The Conspiracy against Batman Begins
With the start of a new Batman run, we were going to get a big overarching villain eventually. For King’s run, it was Bane. For this run, we get the new villain, The Designer. This strangely decorated supercriminal has helped Gotham’s most famous criminals create the ultimate plan. The shocking part is the fact that The Designer has also turned his gaze on the criminals. Through the help of the world’s deadliest assassins, Penguin has been sent to the emergency room, and Riddler has been taken. Catwoman, being a part of this grand conspiracy, steps forward, to tell the truth to Batman. So how did this all begin?
**Some Spoilers Below**
While Harley uses Bat-drones to chase down Deathstroke, Catwoman explains what happened. Near the beginning of Batman’s career, Selina is invited to meet with a legendary villain named The Designer.
Along with her is Riddler, Penguin, and the Joker as they head to the docks on Gotham Bay. There the group finds a boatman who takes them to a strange mansion out on the water. The Designer welcomes them all and gives us vague details of his tale. After the introductions, he takes each member into another room where he presents them each with a perfect crime designed for them.
Well, we finally got information on our mastermind, and honestly, it has me more hooked than ever. The Designer telling his tale to the villains had my brain circulating possibilities of who it truly is. He’s treated like a boogeyman of crime, and it helps that the criminals treat him as such. It also brought a laugh when it was revealed why The Designer turned on the Bat-Villains. It makes perfect sense why a villain such as the Designer wouldn’t mesh with Gotham’s worst.
The biggest issue is how this whole story is presented to us. This story would have benefited if we got each bit of this history given to us throughout the arc. With it poured on all at once, it’s incredibly hard to digest. A superhero comic should find a balance of both action and story to hold readers properly. If we wait until the fourth issue of a six-issue arc to do an info dump, it’s going to turn people away. Obviously, the big Batman fans will be in it for the long haul, but it doesn’t make the issue any less dense and hard to completely enjoy.
This time around, we have Jorge Jimenez doing the art, and he keeps up the quality the series has had so far. The classic looks of the Batman villains thrive off of his style of illustration. The best look of the bunch is the Joker, who pops off the page, thanks to the colorwork of Tomeu Morey. Another positive the team does exceptionally well is the flashback within the flashback recounting the origin of The Designer. They purposefully left out any major detail to allow readers to start forming theories on who the identity is.
Overall, while not a perfect issue, we finally get more than just action sequences with teases of a deeper story. The Designer continues to intrigue and has revitalized my hope for this new run. While the art team continues to rotate in and out of the series, this one does a great job of creating a classic Batman feel. The previous reviews have made it clear that the biggest issue was a lack of progression in the story. As we move forward in the series, I can only hope that the team can find that proper balance to reach the potential I know it has.