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Review: Batman #121

Batman #121

Batman’s European adventure comes to an end with Batman #121 that has Batman and Lex Luthor going up against Abyss and Batman, Inc. It’s a satisfying conclusion for a short arc that is entertaining though mostly forgettable (not meant as an insult). After such earthshattering arcs over the recent years, getting a somewhat standalone arc feels like a nice change and a bit more of the pop entertainment comics are associated with.

Written by Joshua Williamson, Batman #121 is full of action as Batman and Lex must face Abyss and his accomplices. We get an explanation of what’s going on and a lot of “just roll with it”. The explanation generally works but there’s absolutely some things that are glossed over, like Batman getting his sight back. None of it makes for a bad read and instead gives the finale a bit of a popcorn sense about it.

Where the comic, and the arc, stumbles mostly is its villain Abyss. There’s something there that’s really interesting and well worth exploring but the origin and what comes after feels a bit compacted and rushed. Abyss, and the revelation, creates a lot of directions for Batman and Batman Inc. to go in to and hopefully we get more from it all. But, Abyss and what’s revealed feels like a plot that’ll likely be forgotten for years until someone comes along and decides to play in that sandbox even further. There’s a lot of cool potential there.

The art looks good. Jorge Molina and Mikel Janín present the action in a style that feels more grounded like the story itself. There’s some great panels and moments but this is a look that has everything dialed back a bit. Tomeu Morey‘s colors and Clayton Cowles lettering are all solid. The comic overall looks really nice with some great panel layouts (the splash page with the Bat as panels is very cool).

Batman #121

The comic gets the final bit of its backup feature by Karl Kerschl with colors by Dave McCaig. Featuring Maps, everything is explained, sort of, with a nice conclusion. There’s a lot like the main story you just need to roll with but as a short story, it’s entertaining. Maps is definitely a character we need to see more of and this story makes that case.

Batman #121 is an entertaining issue and finale to an entertaining arc. It dialed things back after what feels like a decade of ever increasing threats. It feels quaint and grounded in a way but also makes things bit boring because of that. It’s driving 30 after going 100 for a while. But, it’s exactly what’s needed before the next big storyline, “Shadow War.”

Story: Joshua Williamson, Karl Kerschl Art: Jorge Molina, Mikel Janín, Karl Kerschl
Color: Tomeu Morey, Dave McCaig Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Karl Kerschl
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comixology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Batman #121

Batman #121

Written by: Karl Kerschl, Joshua Williamson
Art by: Mikel Janin, Karl Kerschl, Jorge Molina

The deadly conclusion to the “Abyss” arc as Lex Luthor’s dangerous master plan for Batman Inc. is revealed. And an old ally returns to pull the lost Batman out of Abyss’s darkness and a new member of Batman Inc. rises! In the final chapter of “They Make Great Pets,” Maps finds the missing piece to the shocking and deadly mystery…with a little help from Batman!

Batman #121

Daniel Johnston covers Batman #121

An upcoming issue of DC’s Batman comic book series, Batman #121, will feature three limited-edition variant covers featuring original pieces of art by the late singer-songwriter and visual artist Daniel Johnston. The comics will be released by the award-winning comics retailer Austin Books & Comics on March 1 and sold in cooperation with the world-famous Electric Lady Studios and The Contemporary Austin.

Johnston, whose cult status earned him early, outspoken support from the likes of Matt Groening, Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth, and David Bowie, was the subject of the acclaimed 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston. The first ever museum retrospective of the artist’s work, Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams, is on view at The Contemporary Austin in Texas through March 20.

Daniel Johnston’s art and music have featured globally in films, commercials, museums, and galleries, but it’s in Austin, Texas where he has become most ingrained in local culture. It is, after all, the city where in 1985 he excitedly shoved himself in front of MTV’s cameras to gain a national audience and where today his drawings and music displaying heroic victory and quiet heartache are proudly on display at the downtown art museum, The Contemporary Austin.

The exhibition’s curator, Robin K. Williams, noticed a letter Johnston had written in the 1990s or 2000s addressed to his friend Marie Javins, now Editor-in-Chief at DC, requesting her help getting his artwork into comics.

Electric Lady Studios, which manages the Daniel Johnston art catalog on behalf of Johnston’s surviving family, selected the images to be used for the variant covers.

