Review: Batman #86 Explores Event Consequences To Forge A New Path

by Tony Thornley

The illusion of change is a necessary element of ongoing superhero comics. However, when a comic company takes a gamble on some more permanent changes, something really special can happen, and Batman #86 has that exact opportunity. Does it pull it off?

James Tynion IV, Tony S. Daniel, Guillem March, Danny Miki, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles begin this new era in Gotham.

Alfred Pennyworth is dead and Gotham lies in ruins in the wake of Bane’s attack on the city. However, Wayne Enterprises has risen in the wake of the tragedy, rebuilding Gotham bigger and better than ever before. And just like Wayne Enterprises, Batman is doing things differently with new allies and new methods. However, new enemies, led by none other than Deathstroke, may make all that irrelevant…

‘City of Bane’ could have been easily glossed over, especially with a new creative team. However, Tynion takes advantage of every bit of the consequences from that event as a foundation to build on and to move forward. It balances both sides of Bruce Wayne, while offering new challenges, which Deathstroke is able to represent. 

The new roles for the supporting cast are engaging, especially Lucius Fox, who quickly makes it clear that he’s not Alfred, even if he’s playing a similar role in Batman’s mission. Tynion’s Selina Kyle is a big highlight as well, with a wit and charm that feels natural. It all builds together into a new status quo that’s familiar on the surface, but incredibly different and full of potential on a deeper read.

Daniel and Miki team to create some of the best looking pages they’ve done. Miki smoothes Daniel’s lines, making much of the art feel very fluid. It creates action scenes that feel very cinematic and flows extremely well across the page, while Morey’s color palette is much warmer than the usual blues and greys other color artists use in Gotham-set stories. It’s very familiar while working with the script to make sure it doesn’t just feel like the same old Batman story.

In the end this all comes together to create a Batman story that feels fresh and exciting, while building on the recent past. I’m excited to see where it goes next.

Batman #86 is available now from DC Comics.

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