With Shades of Hush, is Batman's Latest Epic Planned Too Precisely?

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Batman 88 2020

Bruce Wayne's plans for the revitalization of Gotham City get put on hold when five of the deadliest contract killers show up -- among them Cheshire and Deathstroke. (Sorry, Merlyn and the other two forgettables wouldn't have made y radar as the top five DC mercenaries.) Batman quickly captures them and has them put into the "Black Box" at Gotham PD -- a special holding cell designed by Batman and paid for by Bruce Wayne (really, the detectives at GCPD must have gotten their badges in a Cracker Jack box). Yes, Batman now has a "Pipeline" similar to that in THE FLASH, and it's super duper secure, even if Batman does have his own secret built-in entrance to it.

So naturally they escape.Albeit it's not so much an escape as a kidnapping, put in motion by The Penguin, who recognizes the plan that is in motion and is terrified of it -- as is Riddler and Catwoman. We might wonder if Joker is terrified as well, but his dessicated corpse is laying in a coffin Catwoman dug up, a corpse that pulls that same ghostly "vox post mortem" we saw back in issue #86.

Apparently the four of Gotham's greatest villains conspired at one time with a man known as The Designer on a way to commit the perfect crime. Now they see that plan being put into action, and for whatever reason it sends the all on the run, including Catwoman who keeps all this secret from Batman. Granted, she may have tried to tell him later in this issue, but a shovel upside the head and being buried alive with the Joker's corpse (Narrator's voice: It's not the Joker's corpse) made her have to put a pin in that idea. Good thing for Catwoman she's rescued from early interment by none other than Harley Quinn.

James Tynion IV's sprawling epic, "Their Dark Designs," carries with it echoes of the classic "Hush" storyline, aided by some stunning artwork from Guillem March. It's the kind of story that touches every character in Batman's world, and every rogue in his gallery of villains. Which was cool when it's sole purpose was to give Jim Lee a chance to draw everyone, but I don't know if readers are ready for yet another toppling dominos story about a master plan put into effect years ago coming to a by-the-numbers fruition. And now that Batman knows the true target of this mysterious unseen hand known as The Designer, it will either wrap things up pretty quickly, or propel things deeper down the rabbit hole. I'm betting on the latter.


4.0 / 5.0