Batman: The Joker War by James Tynion IV

Title: Batman.
Volume: 2.
Story Arc
: The Joker War.
Universe: Rebirth.
Writer(s): James Tynion IV.
Penciler(s): Jorge Jimenez, Carlo Pagulayan (Chapter: Intervention), Guillem March (Chapter: Dead Ringer).
Inker(s): Danny Miki (Chapter: Intervention).
Colourist(s): Tomeu Morey.
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles.
PublisherDC Comics.

: Single Issues.
Release Date: February 9th, 2021.
Pages: 176.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781779507907.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Previously in the Batman (2016) series:
Batman (Vol. 1): Their Dark Designs by James Tynion IV.


Gotham City has always been a dangerous terrain, burdened by a past brimming with corruption and criminality. Despite the heroic and visionary feats of past heroes, it always somehow manages to transform certain individuals into their worse nightmares. For some, Gotham will always have a dark core embellished by foolish ideals promoted by the rich and famous. For others, Gotham is a gentle soul terribly mistreated by ill-intentioned lunatics and only desperately requiring someone to protect it from these wretched creatures. In his second story-arc as the lead writer of the ongoing Batman comic book series, James Tynion IV teams up with artist Jorge Jimenez to deliver a battle of visions centered around the World’s Greatest Detective and the Clown Prince of Crime.

What is Batman: The Joker War? Picking up where things were left off in Their Dark Designs, the Joker begins his ultimate plan in the age-long conflict with the Dark Knight Detective. Having taken care of The Designer, the Joker now finds himself in a dominant and unparalleled position of power as he works with his newest sidekick Punchline to take control of key locations that will ultimately serve as Batman’s grave. Unfortunately for them, Harley Quinn isn’t out of the picture just yet as she turns into an undesired thorn in the grand scheme at play. In the midst of this chaos, new and old players join the war and unleash their own dose of justice while the Caped Crusader comes to terms with his past and works to find his footing to stop the Joker once and for all.

“Come on now, Bat. Pull yourself together. The city’s in pain. It’s calling out to you. Can’t you hear it?”

— James Tynion IV

Collecting issues #95 to #100, this epic Batman event had countless repercussions across the DC world, especially with the heroes within Gotham City. Writer James Tynion does a truly exciting job in building up the tension and suspense as he gives us tidbits of what the Joker has planned for Batman this time around. While the event is not an end in itself, it does allow him to focus on the two contrasting ideologies embodied by Batman and the Joker, the former believing that Gotham is his to protect and save, the latter believing that Gotham is being deprived of its rawest form, one that is dark, hungry, and deadly. On top of this discourse, writer James Tynion IV does a fantastic job in exploring the grief embraced by Batman as he now faces head-on with the loss he recently suffered and has yet to truly accept. Explored through a hallucinogenic subplot, it allowed Bruce Wayne to refocus his purpose in life and clarify the vision he has for the future, while also understanding what he needs to do going forward.

Unfortunately, the grand spectacle is undermined by the short-length of this story-arc and by the heavy-hitting themes explored throughout this volume. This is mostly due to an imbalance in scope as the story mashes together a tale of love, loss, family, betrayal, society, and war in a bag too small to keep it all together. As the narrative is rushed to the finish line, the decisive moment is superficially glossed over instead of allowing the Batman and Joker battle to remain central to the plot. Joker’s motive to orchestrate this plan is thus diluted and consequently lost as writer James Tynion IV remembers by the end that this ultimate war needs to serve as a foundation for things to come, forcing the narrative to fizzle out as the epilogue desperately, and maybe even successfully, tries to spark things up.

It would be a mistake not to mention the phenomenal artwork by Jorge Jimenez. Continuing his exposure to superhero comics, this time around he picks up the totality of the burden of this story-arc as he draws some of the most gorgeous characters and settings ever. Trust me when I tell you that it’s astonishing what he’s able to accomplish. Every panel is jammed with life and emotion, even the subtlest of expressions is captured through body language and gaze. Then you have his splash pages that will indubitably have you dragging your jaw across the floor. Respect must also be given to colourist Tomeu Morey who somehow knows how to meticulously inject the right colours in the right places, assuring readers that every page is a sight worth seeing and framing. At this point, I think anything that Jorge Jimenez draws would have me in ecstasy.

Batman: The Joker War is a visually mind-blowing event pitting two icons against one another in a war to win dominion over the future of Gotham City.




