The continuation of Tim Burton’s Batman movie reaches its halfway point in Batman ’89 #3. It’s a great look into an alternate world in which Warner Bros allowed Burton to continue with his vision; one in which Joel Schumacher’s more hyperactive, luridly colourful and campy pair of sequels simply didn’t exist. With the original screenwriter of the 1989 movie also on writing duties here, the series feels truly authentic – as if this really could have been the third Batman movie instead of Batman Forever.
With Harvey Dent heroically running into a burning building to save the trapped occupants, he manages a rescue and is rightly feted as Gotham’s saviour. His election chances have never looked better; he’s in control, despite the seedier elements of Gotham looking to lend a hand in return for favours of their own. And yet…something isn’t quite right. What really happened on that fateful night?
Though there’s the feeling that the opening sequence is a little cheap in how it manipulates the reader, by the end it does make sense as to how it’s presented. This third issue feels like a dense read, with plenty going on both with and around Dent – and there’s a jaw-dropping build-up to a pitch perfect character reveal too, with astonishing art by the superb Joe Quinones. Both Hamm and Quinones have really knocked it out of the park with this issue; it’s a highly cinematic tale of tragedy that is incredibly well written and drawn.
True to the form of the Burton movies, the plot is less about Batman and more about the villain’s origin – and Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent is a criminally missed cinematic opportunity that’s put right by this series. It’s a hugely compelling read and one that fans of both Batman and Batman Returns won’t want to miss; fans of the latter in particular are also well served by the interactions between the Dark Knight and a certain returning character. This series has rapidly become absolutely unmissable.
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