Batman #121 with the Daniel Johnston covers will be available for preorder on February 14. Limited quantities of the trade-dressed Johnston cover featuring Batman will be sold individually while sets of all three covers, featuring Batman, Superman, and DC’s New God Orion, will be packaged in unique folios and sold in limited quantities at The Austin ContemporaryElectric Lady StudiosAustin Books & Comics, and hihowareyou.com. Each partner will have an exclusive colorway for the folio.

On Wednesday, March 9 at 5:30pm, The Contemporary Austin will host a launch event with DC’s Editor-in-Chief Marie Javins in conversation with Curator Robin K. Williams. The Contemporary’s colorway set of Batman #121 with the Johnston variant covers will be available on site. Tickets and information will be available soon.

Austin Books & Comics has served the Central Texas comic book fandom since 1977. It was not by coincidence that Daniel frequented the store for many years, trading his own original artwork as currency for comics. The store, in turn, sold the artwork to local fans, making them one of the earliest supporters of Daniel’s visual works. Though those pieces have long since found their way into private collections, Austin Books & Comics has since featured comics, prints, and even T-shirts showcasing Johnston’s artwork.

Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams at The Contemporary Austin offers visitors a window into Johnston’s elaborate iconography, including an idiosyncratic cast of characters and symbols engaged in a perpetual struggle between good and evil. The exhibition includes more than two hundred drawings along with handmade fliers, home-recorded cassette tapes with hand-drawn covers, photographs, notebook pages, Super 8 mm home movies, archival video and audio, and Johnston’s vintage white piano. Visitors witness the evolution of Johnston’s work over four decades, from early drawings on the backs of his homework assignments to works created in 2018.

Batman #121, by Joshua Williamson, Jorge Molina, Mikel Janín, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles, including a backup story by Karl Kerschl and Dave McCaig, is available in comic shops everywhere on March 1.

Review: Batman #120

Batman #120

Since the recent arc launched, Batman has gotten back to basics. Gone are some of the over-the-top epic stories that span dozens of issues. Instead, we have a more grounded take where the stakes are lower and the story feels a bit more intimate in ways. Batman #120 keeps things rather focused as Batman has lost his eyesight and we get more hints about the deadly villain Abyss.

Writer Joshua Williamson has delivered a solid take on Batman so far. The character feels much more like the street level hero he is as opposed to the multiverse spanning superhero that can take on gods. Broke and now blind, this is a Batman where you can feel the frustration as he attempts to figure out his next steps and deal with his current situation.

Williamson has done a fantastic job of grounded the character. After years of ever escalating stories, there’s a back to basics aspect to this storyline. There’s also a brilliance about it as it goes back to storylines long forgotten and put to the side.

What Wiliamson absolutely nails is the emotions of the story. There’s a frustration exuding from Batman as he doesn’t have the tools he once did, this new villain is a tough one, and he must dealt with Lex Luthor who has taken over Batman Inc. A lot of that emotion is conveyed through the art.

Jorge Molina and Mikel Janín handle that along with Tomeu Morey on color and Clayton Cowles on lettering. The art nails the body language of Batman. His frustration can be felt in how he slumps a little or the way he places his head. It all comes together for visuals that drive home what Batman is thinking and experiencing. There’s also a darkness to it all that fits so well for the villain Abyss but doesn’t overwhelm the series.

Karl Kerschl and Dave McCaig continue to deliver an interesting back-up story featuring Maps. The adventure is interesting and has a dark tone about it that fits the main story well. It feels like a bonus that adds to an already solid comic to start.

Batman #120 is another issue that just nails down the fundamentals of this character so well. It also delivers some nice twists and turns building to that last page reveal. While a lot of the comics’ reveals aren’t surprising, they still nail the moment in their delivery. To do that when it’s expected is impressive. For those who might have been turned off by Batman’s recent escalation of events in recent years, now is a time to give this series a new look.

Story: Joshua Williamson, Karl Kerschl Art: Jorge Molina, Mikel Janín, Karl Kerschl
Color: Tomeu Morey, Dave McCaig Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Karl Kerschl
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Batman #120

Batman #120

Written by: Karl Kerschl, Joshua Williamson
Art by: Karl Kerschl, Jorge Molina, Mikel Janin

“Abyss” part three! The new Batman Inc.’s heinous crimes have landed them in a high-security prison. Batman believes the only way to help his old allies is to break them out…but they don’t want his help! Meanwhile, Batman Inc.’s mysterious benefactor uses the chaos to enact their plans, but finds themselves lost in the dark against Abyss!

