Batman and Joker’s war for Gotham is over, and both the Dark Knight and his city must now deal with the ramifications. Batman #100 brought James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez’s blockbuster “Joker War” to its inevitable conclusion, and the Batman and his surrounding Bat-family must now pick up the pieces to move towards a new day for their city. After such an action-packed and eventful arc, issue #101 slows down to ruminate on what these changes mean for Batman and his role as Gotham’s protector.
This issue’s main narrative is bookended by a conversation between Batman and Catwoman as they tear through the night across Gotham’s rooftops. Here, Bruce recalls Gotham’s old status quo and acknowledges things will never be the same again, while also coming to terms with how the relationship between Selina and himself will have to change as well. In between these two bookends are events a week prior, where Batman visits Lucius Fox to discuss what life will look like for Bruce Wayne moving forward. It’s a very dialogue-heavy issue with one major action beat between Batman and Grifter serving as the highlight.
Within this issue, the overall narrative thrust functions as more of an extended epilogue to the “Joker War” arc. Tynion has ushered in a new day for the Dark Knight and his city, so it becomes necessary to take the time to examine what this will look like moving forward. The major pitfall here arises from the fact that the previous issue wrapped up all the same narrative threads much more succinctly, so this issue comes off as more of a recap for the smaller threads woven into “Joker War” than an actual standalone story. Very little occurs narratively other than a reiteration of how Batman must change to meet Gotham’s new needs.
Where the issue’s story may fall flat, it is elevated by Guillem March’s artistic talent. His depiction of Gotham and its watchful vigilantes ducking in and out of the shadows above gives both depth and texture to the artwork. This becomes especially prevalent in his line work on characters’ faces. March captures the pure determination and grit behind the Caped Crusader’s scowl better than anyone else currently. His attention to the small details brings a unique stylistic flair to the book.
March’s artwork then reaches an incredible crescendo in Batman and Grifter’s two-page battle. Everything from the paneling and visceral linework, to Tomeu Morey’s coloring crafts a captivating scene. You can feel the weight behind every punch and impact as these two spar amidst the raging storm around them. This particular scene operates as the singular action beat of the issue and delivers a well-timed break from the other exposition heavy portions.
As the immediate follow up entry to “Joker War”, the issue falls flat due to its lack of narrative momentum. It definitely brings a lot of set up for future stories but offers little pay off in the moment. As a result, it becomes difficult to recommend based on its narrative merits. For current readers, this issue will read very recap heavy and may come across entirely skippable. However, for new readers this may serve as a good jumping on point as it reiterates the changes that will be implemented moving forward. Again, the real saving grace of this issue becomes March’s fantastic artwork.
Batman #101 really struggles to become an issue worth paying cover price for due to its narrative pitfalls. It seems more concerned with setting up future plots than actually providing an engaging one itself. Especially coming off Joker War’s clean conclusion, this issue comes off as redundant.
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