Batman gets closer to understanding the enormity of the Designer’s plans in Batman #89.
James Tynion IV has wasted no time in setting up an expansive, sweeping mystery since taking over the Batman title. Now, in “Their Dark Designs” Part 4, Catwoman’s involvement with the mysterious villain Designer starts to become more evident. By the end of the issue she’s apologizing to the Bat…but why?
Who Is The Designer?
Tynion shares his notes to artists Jorge Jimenez in his newsletter. These notes reveal a great deal of information about the Designer and his plans for Gotham City. Jimenez will be working with Tynion on the upcoming Joker War arc.
In the newsletter, Tynion outlined two new characters that would make their debut in Batman #89: The Designer, and Punchline.
Designer is meant to be an urban legend come to life, described by Tynion as the product of a “Metal Gear Solid x Final Fantasy x Silent Hill crossover game, and the villain of that game was meant to be the actual, honest-to-god devil.”
Known as one of the greatest villains of all, the Designer recruited Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman for his biggest crime of all. When the villains learned that the Designer was going to kill them when he was done, they killed him first. Or so they thought. Now he’s back and they’re all in danger.
Peek A Boo Punchline
Also debuting in Batman #89 is Joker’s new squeeze, Punchline. We get a little peek at the newest villain in the issue, but that’s all we need to know that Joker seems pretty wild about her.
According to Tynion’s notes, Punchline is the “polar opposite” of Harley Quinn. She is much more than a female Joker or an anti-Harley Quinn, rather she’s a sadist who could give the Joker a run for his money.
We’ll learn more about her as we get deeper into the Joker War, of course, but she’s already creating a lot of buzz.
So Many Great Moments
Tynion’s Batman stories have been an absolute joy for Bat fans. It is so easy to get completely lost in the world he’s building, and so far he has been really good about filling in the blanks as they come up. He is creating a bigger story, to be sure, but he’s not waiting until the last minute to fill in the gaps.
Lucius Fox continues to delight as Batman’s new sidekick. Tynion’s Harley Quinn is a lot of fun, and watching her interact with the newlywed Bat and Cat shows a different side of the character that we don’t see often. (It’s also worth noting the way that Batman speaks to Harley in Batman #89, like she’s not a threat but possibly an ally) There’s also the added bonus of knowing that Harley is a psychiatrist and she’s observing Batman and Catwoman in a moment of angst.
Not only do the supporting characters provide great insight to the story but Tynion also gives fans an inside look at Batman’s process as we see his reasoning and strategizing in the moment. He knows something big is happening with the Designer and he also knows that there is so much more than meets the eye.
“Their Dark Designs” is refreshing and fun. It’s a welcome return to the kind of detective stories that made Batman the hero that he is.