game that Batman is going to have to play. Thankfully this is a lockdown that can be defeated without having to spend eighteen months making a Batvaccine. He just has to do a bit of a runaround, with Guillem March creating the most grotesque depictions of the rogues.
While Harley Quinn and Catwoman manage to avoid lockdown by travelling through the sewers. They are clearly the Dominic Cummings of the DC Universe and I hope they will both be played by Benedict Cumberbatch in an upcoming movie adaptation.
We also get to see brand new never-before-seen Bat-vehicle to add to the Bat-garage in the Bat-cave. I can ee why they have never used this vehicle before but now that's it's out there I want to see it in every issue. Even the ones in space.
And yes, we do finally get to the Punchline. Full appearance, dialogue, taking up the final third of the issue, and that action scene previously teased with Harley Quinn (below). Some will wonder if the above shot was the pitch-perfect way to introduce her, but the three-way chemistry between Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Punchline with all manner of agendas in conflict is a fun way to move us through this part of the story, as well as giving the reader a greater understanding of how the Gotham underworld works, and everyone's respective place in it.
So for all of us still stuck inside, it's a fun way to fantasize that it could be all over if Batman found the right clues, solved the right riddles and kicks the right bad guy right in covids. Quite the example of wish-fulfilment.
(W) James Tynion IV (A) Guillem March (CA) Yasmin Putri
The greatest heist in history is underway in Gotham City, courtesy of the mysterious crimemaster known as the Designer! Batman knows what he needs to do, but in order to stop the plot, he must first escape the most ingenious death trap the Riddler has ever devised!In Shops: Jun 09/10, 2020 SRP: $3.99