24 thoughts on “Batman: The Joker War by James Tynion IV

  1. Jimenez’s art is amazing indeed. I’ll be eyeing Tynion IV’s run with a healthy dose of mistrust, after what you-know-who’s done with Bats, but for now it looks rather promising 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. His work on Snyder’s Justice League was also phenomenal. My expectations were high here and I still wasn’t disappointed! 😀

      That’s probably the best way to approach this latest run. I’m sure it’ll be better than King’s for you but I don’t think it’ll blow your mind like Snyder’s Batman, for example. Dip your toe cautiously into these dark waters! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was a shame they couldn’t keep the same artist for every issue. There was a lot to like in this story arc, but I felt like it didn’t deliver. Similar to the previous ‘Designer’ story. I’ve given Tynion’s run a fair try but I will probably be dropping the comic. I was hoping for more because I did enjoy his runs on Detective Comics and Justice League Dark. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always despised that with DC’s bi-monthly strategy. I just want stories to be led by the same creative team and that they aren’t cut short for the sake of selling trades that are max 6-7 issues long!

      His Batman stuff has yet to really take off but I’ll probably continue to remain optimistic hahah

      Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure. This Batman series and the Detective Comics series are the only ones that I pay and follow as individual issues. Even if they end up bad here and then, which was the case with Tom King’s run, I remain optimistic that my boy Bats will get a masterpiece story-arc like in the good ol’ days soon enough… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh, such an optimist. You just wait. At some point Batman will become his own father, marry Harley Quinn and the Joker will be his son while Catwoman is his daughter.

        I’m trademarking the idea NOW!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve mentioned before how I never really followed Batman so don’t know much about his story or character. But one thing I’ve enjoyed about reading your reviews over the last year or so has been how I’m slowly learning more about the characters and their stories. Not that I’m ready to jump into them myself, but I can still appreciate some of their elements vicariously through your take on them. And I agree with you about the artwork, it looks fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Todd! I appreciate it a lot. While I know that many of my followers don’t read comics, don’t follow superhero stories, or don’t care about Batman, I tell myself that maybe through my reviews they’ll at least know Batman and his stories. As a die-hard fan of the superhero, I doubt I’ll ever stop caring about the stories around him, and hopefully, through my reviews, some will be intrigued enough to check these out for themselves! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review my friend, I wholeheartedly agree with you about Jorge Jimenez – he’s totally the right man for the book and I was elated that he was able to draw the entire arc! I really enjoyed Joker War (in fact I’m picking up the hardcover), I didn’t have as much issue with the length myself, maybe another issue or two might have made it all the more sweeter but I’m just glad that although there are tie-in issues in the other Bat-family books the main story was kept within the main Batman series. Each part crossing over into other comics would have driven me insane and I don’t think the results would have been all that great.

    Did you hear that DC are launching an ongoing Joker series, also to be written by James Tynion? I’ve mixed feelings about that, a mini or maxi series would probably have been better, if any standalone Joker series at all!

    Oh and did you see the release date has been set for the Snyder Cut? Alas they haven’t announced plans for the U.K. yet, I’m getting a bit annoyed with this HBO Max situation – although apparently there’s an international roll out plan for the service, it doesn’t currently include the U.K. (man I want to watch Godzilla vs Kong haha!). Bummer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, my friend. It would’ve killed me if it had the same structure as Dark Nights: Metal… I’m not too excited about the idea of hunting down the parallel Joker War stories but I do hope they’re decent enough, especially when they all have different creative teams on them. I did wish that this one could’ve been a bit longer and a bit more fleshed out but for what it is, especially after how long I had to wait for a good Batman story since King’s downfall (at least in my books hahaha), this was refreshing! Thank god for Jimenez!!! 😀

      I actually didn’t hear about Tynion’s Joker! That sounds intriguing. I do know there’s a Punchline series going on though (she’s a pretty cool concept but she remains a character that will probably require more stories to really be established amidst Gotham’s rogues’ gallery.

      I am quite sad about how HBO Max has been handling their cinema/series marketing. I don’t think they made themselves any fans since the whole fiasco pre-WW84 too… Godzilla vs. Kong is going to be so epic though! I do hope they find a way to reach out to a larger target audience. Like you, I’m also going into the Snyder Cut very cautiously. The last thing I want is to be disappointed by the final result of this fan-desired movie (four-part series).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well. speaking of Tom King I’ve read the first two issues of Batman/Catwoman and impressed so far. I think ultimately he’s better suited to these self-contained 12 issue maxi-series.

        Still awaiting news of the international release for the Snyder Cut, although did you hear it’s now just one 4-hour film and not being split into parts (reason being they would have to pay the actors etc more if it was split into episodes)?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Really glad to hear that Bat/Cat is doing good! I didn’t dare pick it up as single issues but I very much look forward to reading it once collected. More now than ever with your positive thoughts on it. 😀

        I haven’t! That’s interesting and not surprising since WB/HBO Max are pretty much screwing up their chances to make real money with these recent marketing decisions. Hopefully, the Snyder Cut will still feel like it’s in its original and final form rather than an experimental project that tried to meet the high expectations of fans! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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