The Designer finally shows his hand and all the best laid plans of Bats and Cats may come to nothing.
For some time, the Dark Knight Detective has been chasing the ghost of criminals past. Close to the time of his debut, a master criminal called The Designer came to Gotham City with proposed upgrades for Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman and the Joker that would have essentially been a lawless version of Pimp My Ride for their extralegal careers. Unable to fathom the madness of the Joker, the whole plan fell to pieces and the Designer apparently disappeared only to return years later to face a much more skilled Bat. That is the set up for this issue of Batman #93.
Honestly, prior to this issue the whole storyline felt really rather dragged out, like a comedian staying on stage long after the venue has flashed the light for them to cede the spotlight. This time, however, ah, this time we finally see a spark of something different and when it hits … it's one of those "insert chef kiss gif" moments that's a distinctive pleasure. Writer James Tynion the 4th's script delivers that moment with such deftness that the genuine surprise it elicits from its victims is impactful.
Sadly, there are less effective elements. The Joker's new gun moll Punchline is a cliche, yet somehow does not seem overly concerned fighting the much more experienced Harley Quinn, who has quite a resume and should have handled this much more efficiently. Every scene in that segment is off putting, like a badger holding its own against a bear. There's one moment when the Batman has a mask in his hand that doesn't exactly make itself clear (but which sort of makes sense if you look at the background of a subsequent panel) yet seems somewhat implausible given Batman's renowned martial abilities.
If examined too closely, elements of the narrative begin to unravel like Weezer's sweater. There's no denying the cleverness of the reveal, but it was a little clunkier than it needed to be getting there. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
By James Tynion the 4th, Guillem March, Javier Fernandez
Batman faces off with the Designer as 'Their Dark Designs' reaches its epic climax! In the last year, Batman has lost more than he could have imagined, and now he faces a cost so dear it will change the course of his life. And there is worse on the horizon. In the midst of all the horror, he can feel the drumbeat of battle. 'Joker War' is coming, and Gotham City will never be the same.
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at http://bit.ly/combatshaman.