Backup: The mysterious disappearances being investigated by Maps and Batman take a violent turn… Could this missing persons case be something much darker?

Batman #120

Preview: Batman #120

Batman #120

Written by: Karl Kerschl, Joshua Williamson
Art by: Karl Kerschl, Jorge Molina, Mikel Janin

“Abyss” part three! The new Batman Inc.’s heinous crimes have landed them in a high-security prison. Batman believes the only way to help his old allies is to break them out…but they don’t want his help! Meanwhile, Batman Inc.’s mysterious benefactor uses the chaos to enact their plans, but finds themselves lost in the dark against Abyss!

Backup: The mysterious disappearances being investigated by Maps and Batman take a violent turn… Could this missing persons case be something much darker?

Batman #120

Review: Batman #119

Batman #119

After the impressive event “Fear State”, I’ve been intrigued to see where Batman would go. The event gave us new villains and an epic feel that had the present and future Gotham in mind. Batman #119 continues the new direction for the series that feels much more grounded befitting the character’s current status-quo.

Batman Inc. is surprisingly still in business with a new bonus, Lex Luthor. Members of the organization have been accused of killing a villain and it’s up to Batman to figure out what has happened.

Writer Joshua Williamson has grounded Batman #119 in a fantastic way. He’s taken out of the larger than life setting that is Gotham. Instead, this new direction has the character back to basics in some ways. He doesn’t have his great toys and we’re reminded he doesn’t have his money. With Luthor knowing Batman’s alter-ego, the issue gets more interesting as the two dance around each other both in and out of costume.

Williamson delivers a hell of a moment where Bruce and Luthor meet for food. The moves and choices of Lex are interesting and can be dissected as to the meaning of each. Every word, every action, feels like Williamson has thought through how this might really play out. This doesn’t feel as much a superhero comic as two individuals sparring verbally and over food. Lex’s actions are a consistent reminder of what Bruce has lost, his fortune. The words are chosen in such a way as to make sure to get a reaction from Bruce. It’s a beautiful dance.

There’s also a lot of action and that’s delivered by Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto, and Mikel Janín. Along with color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic looks great. It balances that verbal sparring with solid physical moments and action. There’s something about the look, along with the story, that feels a bit retro in a way, a bit conservative. And that’s not a bad thing. The art dials things back in a way focusing in on very specific moments and purposely hiding others to deliver surprises and shock.

Batman #119 is a solid issue that dials things back and gives us something that feels much more like a detective story. It also makes sure to remind us that this is a Batman who is generally stripped of his greatest tool, his wealth. With a nice mix of action, verbal sparring, and an intriguing villain, this continues an intriguing direction.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto, Mikel Janín
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Batman #119

Batman #119

(W) Karl Kerschl, Joshua Williamson (A) Jorge Molina, Karl Kerschl
In Shops: Jan 05, 2022
SRP: $4.99

“Abyss” part two! For years Batman used the darkness as a weapon, but now a new enemy turns that darkness against him! Batman must team with Batman Inc.’s mysterious new benefactor to bring the deadly Abyss into the light! Wait…who is Batman Inc.’s new benefactor?

Meanwhile, Mia “Maps” Mizoguchi must play detective when a classmate goes missing… Even with Batman’s help, can this dynamic duo solve this mystery?

Batman #119

Preview: Batman #119

Batman #119

(W) Karl Kerschl, Joshua Williamson (A) Jorge Molina, Karl Kerschl
In Shops: Jan 05, 2022
SRP: $4.99

“Abyss” part two! For years Batman used the darkness as a weapon, but now a new enemy turns that darkness against him! Batman must team with Batman Inc.’s mysterious new benefactor to bring the deadly Abyss into the light! Wait…who is Batman Inc.’s new benefactor?

Meanwhile, Mia “Maps” Mizoguchi must play detective when a classmate goes missing… Even with Batman’s help, can this dynamic duo solve this mystery?

Batman #119

Preview: Batman #118

Batman #118

Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Jorge Molina

New creative team! Start of a new story arc as Batman leaves Gotham! “Abyss” part one! As Gotham celebrates surviving Fear State, Batman retreats alone into the darkness. But when he learns of a mystery involving Batman Inc., it forces the Caped Crusader to leave Gotham for a brand-new adventure! Thrills, chills, and international intrigue await! The Dark Knight begins a new story with superstar artist Jorge Molina and new writer Joshua Williamson!

Batman #118
Zeismic
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