Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art: Jorge Molina, Mikel Janín, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: December 7th, 2021
As Gotham City commemorates its ability to survive FEAR STATE, BATMAN searches for his own way to celebrate the defeat of Scarecrow and the Magistrate. But as he finally takes a moment to relax, he discovers a new mysterious quandary involving BATMAN INC. that sends the Dark Knight to Badhnisia. Let’s dive into BATMAN #118 as Joshua Williamson, Jorge Molina, and Mikel Janín kick off their brand new run with the Caped Crusader that propels him into an international Abyss that weaves together some brand new characters in the process.
Since 2016, BATMAN has had it rough. Technically, he’s been all over the place. From fighting his Dad in Tom King’s run, discovering Three Jokers from Geoff Johns, battling dark versions of himself from Scott Snyder, and now recently FEAR STATE with James Tynion, the Dark Knight has been swimming in relentless battles containing gargantuan scopes. Heck, Williamson even references that in this opener.
Readers, BATMAN has been through some serious &&@&! And frankly, I bring that up because this reviewer couldn’t help but pop in and out through each of these heavy-duty, in-depth analyses stretching the last five years. After all, they’ve become so dang convoluted. It was almost as if each writer was trying to outdo the other with something bigger and better. Well, not Williamson (at least right now) and I love it! The point of the above isn’t to knock the other writers by any imagination. It’s simply to give a solid comparison of what we have within the pages of BATMAN #118.
BATMAN felt like… BATMAN again. It had the character and charm that’s been missing for quite some time. The discussion between Bruce and Oracle was outstanding. The Billionaire’s Club Party scene was humorously witty and captured just enough action to keep this reader excited without it being too forced or extreme. And, the scope of the story wasn’t so insanely large that overshadowed past events or seemed like the next explosive thing to hit the Dark Knight. Williamson provides an excellent transition issue to regroup and refocus readers while offering the perfect jumping-on point to anyone interested in BATMAN. And readers, I mean perfect! Honestly, you can dive into BATMAN #118 without truly knowing anything about the past 118 issues and still swim upstream just fine.
Moreover, the concept of this first story arc seems both small and interesting, which this series hasn’t seen in years. The storyline already feels intriguing, down to earth, and easy to digest making it AGAIN the precise time to hop on board. Noting the above, I would say my BATMAN knowledge is above the average bear. Yet, I find myself the most fascinated to discover more about BATMAN INC. That’s an area of BATMAN lore where I would say I’m certainly lacking the most. Therefore, I’m super pumped to learn some additional info on the fly from past BATMAN INC. issues and trades while discovering the story Williamson wants to tell in the process. Furthermore, the cliffhanger was good, elegant, and provides just enough of a hook to enchant this fan for the next issue.
Williamson should be incredibly pleased that two artistic juggernauts in Jorge Molina and Mikel Janín are driving this story. These two know how to construct narrative beats so incredibly well. Both Molina and Janín thrive on crispy linework, bold outlines, candid sketches, and sharp vibrant colors from Tomeu Morey that really make BATMAN #118 come to life.
Earlier, I stated how much I liked the Billionaire’s Club Party. Well, the biggest reason I adored that scene was because of this art team. The detail with the dozen characters involved, the bright color choices, and the full page panel displays made the story beat so poignant. Moreover, the action panels, along with the lettering from Clayton Cowles, provided that fierce, action-packed movement that you’d expect from a BATMAN comic. There is no doubt that this art team, not only has the BATMAN experience, but also the know-how to render one heck of a BATMAN series fans can look forward to.
BATMAN #118 is refreshing, entertaining, refocused, and feels like it’s already easier to digest than most Batman-related stories in the past five years. The direction is captivating, the art team fits perfectly with the breadth of the first arc, and the BATMAN INC. components sparked an interest in this reviewer to examine those related trades. My only hope is that the Oracle-BATMAN dynamic can be reignited in future issues because it was one of the best aspects of the issue. Sadly, it appears as though that relationship might not reappear until the Abyss arc is over. However, it does leave this reviewer excited for what stories are on the horizon for Williamson. I highly recommend checking out BATMAN #118, especially if you jumped ship recently. It really is the perfect time to leap back into the Dark Knight. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!