The Batman world has recently been turned upside down by new revelations about the Designer, a foe that up until now Batman had never even known of. In Batman #90 we not only learn more about the Designer's past interactions with the villains of Gotham, but we also learn what it is Designer brings to the table, and while it's not a power of lightning or superhuman strength, it is potent none the less and will have some big ramifications on Batman and the city itself. Obviously spoilers incoming for Batman #90, so if you haven't read the issue yet you've been warned. If we're all good to go now, here's what the Designer can actually do.
Batman #90 has Catwoman breaking down her meeting with the Designer, which she had alongside the Penguin, Joker, and the Riddler. As we learn, Designer doesn't have a traditional power per se, as his ability is actually like his name describes. Designer has expertise in planning crimes, but not just any crimes, as his crimes leap the person he's consulting so much further forward that anyone trying to stop them will not be able to catch up, as they have not evolved as far as the villain committing the crime.
This all stems from his own fight with a detective, who he kept getting foiled by. He realized that if he just applied what he learned from their previous encounter, the detective would then evolve and find a way to stop him, creating an endless cycle. If he could leap so far ahead in his planning, strategy, and goals however, the detective would not be able to catch up, thus ending the cycle for good.
That's exactly what happened after he spent a year leaping forward in his next crime, and the detective was humiliated and broken. This is what he teaches the other villains, including Catwoman, taking her from stage one or two and working with her to evolve it into something that might have been the biggest heist in the history of the planet.
"Imagine if one day I went from stealing a large ruby from a museum to stealing the wealth of one of the largest companies on the planet," Catwoman said. "With no middle step. No hint of the leap. You would never have seen it coming, and you wouldn't have been able to stop me. And I felt so powerful, in that moment, it was like the money was already mine."
"Penguin and Riddler were the same," Catwoman continued. "They came out of their sessions with a glow on their faces ass they described pieces of their crimes. Penguin describing a shell game of assassins that would end with him in the mayor's office. Riddler describing a kind of technological labyrinth that would cripple law enforcement in the city..."
Now the Joker was a different story, but that is for another time.
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