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A bruised and bloodied Batman sits on a Gotham City rooftop and radios Alfred, in Batman #86, DC Comics (2020). Image: James Tynion IV, Tony S. Daniel/DC Comics

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DC’s pivotal, new Batman comic teases a fresh beginning for the Joker, too

Plus everything else in the last week of comics

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

A few weeks ago, Tom King’s run on DC’s Batman ended with an 85th issue full of callbacks, victory, and resolution. This week, we saw the dawn of a new Batman building on the foundations of the old, in James Tynion IV and Tony S. Daniel’s Batman #86.

The issue does a little bit of everything, but miraculously avoids being busy. Bruce and Selina are publically a couple now, even though they haven’t formally tied the knot. In the wake of Bane’s recent takeover, Bruce is putting the full Wayne fortune — and plenty of Robin-hooded money from less altruistic ritch Gothamites — behind a sweeping campaign of urban renewal, based on his own designs for a better Gotham. It’s “the fastest any major american city has grown since the start of the twentieth century,” according to Gotham’s mayor.

But just in case the city planning is a little dry, Batman still fights five world-class assassins in a beautifully drawn fight scene, and the whole issue is capped off with the Joker’s henchmen burning down an amusement park full of hostages. Then, for a twist, the Joker executes all the henchmen as well. It seem like the Clown Prince of Crime is clearing the decks for something big (and we just might know what that is).

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. Let’s start get started!

Batman #86

“I’m sorry, Bruce. Alfred... Alfred isn’t here.” Lucius says to Batman. Batman pauses, sadly, and then says “Forgive me, Lucius, it’s been a long night,” in Batman #86, DC Comics (2020). Image: James Tynion IV, Tony S. Daniel/DC Comics

Oh, also, after his very hard fight with five assassins, Batman radioed for Alfred to call the police, forgetting that he died, and no, I don’t want to talk about it.

Young Justice #12

Superboy punches a large T-rex unconscious, and talks about how he hates punching dumb animals. “It’s like punching a puppy.” “Wait, what’s happened to puppies back on Earth?” asks Warlord, in Young Justice #12, DC Comics (2020). Image: Brian Michael Bendis, John Timms/DC Comics

I can’t believe we’ve already hit a year of Young Justice, and also that Superboy is now trapped in Skartaris, the DC Universe’s He-Man-meets-Edgar-Rice-Burroughs side dimension, and also that it could be this funny.

Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy #5

Harley Quinn grills Batwoman about workplace benefits for becoming a superhero, much to Poison Ivy’s chagrin, in Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy #5, DC Comics (2020). Image: Jody Houser, Adriana Melo/DC Comics

Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy continues to be just plain fun in each issue, like this one where Batwoman shows up for a WLW trifecta, and we are reminded that — as a woman with a Brooklyn accent — Harley Quinn is not a native of Gotham City.

Ronin Island #9

A samurai-fungal-zombie byonin leaps, growling, at Hana and Kenichi, in Ronin Island #9, Boom Studios (2020). Image: Greg Pak, Giannis Milonogiannis/DC Comics

Boom Studios’ Ronin Island, from Greg Pak and Giannis Milonogiannis, is one of my quiet favorites these days. Following the adventures of two teens from an island of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese refugees from an Edo-period zombie plague, I can never quiet place where its twists are headed from issue to issue. I think it’ll really appeal to Avatar: The Last Airbender fans out there.

X-Force #5

Forge, wearing a bio-tech mecha suit, picks up Wolverine’s severed legs and torso and slams them together Humpty Dumpty style so he can heal, in X-Force #5, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara/Marvel Comics

In this week’s X-Force, bad guys shut a Krakoa portal just as Wolverine stepped through it, forcing Forge to just carry his legs around for a while until he could find the rest of him and literally Humpty Dumpty him back together. It was great, I’m saying.

New Mutants #5

Sunspot hits on Deathbird, of the Shi’ar. She is extremely dangerous and not interested, and he is oblivious, in New Mutants #5, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Jonathan Hickman, Rod Reis/Marvel Comics

Also great? Sunspot’s complete lack of self-preservation instinct.


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