REVIEW: ‘Batman,’ Issue #99

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman #99

Batman #99 is published by DC Comics, written by James Tynion IV, art by Jorge Jimenez, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Having recovered from the newest batch of Joker Toxin, Batman has called in his trusted allies to help him reclaim Gotham from the Joker. But even with them helping out is there still time to save Gotham?

This issue takes a moment to ask a question of the Dark Knight that I have always struggled with. His moral stance on not killing. Now, don’t get me wrong, violence should always be used as sparingly as possible, but how many times has the Joker burned Gotham now?  How many innocents have been lost because Batman is unwilling to stop it? I mean, jail clearly isn’t working. And the best part about Tynion’s approach to addressing this situation is through his choice of voices. Namely Harley.

Harley is the only person in the DC Universe that knows the Joker better than Batman. She knows what he is, what he does, and what he is going to do. She has worked hard to become something better than what he tried to turn her into and to be willing to commit that act, to take even one step closer to the thing she was, speaks to how truly she believes it needs to be done. Whether Batman’s refusal to kill equates to moral courage or moral cowardice is ultimately up to the reader to decide.

Batman #99

Batman #99 is in all ways a setup issue. While it’s moments are delivered well, not a lot really happens. With the exception of the above mentioned moral debate, pieces are put into place and the board is set for what comes next. The only other spot that really feels like it is supposed to hit home is when Batman is giving his get hype speech to his recently returned comrades. Unfortunately, this moment rings hollow for me. And while this is of no fault of Tynion, as his writing is well-executed, it is instead due to the overwhelming sense of déjà vu I was distracted by.

If you’ve been reading Batman for an extended period, you have seen this scene before. It almost feels like Batman’s relationship with his allies runs on a five to ten-year cycle of slowly pushing them away till Gotham is burning and he has to get the gang back together. And to be fair, this could just be my perception. But it feels like it is a story beat that is just been done so many times that Tynion can’t write it good enough to make it land how it should.

While the story struggled in some places for me Batman #99’s art continues to shine. The combination of Jimenez’s lines and Morey’s colors deliver one superlative panel after another. They truly understand what the tone of this story is, and how to transfer that into the visual side of the medium.

Lastly, Cowles does his usual solid job delivering this issue’s story. His dialogue placement remains spot on. Delivery a clear and easy to follow the narrative.

With Batman #99 putting all the pieces in place, I hope the creative team will be able to deliver a strong finish to this storyline next issue.

Batman #99 is available on September 15th wherever comics are sold.

‘Batman,’ Issue #99
3.5

TL;DR

Batman #99 is in all ways a setup issue. While it’s moments are delivered well, not a lot really happens. With the exception of the above mentioned moral debate, pieces are put into place and the board is set for what comes next. The only other spot that really feels like it is supposed to hit home is when Batman is giving his get hype speech to his recently returned comrades. Unfortunately, this moment rings hollow for me. And while this is of no fault of Tynion, as his writing is well-executed, it is instead due to the overwhelming sense of déjà vu I was distracted by.