There’s a new Batman bad guy in Gotham and he goes by the name Abyss. Last issue, Batman faced off against him and lost so badly he lost his sight! This week, Josh Williamson, Mikel Janin, and Jorge Molina focus on the fallout of Batman being as blind as a bat. All the while, Lex Luthor’s scheme comes into more of a focus.
Picking up from where we left off in Batman #119, Batman escapes the police detective by hiding in a body bag. If that doesn’t give you a sense of the vibe of this story arc, I don’t know what will. There’s an edginess to the story that feels a bit more dangerous and human.
Jorge Molina’s rendering of Batman is quite cool here, with an airbrushed style that plays with shadow well. The depiction of Batman juxtaposes well with the neon purple glow of the city lights outside the van that’s driving him to safety. Molina finishes off the issue with multiple bat-themed characters having a meeting with Batman they didn’t expect. The colorful characters Batman fights are all rendered well and Batman has a kind of animalistic look going with his beady, blind eyes.
The plot with Lex Luthor is advanced well in this issue, too. Janin draws these scenes revealing Lex’s new suit which properly uses yellow lights to illuminate the dark. There’s a lot of swagger present whenever we see Lex, which Janin maximizes through body language and facial expressions. He plays an interesting part in the cliffhanger as well, which enhances the anticipation for Batman #121.
This Luthor scene leads to a key scene with Detective Cayha, who helped Batman escape at the start. Williamson is doing good work to develop this character and make her all her own in the long history of detective figures in Gotham. She has a fearlessness that you have to respect.
This issue also contains part two of Karl Kerschl’s backup story about Mia trying to solve a murder and joining forces with Batman. She’s just a kid, but how much can Batman shield her from danger and the horrors underneath Gotham? Things turn a bit supernatural here with some interesting creature design. Batman’s blue costume continues to look as sharp as ever under Kerschl’s lines, with good use of shadow and light with colors by John Rauch.
If you’re looking for a Batman story that has a B-movie edge, Batman #120 is for you. There’s a grit to this story as it builds towards a superhero showdown while developing supporting characters well too. This is a Batman that’s got a primal edge well worth investigating.
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