A new era dawns for the Dark Knight…
Written by: James Tynion IV / pencils by: Tony S. Daniel and Guillem March (epilogue) / inks by: Danny Miki / colours by: Tomeu Morey
What’s it about?
“Their Dark Designs” Part 1 : in the aftermath of Bane’s decimation, Bruce Wayne plans to help Gotham City rebuild but a new threat builds as his continuing mission as Batman brings him into a confrontation with the lethal assassin, and old foe, Deathstroke…
Following Tom King’s epic (but divisive in some areas of fandom) near four-year run on DC’s leading title, former Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV is handed the keys to Wayne Manor (after a brief prologue that featured in #85) as he takes over the reins on Batman with penciller Tony S. Daniel with issue #86 – an ideal jumping on point for lapsed and new readers alike.
Batman #86 picks up in the wake of “City of Bane”, Tom King’s final arc on the comic which concluded in the previous issue. It’s not necessary to have followed that story as James Tynion IV takes care to cover the essentials neatly and without an overload of convoluted exposition. In the aftermath of Bane’s rule over Gotham City, a reflective Bruce Wayne begins picking up the pieces as he continues his war on crime as the Batman. The difference this time is that Bruce sees an opportunity to not only help rebuild Gotham but to reform it as well, something that he feels can be achieved by both Bruce Wayne and Batman – with a little help from Selina Kyle and Lucius Fox. However, it isn’t going to be easy and a confrontation with Deathstroke leads to a new threat for Gotham and its protector.
Tynion hits the ground running with his first full issue, it may lack the more poetic and existential quality that Tom King brought to the book, favouring a more action-orientated approach, but nor does it reinvent the wheel and there’s certainly a philosophical element to the story as Bruce Wayne contemplates the future of Batman and the possibility that if his plans for Gotham succeed there’ll no longer be a need for him. Tynion carved a standout run on Detective Comics at the inset of DC’s Rebirth initiative and continues to demonstrate his talents at world-building and writing character, although, naturally he ensures that Bruce/Batman (whereas his work on Detective Comics was generally more focused on the extended Bat-family) are front and centre whilst providing significant roles for both Selina (their renewed romance no doubt to be given greater attention in Tom King’s forthcoming Batman/Catwoman maxi-series) and Lucius – who has some fun interactions with Batman as a formidable new addition to the Dark Knight’s arsenal is teased.
Tony S. Daniel returns to the pages of Batman as a regular artist after sporadic collaborations during Tom King’s run. A veteran Batman artist and writer himself, Daniel provides bold and dynamic visuals – complemented by Danny Miki’s inks and Tomeu Morey’s colours – that are an ideal match for Tynion’s writing and make the duo a great pairing. Daniel maintains the grand and cinematic scope expected of the premiere Bat-book and is especially effective in rendering the pacey action scenes, the energetic and brutal encounter with Deathstroke being the obvious highlight.
A promising start, Batman #86 closes with a short epilogue that continues building on the threads of that inaugural mini chapter in #85, with Guillem March on the art. March’s work is in a pleasingly not-too-dissimilar style to Tony Daniel and there’s a further sense of continuity and consistency thanks to Tomeu Morey once again providing colours.
The bottom line: James Tynion IV, joined by pencillers Tony S. Daniel and Guillem March, delivers a solid and engaging beginning as a new and promising run on DC’s Batman commences.
Batman #86 is published by DC and is available in print and digital formats now.
Images used herein are utilised for illustrative purposes only and remain the property of the copyright owner(s).