Review: The Designer Comes To Gotham In ‘Batman’ #90 By Tynion IV And Jimenez

by Tony Thornley

Since the Dark Knight’s new era began, the plans of a horrifying new villain has haunted him from the shadows. Now, in the pages of Batman #90, the Designer begins to make his presence felt more, and it may destroy Batman forever.

James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles reveal a dark secret.

In the midst of the pursuit of Deathstroke, Catwoman confesses everything to Batman. Years ago, long before Selina knew who Bruce truly was, she was given an offer from a master criminal called the Designer alongside the Penguin, the Riddler and the Joker. However, the meeting went horribly bad, and the Joker murdered the Designer. Has the villain returned? And can Batman stop the plot before it’s too late?

Tynion IV goes full camp in this issue, and it’s fantastic for it. It’s over the top, and gleeful, giving a modern spin on a plot that would feel at home in the silver age. In the flashback, the Designer is threatening, but isn’t so dark that it crosses the line into grim and gritty. Harley is like a shot of storytelling espresso for the present day sequences, adding levity and humor to the thriller plot.

Where the issue truly shines is in the art. Jimenez’s sleek lines are a breath of fresh air. He makes Gotham feel modern, while Morey’s colors add light and life to it. He takes the Designer’s over the top design, full of campy and silly elements, and makes the villain dark and threatening. He’s an imposing figure every time he’s one the page, which is countered by the Joker, who slinks across the page like a predator, foreshadowing the climactic confrontation between the two at the end of the issue.

This issue helped the arc regain a lot of steam, and I’m excited to see where this goes.

Batman #90 is available now from DC Comics.

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