Review: Batman ’89 #4

“Shadows” – Chapter Four
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Sam Hamm
Artist: Joe Quinones
Color Artist: Leonardo Ito
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Carl Bryan
What are you gawking at……Pretty Boy?”
– Harvey Dent to his reflection in the mirror

In Batman ’89 #4, someone’s hot on Bruce Wayne’s heels, out to prove his connection to Batman once and for all! Meanwhile, Harvey Dent plans his next steps for Gotham with just the simple flip of a coin. What does he have in store for the city, and can Batman twist probability in his favor?

Issue #4 of this six-issue series doesn’t disappoint as you can almost hear Billy Dee Williams’ voice. Sam Hamm writes a great script and Joe Quinones takes the baton from Tim Burton’s films and raises it to new levels. Dent’s coming to terms with his current condition, and the mental imbalance is proving to be too much for his fiance Barbara Gordon.

Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face would’ve been simply great, and Sam Hamm and  Joe Quinones have struck pure comic gold by proving that in these pages. Add to this story a very clumsy portrayal of the Dark Knight, and his infatuation with Catwoman, and you have an interesting continuation of the Tim Burton Batman universe.

I love the perspective on race and how Jim Gordon’s constantly vigilant over what’s right and wrong. All along, he’s Gotham City’s moral thermometer, and this comic captures that perfectly, particularly in his handling of a march that should take place.

While this book takes place in 1989, it touches on issues that we still face in 2021. Race relations, equity, representation; all of these are underlying themes and they’re all pertinent. Kudos to Sam Hamm for weaving them in and making them a necessary part of the rich tapestry presented by this incarnation of Harvey Dent.

All the hype leading up to Batman ’89 #4 has prefaced the introduction of something comics have needed for decades. African-American Robin; so necessary and so natural, given the landscape of this book. Sigh, what I wouldn’t give to have a version of this film made now. However, this book has been a home run for both visiting the 1989 classic film, but also updating it in ways we’ve all been craving.

Is there more landscape to explore in this new/old cinematic Batman universe? It feels like there is, as some of the themes still resonate from 1989 to 2021. Do I want to see more? Absolutely, yes! The only negative is the cover numbers, as they are ticking down, and this is #4 of 6… sigh.

Conclusion

I already want the remaining issues! Sam Hamm and Joe Quinones hit all the right notes. Clayton Cowles letters like the pro he is and Leonardo Ito splashes that 80’s vibe across the pages that we’ve so wanted! We all drink in Catwoman’s appearances and in this issue it’s rare to see Batman. That’s the uniqueness of this type of storytelling because the films hid Batman until specific parts of the movie too. Quinones and company do the very same thing… and it works!

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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