BATMAN #96 Review


SYNOPSIS: Reeling from the effects of the worst Joker toxin attack ever, Batman is on the run through Gotham City, pursued by the dark shadows and voices that haunt his past and present! As The Joker’s plan materializes, the only person who can save Batman from the brink of true madness…is Harley Quinn?! Plus, who is the mysterious new figure known as Clownhunter?

“The Joker War” continues with part 2 of writer James Tynion IV’s mega story arc in BATMAN #96.

Again, there’s A LOT going on in this issue, but it still seems to be moving at a snail’s pace overall.

The issue opens “Years From Now” in a much brighter Gotham City as Batman — in a shiny blue and silver Batsuit that would make the late/great Joel Schumacher proud — takes down Mr. Freeze and his “sons.”  If this is a true glimpse of the future, then what’s happening “Now” — The Joker’s attack on Batman and Gotham — will end with Batman victorious and Bruce Wayne going on to have a happy life.

Speaking of “Now,” it appears that the Gotham utopia and Bruce Wayne’s peaceful life is nothing more than the Joker toxin/Venom/Scarecrow fear gas combo that Punchline (The Joker’s new girlfriend) doused Batman with at the end of the previous issue, #95.

With Batman finally awake, Harley Quinn fills Batman in on what the hell has been going on in Gotham during his 3-day drug-induced nap…

The Joker has taken over Gotham City…

He’s spending Bruce Wayne’s money left and right — and not for the good of the city…

An army of Joker-inspired followers in clown masks (ala the 2019 JOKER movie starring Joaquin Phoenix) takes to the streets nightly terrorizing and reigning citizens anarchy down upon the city…

There’s a kid going around with baseball bat modified with a Batarang (you’ll see) taking out these Joker soldiers…

And, The Joker is digging up the corpses of people he’s killed, turned them into Batman-hating Joker zombies, and screening THE MARK OF ZORRO over and over again at the Monarch Theater.

Oh yeah, “Alfred” is still in Batman’s ear (Or is it his head?) assisting him as he always does…or did.

As I said, Tynion does provide some answers in this issue, but the story moves so slow and ends with yet another cliffhanger, that there’s no real feeling of any sort of resolution of any of the various story threads.  And look, I get it, OK?  This is one long continuous story and we won’t get a true conclusion until “The Joker War” finale.  But to be honest, very little has happened since this arc commenced in the previous issue, it makes me wonder why can’t things move just a little faster, you know?

With all that said, I am very much into the story and interested in seeing how this all plays out.  Things like…

How is Selina doing?  Why — and exactly how — is Alfred in Batman’s ear?  What’s The Joker’s endgame this time?

As Harley tells Batman, “Gotham needs you to get your @#$$ together or we’re all going to die!”


Hopefully, he’s got his @#$$ together by the next issue of BATMAN and it doesn’t take like 10 of ’em for it to happen. – Bill “Jett” Ramey