The finale of the Caped Crusader’s battle with the Clown Prince of Crime sets up a new age of Gotham City as the first Rebirth-era book reaches its 100th issue.
Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils by Jorge Jimenez, Guillem March and Carlo Pagalayan
Inks by Jorge Jimenez, Guillem March and Danny Miki
Colors by Tomeu Morey
Another milestone for the Dark Knight leads to another change to the status quo for Gotham City as DC Comics rearranges the chess board of some of Batman’s supporting cast. The threat of the Joker has finally been neutralized and Batman’s arch-enemy has been stripped of Bruce Wayne’s millions. But Gotham City has gone through yet another terrible event, and the 100th issue of Batman clears the way for a new-look Bat-family.
Now that Nightwing has his memories back – after spending about two years fighting against his history and training – the team has its most trusted second-in-command back. But Nightwing isn’t the only hero who’s back at Batman’s side. During the course of Joker War, we’ve seen Tim Drake return to his roots as Robin, bringing girlfriend Stephanie Brown – the Spoiler – back with him.
Throw in the Signal – Duke Thomas – along with Red Hood and Cassandra Cain, it’s a formidable group of soldiers in Batman’s battle against crime. With Harley Quinn now joining the ranks of those who know Batman’s secret identity, I can only imagine that gatherings at the Batcave are gonna get very interesting.
Maybe the most surprising – and welcome – change comes right as the issue opens. Barbara Gordon takes off her Batgirl cowl and puts on her glasses as she sits down in front of her computer to coordinate the efforts on the field. After a rough go of things in her own title – which is set to end soon – Gordon seems to be hanging up the cape and returning to her former role of Oracle.
Getting paralyzed by the Joker led to Gordon originally becoming Oracle – a moniker she used for decades until the New 52 gave her back her mobility – so it’s only fitting that a big battle with Joker gets her back behind the monitor. But I think most of Barbara Gordon’s most iconic moments have been as Oracle and not Batgirl, so I’m intrigued by what this return could mean for her. A true return to the Birds of Prey, maybe? Helping the Justice League coordinate efforts around the world? There’s a lot of potential there.
Of course, not even an event called Joker War could give us the ultimate fate of the Clown Prince of Crime. It may have been hyped as the final battle between Batman and Joker, but that seems to happen every few years. Joker War will obviously be no different. Despite being shot by Harley Quinn, who also strapped a bomb to her former beau (and herself, daring Batman to save one), the Joker managed to escape, giving DC Comics the chance to have another “final battle” between the two bitter battlers.
At the very least, this should give us a little break from Joker for a while.