Catwoman Plays Double Agent
The plot thickens in Batman #88 as Catwoman seemingly plays double agent while Batman works to capture Deathstroke (again) after the Black Block is compromised.
What's the score!?
Writer: James Tynion IV
Penciller/Inker: Guillem March
Colourist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Tynion is giving Batman fans a terrific story, infused with energy and enthusiasm and everything that Batman fans love, and if he can keep this momentum going then we’ll happily go along for the ride.
Awesomeness - 98%
Plot - 91%
Characters - 94%
Tone - 97%
James Tynion IV continues to deliver a brilliant story in the third installment of “Their Dark Designs”. The solicits hinted at a secret that could drive a wedge between Batman and Catwoman and Batman #88 sheds light on what that secret might entail.
Here, Kitty Kitty
The issue begins and ends with Catwoman in a graveyard. She uses an old comm link presumably designed to connect Gotham’s underworld to contact the Riddler. (Evidently they don’t use it anymore because Batman compromised it years ago) She needs information, but he’s too caught up with the idea that she hasn’t been truthful with her “boyfriend” – a.k.a. Batman – about something that she, Riddler and Penguin did years ago.
As they talk, they hint at a fourth member of the group – the Joker – but after lots of digging she reveals that the Joker is in a grave, and it’s something that they knew about because they helped put him there.
Things Get Weird
If Joker is dead, then his corpse has a habit of talking because a green gas starts leaking from his body and he starts talking. That’s when trouble shows up in the form of a shadowy figures who believe that Selina is about to betray their agreement. He knocks her into the grave and starts burying her with Joker’s corpse.
Meanwhile, Batman gets a call from Lucius that Deathstroke and the other villains have been taken from the Black Block. Bullock confirms that something happened and the impenetrable jail cell was compromised.
Batman tracks down Deathstroke, who uses Penguin as a shield to buy time to escape. He cuts Penguin’s throat and forces Batman to make a decision between saving Penguin and catching Deathstroke. As Batman tries to stop the bleeding, Penguin reveals that the Designer is real and his target is Bruce Wayne.
Back at the cemetery, Selina gets an assist from none other than Harley Quinn, who reveals that the conspiracy runs deeper than anyone knows.
What Does It All Mean?
Tynion is building one heck of a debut arc with “Their Dark Designs” and it’s a first class detective story that features Batman working one angle and Catwoman working another. She tries to tell Batman something early on, but she can’t connect and so we don’t know what it is that she’s trying to confess, but if Riddler is to be believed it’s possible that the secret is enough to tear them apart.
There are a lot of questions floating around at the moment: Who is the Designer? What was the pact between Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin and Joker? Is Joker really dead? Who has been masquerading as Joker for all these years? How does Deathstroke factor into all of this? What will happen when Batman learns the truth?
One thing is for sure: Tynion is giving Batman fans a terrific story, infused with energy and enthusiasm and everything that Batman fans love, and if he can keep this momentum going then we’ll happily go along for the ride.
Lucius Makes A Great Alfred
Let’s face it: No one can replace Alfred. (And no one should try) But having Lucius Fox in Batman’s ear has been a welcome addition in Tynion’s Bat-verse. Lucius seems to have an uncanny ability to anticipate Batman’s needs, giving fans some of the most awesome new Bat technology we’ve seen in a while.
The holographic Batmobile is a lot of fun. It’s a cool concept and it gives Batman some flexibility to get around when he needs to. And Tynion is clearly having a blast writing the exchanges between the two longtime friends as they learn how to navigate this new development to their relationship.
Batman #88 “Their Dark Designs” Part Three is available now.