The dive into an alternate reality – where Warner Bros weren’t scared into changing course by pearl-clutching merchandising partners – Batman ’89 has been a fascinating look at what could have been.
Tragedy has struck Gotham, with a senior police officer down. Bruce Wayne finds himself in a precarious position, as Harvey Dent/Two-Face learns who he dresses up as at night. Drake – Batman’s new costumed partner – and Selina Kyle rescue Wayne as Dent looks for ways to use his newly discovered information against his former friend.
Though the art in this issue is just as strong as it’s been throughout – Joe Quinones really has done some amazing stuff with the duality of Two-Face – the story is so overstuffed it’s ridiculous. It’s as if writer Sam Hamm suddenly realised he had to wrap everything up and hadn’t really been thinking about that until this issue; previous issues have been well paced and allowed plenty of characters to have room to breathe. Here, it’s almost as if everything of consequence has to happen all at once, making for a messy and unsatisfying read.
Hamm has used some excellent social commentary over the course of the series and that continues here; it’s by far the most well-done aspect of the story. It’s just a shame that there’s so much mess around it, because it definitely lessens the impact of Hamm’s worthier subtext.
Despite these problems, on the whole I’ve enjoyed having another chance to visit the ’89 Batverse and though it’s unlikely that this would have been the exact form a third Burton movie would have taken, I’ve no doubt that there are elements here that would have made it to the big screen.
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