Joker War has been raging in Gotham City for quite a while now, and the punishment doesn’t stop here in Batman #99. At least the Bat-family is coming together to bring the Joker to justice, but not everyone agrees with that idea.
It’s nice to see the group together and to get the characters in place for their own adventures in their own comics, but the real star of this show was Jorge Jimenez’s art, which is superb again as always. The action isn’t sold short and even the backgrounds let you know how serious a toll has been taken on the city with Batman not being there.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Batman #99!
I enjoyed the soft opener with the Joker just spending his money to buy, as even he admits, the “most ludicrous thing” anyone has seen. This feels like it could have been a deleted scene in the Suicide Squad movie. I have to say that Tynion has done an amazing job writing voices for Joker and Harley Quinn that I actually like; it makes sense why they act the way they do, and you love their characters all the more for it. I also enjoyed how the story distracts you from the Joker’s luggage, which will reveal an interesting item later on.
Things are then shifted from Joker to Batman and the family, including a major moment for Nightwing fans — we see the moment where he gets his costume, so this is another stepping stone towards the return. These moments with the Bat-family basically turn into the big hoorah for them, as they start deciding which path they’ll take toward the conclusion. Another Harley Quinn moment that was fun was her saying she wants to kill Joker, to which Tim Drake jokes that she might need to go back to Arkham, so Harley calls him “Duckboy” — is a nice jab at the Drake codename he has recently adopted.
This issue is a slow burn, and is mostly comprised of motivational speeches from both parties, but the pages that have Batman arrive at Ace Chemicals are just amazing. The look and lights just add that creepy vibe, and the neon adds to the fear factor, so those color choices by Tomeu Morey are perfect.
I really hope when this issue goes back to second print that DC uses page 16 as the cover — it’s a perfect, iconic Batman walk through the chaos and damage. Luckily we get a great philosophical battle with Harley and Batman about how the Joker should be handled after this affair, and I think Harley makes some fantastic points, which really showcases how she went from victim to Joker’s clown to herself.
This is a slow burn of an issue as we get a speech from the Joker as the Bat family regroups so they can divide and conquer. The best stuff comes at the end, which really makes the wait for the conclusion next issue that much more difficult.