The Joker War ended. Joker fled to who knows where and Batman rules the rooftops once more. One simple question remains – who actually won? To be honest Joker did, and Batman begins to realize this in Batman 101. The Joker never builds his schemes on money or terror or even killing. All those help to be sure, but the Joker evolves schemes that fundamentally change or challenge the status quo. From that thinking Joker most definitely won.

Batman 101 does what most of the post-Joker War comics will do – reflect and contemplate. Nightwing 75, out this week, does this and Batgirl’s final issue will do the same when it releases. Batman reflects and assesses the current situation he and Gotham find themselves. Gotham and Batman no longer have Commissioner Gordon to rely on. Hell they don’t even have Harvey Bullock as far as we know, since Harv threw down his gun and badge to do the right thing. Things need to change, but who can Batman talk too?

I think the biggest thing I love about this issue comes from Batman’s need to talk. Even Batman needs support, but Alfred is gone now. The one person who always told Batman the truth regardless of the consequences can no longer guide and help him. Batman 101 instead uses the second greatest sounding board in Batman’s life – Catwoman. While the whole Batman/Catwoman love thing needs to be addressed, she truly is Bruce’s closest confidant now. She knows Bruce and does not hesitate to tell him what she thinks.

Batman 101 – Setting the Future

Because of Joker’s actions, Bruce Wayne and Batman can no longer coexist. Bruce and Wayne Enterprises will be watched far too closely for Bruce to use Wayne-tech as his Batman slush fund, so who can Bruce turn too? Lucius Fox. Unfortunately, while the physical scars are nearly gone, Lucius still suffers mentally from the trauma of the Joker gas. Batman and Lucius discuss the future and the plan they both agree on will severely change Batman and Bruce Wayne.

Batman spells this future out to Catwoman once more. It will be intriguing to see how all these changes he makes work out. While a new suit never comes up, I would bet a change may be in order there too. So what of Catwoman and Batman? One Year. In one year they will revisit the idea of being together, but until then Batman needs to focus on Gotham. It will be very interesting if this one year gap plays into the Tom King Batman/Catwoman series that launches Dec 1.