Batman started a new era with Joshua Williamson taking over as the main writer for the series after James Tynion. Williamson started his run by taking Batman out of Gotham City as he brought back the Batman Inc concept. Not only is Batman Inc back but it is no longer being funded by Bruce Wayne. Rather the person behind this latest incarnation of Batman Inc is none other than Lex Luthor. What are Lex’s plans for Batman Inc and how does it relate to the mysterious death of the new villain, Abyss? Let’s find out with Batman #119.
Writers: Joshua Williamson (The Abyss: Old And New Enemies); Karl Kerschl (They Make Great Pets back-up story)
Artists: Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto and Mikel Janin (The Abyss: Old And New Enemies); Karl Kerschl (They Make Great Pets back-up story)
Colorists: Tomeu Morey (The Abyss: Old And New Enemies)
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After revealing he is now funding Batman Inc Lex Luthor says he personally sent Man-Of-Bats, El Gaucho, Bat-Man Of China, The Dark Ranger, and The Hood to go after Abyss. Before they can continue several police officers open fire on Batman, forcing him to escape.
Later Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor have a private dinner together. As Lex calls out Bruce’s loss of fortune and Dick Grayson’s recent move to use his own fortune Alfred Pennyworth left him for charity endeavors Bruce almost punches Lex in the face. Lex calms Bruce down by mentioning that he has Abyss’ body in a secure location if he wants to examine it.
Bruce quickly changes into his Batman costume and goes to where Abyss’ dead body is being moved by the police. Batman is able to steal the body and take it to a morgue.
When Batman opens the body bag a black substance comes out of the dead body that causes a blackout in the room. Knowing that he is in the room, Batman thanks Abyss for helping him prove Man-Of-Bats, El Gaucho, Bat-Man Of China, The Dark Ranger, and The Hood aren’t killers.
Abyss and Batman have a back and forth fight until Abyss is able to slash Batman’s stomach with his scythe. Abyss then leaves.
Detective Cayha enters the room to find Batman bleeding out. Batman then freaks out saying he only sees darkness as his eyes are shown to be completely black. End of main story.
The Good: The story around Abyss moves at a solid pace as the mystery of what is exactly going on is always at the top of your attention as the reader. Keeping the villain a major mystery is a big, and needed, change of pace for Batman after all the big events he has been involved in Gotham City the last few years.
That is where bringing back the Batman Inc. concept to take Batman global once again works so well. Joshua Williamson plays with the fact that Bruce Wayne is leaving his comfort zone of Gotham City and taking his skills as Batman to an unknown location to him. The pacing is well done to make sure that Bruce has to be on his toes at all times during Batman #119.
Which makes the inclusion of Lex Luthor as the new benefactor of Batman Inc so intriguing. So much has changed with their relationship and I’m glad that Williamson is going with Lex knowing that Bruce and Batman are one and the same. It changes the nature of their relationship to be completely different from what we’ve seen before. At the same time, Williamson uses Lex knowledge of Bruce and Batman being one and the same to just further drive home how he can be the biggest asshole in the DC Universe because of his fortune, power, and knowledge.
Bruce losing his cool with Lex also further the fact that he is not going into this Abyss mystery with his normal preparations. That is shown with how even when he does not fear Abyss once he learns the villain is actually alive Batman did not know how to fight him. Setting their fight in the complete dark also helped to put over how dangerous Abyss was as Williamson quickly builds up Abyss to be a major threat.
The artwork by the combined art team of Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto and Mikel Janin all worked to elevate the story. They played it smart in dividing the story so they each had their third of the issue to draw rather than going back and forth with their respective style. It allowed Molina, Benedetto, and Janin to adapt their styles enough to match one another so the flow of the main story in Batman #119 was broken up.
The back-up story by Karl Kerschl that brought Mia Mizoguchi back into the fold was a nice change of pace from the main story we got in Batman #119. Kerschl did not miss a beat with getting the tone that made Gotham Academy one of the stand out titles during the New 52 era. Mia is such a fun character that brings her own distinct energy that makes the interaction she has at a party with Bruce Wayne and later teams up with Batman in her Robin costume all work. By the end of the story I was left hoping this back-up story isn’t the last we see of Mia as she could work either as another Robin or supporting character in a title like Batgirls.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Batman #119 was a nice, solid second chapter that built on the mystery around the returning Batman Inc concept. The interaction between Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor along with the Batman vs Abyss fight certainly helped the main story keep the interest high in what happens next in this story arc. The back-up story with the returning Mia Mizoguchi from Gotham Academy series added further value to Batman #119.
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