Batman #106 (May 2021)

The Cowardly Lot – Part One

Writer: James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Art: Jorge Jimenez, Gleb Melnikov, Colours: Tomeu Morey

Following the tragic events of Infinite Frontier #1, Batman and his new ally, Ghost-Maker, must reckon with a new gang operating in Gotham City, but are they connected to the reemergence of the Scarecrow? Meanwhile, shadowy billionaire Simon Saint pitches an advanced law-enforcement system to the new mayor! The creative team behind the epic “The Joker War” returns with a thrill-packed, dangerous new storyline called “The Cowardly Lot.”

Plus, the backup story “Demon or Detective” begins as Damian Wayne is on the run! After everything Damian has gone through, can he escape Gotham and find his way back to where his journey started—to his mother, Talia al Ghul? This two-part tale concludes this month in Detective Comics #1034!

DCCOMICS.COM official solicitation

The Future State is over and the Infinite Frontier has begun.  DC’s confusing publishing plan continues but, as usual with these relaunches, Batman continues with only a few tweaks from where we left off.  James Tynion IV is still the writer so the story follows pretty close to where we were two months ago.

This fresh new beginning for Batman starts with Bruce tied up in a gimp suit with Clockwork Orange eye clamps in.  He has been captured by the Scarecrow, with a redesign that brings him close to his Arkham Asylum video game look, and is being educated on why fear is important for humans.

The book jumps back to before Batman’s capture and we get the best change to Tynion has introduce. Barbara Gordon is Oracle again and has returned to the role of voice in Bruce’s ear again. This allows for natural exposition as Bruce and Barbara can converse about what is happening. It also gives Bruce a humerous personality again and is lightest Batman protray in a long time.

Gotham is being terrorised by a new gang called The Unsanity Collective led Master Wyze. They are Robbing the rich and famous media tycoons and want to reshape the city. Batman is hunting them in a new stripped down, sportier Batmobile but has to call in help. His sidekick is no longer a Robin but Ghost-Maker, a character recently introduced by Tynion, and they relationship now seems a lot more amicable. Now that Bruce has lost a large chunk of his fortune the pair of them are living in the suburbs and working out of a garage.

We are introduced to a new character named Simon Saint, the latest billionaire tech player in Gotham, and his plans to sell the Magistrate Program to the city. This is laying the groundwork for Future State which is a future we will hopefully never catch up to. The new Mayor, Christopher Nakano, doesn’t want this in his city but the Scarecrow is lurking in the background.

Jorge Jimenez art is great throughout. This is an action heavy book and it is kinetic and smooth for the big car chase but he does scratchy and dark effectively for the Scarecrow sections. Morey’s purple and blue colour pallette gives Gotham an interesting look.

Tynion has turned the clock on Batman and delivering something akin to what we were getting in the 90s and early 2000s. A lighter, positive Batman who works as part of team. Now if they can get all the Batbooks to contact the way they did back then we could be onto a winner.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Demon Or Detective? – Part One

It looks like back up stories are back and that’s a good thing. It may cost a bit more back it gives you more variety. Here we get an update on where Damian Wayne is. He had walked away from Batman and the Teen Titans and shunned the Robin identity to become his own person.

He has tracked his mother, Talia Al Ghul, to Markovia and wants to return to her side as the heir of the Demon. Damian sees himself as a success but Talia sees him as a failure for returning. Their reunion is interrupted by the League of Lazarus, a new group of assassins, who are out for demon blood. Damian is left in a position where he is instructed by Talia to kill to save her life. He has promised his father he would never kill again so now he has to choose which road he is going to follow.

Joshua Williamson has put Damian at an interesting crossroads but we get there a bit too quickly. This is going to be a two part story but dramatically probably could have used an extra chapter to build up the decision.

⭐⭐⭐

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