Batman ’89 (2021) #5

Batman 895

Until this issue, Batman ’89 has been so light on Commissioner Gordon you’d think Pat Hingle’s estate wasn’t letting them use likeness. But he’s got a big part this issue, only for him to come off like a complete asshole. Potentially one who doesn’t like daughter Barbara dating a Black guy but lies to her face about it. There’s only an issue left, so presumably, they’ll be able to rush through it.

In addition to Catwoman’s new costume with the exposed thighs, the most unfilmable part of the comic is Gordon. There are multiple reasons Pat Hingle couldn’t do this part, including the acting required.

Anyway.

This issue has Billy Dee Williams in full “Harvey Two-Face” mode now, flipping the coin to decide various fates. Writer Sam Hamm does a nice job of introducing and executing his first Bat-villain heist—though it does seem very second act and not penultimate issue stuff. Hamm and artist Joe Quinones have a lot of fun with the planning stages, which has Two-Face bringing back the Joker gang and talking through how a supervillain’s goon gang works. In addition, there are some excellent visual nods to Batman 1989 and a fun Dark Knight Returns “cameo.”

The comic’s main plot is Two-Face’s heist planning, with Batman training Robin as one subplot and Barbara Gordon pursuing Harvey as another. Catwoman’s just thrown in—not sure how they would’ve convinced Michelle Pfeiffer to show up for such a small part, but she’s got the most personality in just a couple panels. Hamm’s Selina Kyle is gloriously peculiar. Silly exposed thigh costume or not.

The Robin-in-training sequences are good, with solid banter. You can hear Michael Keaton delivering the lines. Outside Commissioner Gordon’s dialogue, which also has him being drunk and fun at one point, Hamm does a fine job writing for the “cast.”

With only one issue to go, this one’s a little “too late, too much,” with Hamm and Quinones racing and packing, but it’s much better than expected. There’s some nice art from Quinones throughout, and the Batman and Robin banter is a delight, even though there’s not enough of it.

I’m assuming the next issue won’t bungle things too badly, and I hope they get another outing. Though maybe more than six issues; Hamm’s plotting obviously doesn’t work for six.