This week, things start ramping up in Batman, as the details of the Designer’s plan start coming out, and Harley Quinn joins the fray. This week also begins laying the seeds for Joker War in earnest with the introduction of new villain Punchline. Also, Nightwing faces off against the Court of Owls, Mera has a health crisis in Aquaman, the Eradictor begins his assault in Justice League, the aftermath of DCeased and He-Man and the MAsters of the Multiverse visits the world of the Filmation animated series. LEt’s get started.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Batman #89 – Their Dark Designs Part Four – Writer: James Tynion IV, Artist: Carlo Pagulayan, Guillem March & Danny Miki
We start to get into the real meat of this storyline in this issue, and we also start some major seed planting” for the next big arc. And, even though it is only a small cameo, this issue will forever be remembered as the first appearance of the new character Punchline, who will be playing a MAJOR role in the upcoming Joker War. But, for now, back to the story at hand.
As Harley and Catwoman fight their way out of the graveyard, and through Merlyn and Cheshire, Batman is taking down Gunsmith, after dropping Penguin at the Hospital. Batman goes after Riddler to try and get some more answers, after telling Lucius to find Catwoman. Instead of Riddler in his hideout, Batman finds Mr. Teeth instead.
After subduing him, Batman discovers that Riddler has been taken. And after solving, what else, a riddle, Batman gains access to the security feed, and we get our first look at the mysterious Designer, the man pulling the strings. It turns out Riddler has been running a trace on Deathstroke, and Lucius uses that trace to send this week’s new gadget, the Batspawn, a fleet of drones after him.
At that point, Catwoman and Harley arrive with an unconscious Merlyn and Cheshire. Catwoman and Batman talk in private and she promises to tell him everything and apologizes.
In the epilogue, new villain Punchline speaks to the Joker, who has a board showing the identities of the entire Bat-Family. Clearly the worst is yet to come.
I’m running out of superlatives, so I’m gonna keep this brief. James Tynion IV has set this title on a high-speed wild ride that does not show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. This arc is so good that even knowing that a huge showdown between Batman and the Joker is on the horizon, you are still hooked on this story. If you’re not on board yet, catch up quick, cause this train is full speed ahead.
Nightwing #69 – The Very Unfriendly Own – Writer: Dan Jurgens, Arist: Ronan Cliquet
Nightwing heads to Zurich to get answers about his fractured memory from Dr. Haas., after finding an Owl mask in her office. Confronting her, he dispatches several Talons, before she uses what she called an “Identity Crystal” to try and control him again. When he resists, one of the soldiers blows up the castle. Doctor Haas disappears in the aftermath, apparently taken by the river current. Nightwing, however has the Identity Crystal and plans to return to Bludhaven. At the end of the issue, the Joker is seen watching a news report on the four Nightwings, saying that none of them are the real thing.
Dan Jurgens is really building something special here and you have to wonder how this “new” Nightwing is going to fare against the Joker. Will Dick get his memory back before he has to face him? Will facing him be what sparks his memory? I can’t wait to find out.
He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse #4 – Master of the Universes Part Four – Writer: Tim Seeley, Artist: Tom Derenick
This trip through the various versions of Masters of the Universe finally lands in, arguably, the most famous incarntion, the world of the legendary Filmation animated series. Suddenly, it’s the 80’s all over again, as the familiar characters, looking like they stepped right out of the celebrated cartoon, take center stage. Movie He-Man and Keldor have come here to ry and stop Anti-He-Man from obtaining the Star Seed.
They do so, but in the process, Keldor is seriously injured, and Anti-He-Man ends up with the power to control the prime source. I cannot fine the words to describe how much I love this series. With the Netflix series, and a new toy line coming in the fall, there has never been a better time to be a MOTU fan. There are two issues left in this series and I bet they are going to be amazing!
DCeased: Unkillables #1 – Writer: Tom Taylor, Artist: Karl Mostert
This series picks up after the events of DCeased, and details what the villains do once the heroes fail. It centers around Deathstroke, Commissioner Gordon and Jason Todd. They also encounter a group of villains led by Vandal Savage, including Mirror Master, Solomon Grundy, the Creeper, Cheetah, Captain Cold, Lady Shiva, Bane and Deadshot. Red Hood drives the Batmobile around with the Joker’s corpse tied to the front. That is all.
Justice League #41 – Invasion of the Superman Part 2: Shock Wave – Writer: Robert Venditti, Artist: Aaron Lopresti
The Eradicator comes to Earth and WIPES THE FLOOR WITH THE JUSTICE LEAGUE. They have to retreat, but Wonder Woman gets left behind.
Aquaman #57 – Amnesty, Finale: Xebel’s Daughter – Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Artists: Robson Rocha & Daniel Henriques
After overusing her Aquakinesis last issue, Mera is in a coma. But, she also gives birth to a healthy baby girl. AQUABABY IS HERE!
That does it for this week. Remember, if you can get your hands on a first edition of Batman #89 it is the fist appearance of Punchline, and she will be REALLY important very soon. You will see her again in next week’s Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3. I’ll be back next week with that and more.