Batman #86, published by DC Comics, is the start of a new story arc, “Their Dark Designs.” The issue is written by Janes Tynion IV, with pencils by Tony S. Daniel, art by Guillen March (in the epilogue), inks by Danny Miki, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Since the end of King’s run, The Dark Knight has regained control of the city from Bane and Thomas Wayne. However, as Bruce Wayne sets his sights on re-developing Gotham’s infrastructure into a city that won’t need a Batman, the Caped Crusader himself faces off against a familiar but formidable foe. With Deathstroke returning to Gotham, Batman knows more is at stake for the city than just a few mercenary contracts.
Tynion’s opening issue sets to fill some of the gaps from the previous arc while also building on the new storylines that are set to be explored in the upcoming run. However, because the previous issue was so rushed, with King’s initial run having been cut down, Batman #86 feels disjointed. It is stuck between finishing the story beats of King’s run but with a completely different tone. That being said, the latter half of the issue is action-packed and gives me a lot of hope for the upcoming confrontations between Batman and Deathstroke as well as the other organizations Deathstroke often works with. Deathstroke is a fantastic villain and has the potential to be a great segway from the last story arc.
Outside of feeling a bit disjointed, some of Daniel’s art feels off, particularly Selina when she is not Catwoman. When she was first introduced onto the page I was not aware I was looking at Selina Kyle. However, the scenes where she is Catwoman, and the close-ups of her eyes in particular, are flawless and beautifully convey the mannerisms and emotions I have always associated with the character.
Morey’s colors were spectacular. As dark as Batman comics are, I always appreciate when the panels are bright and vibrant. The color palette with Miki’s fabulous inking created a lot of dynamic scenes, in part, because of the way the two created depth with the light and shadows.
Batman #86 is as good of a start as you can ask for, considering the hand that was dealt to this creative team. That being said, the issue still is far from perfect and the emotional beats just fall flat because of its disjointed tone. However, the action sequences between Batman and Deathstroke, as well as seeing members of the League of Assassins gives me a lot of hope for this upcoming story arc. I have a lot of faith in Tynion’s run as a whole, especially considering his fantastic work on Detective Comics, Batman Eternal, Justice League, and the various work he did during Dark Knights: Metal.
Batman #86 is available now wherever comics are sold and online.
Batman #86 is as good of a start as you can ask for, considering the hand that was dealt to this creative team. That being said, the issue still is far from perfect and the emotional beats just fall flat because of its disjointed tone.