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Batman #133 teases a lot

Batman #133

Everyone goes insane eventually. And then they belong to the terrifying Red Mask! Batman #133 continues “The Bat-Man of Gotham” as Bruce begins to wage his battle against this city gone mad in a new spin on Batman.

Overall, I haven’t been much of a fan of this storyline. In the main attraction, Bruce is in this alternate world where Gotham is controlled by Red Mask. Then, in the back-up, Tim is searching for Batman attempting to bring him home.

Together, the two stories work and work well, but writer Chip Zdarsky overall delivers a story that feels like we’ve seen over and over. All that changes are the details. Here, the hints of who the Red Mask might be is the most intriguing aspect of it all, as we see the character use some powers against Selina which tied to what Bruce discovers as he exhumes a body, teases the villain’s identity.

And, as I said, that’s the most interesting aspect. Bruce debuts as this world’s Batman and is given some help to stop Red Mask, but overall, the comic feels like it’s a video game tie-in more than the main Batman title. It doesn’t feel like anything particularly new or different. Give us a peaceful world where Batman isn’t needed and let us watch Bruce lose his mind, that’s something that’s new and hasn’t been done before.

The art by Mike Hawthorne is good. The action is fine but the color by Tomeu Morey pops in certain moments. Hawthorne is joined by Adriano Di Benedetto on ink and lettering by Clayton Cowles and the detail and design of the world is more interesting than anything else. Batman’s makeshift costume, the buildings of Gotham, the story they tell stands out more than the paces Bruce and Batman are put through. There’s almost a tiredness about it all, a city and reality that wears on the people living it.

Zdarsky also gives us the attempt to get Bruce back in the third part of “The Toy Box.” Miguel Mendonca provides the art with Roman Stevens on color and Cowles on lettering. Overall, the story is ok. It’s a little rushed as Tim Drake is in the world of Toyman attempting to not just capture the villain but also rescue the individuals kidnapped by him. It’s a quest as opposed to a story, delivering scant details, though it’d all be worth to expand it further as it’s actually interesting and somewhat horrific.

Batman #133 has solidified my thoughts on this arc, the main story and back-up are flipped. The comic should feature Tim and Jon Kent’s attempt to find and rescue Bruce as the main draw. A story of a “rescue” of Bruce from an actual ideal world could have been a bit more interesting than Bruce again finding he needs to don the cowl in an alternate world to dispense justice. Overall, an entertaining, though overall ho-hum arc so far.

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Mike Hawthorne, Miguel Mendonca
Ink: Adriano Di Benedetto Color: Tomeu Morey, Roman Stevens Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Batman #132 continues Bruce’s “what if” adventure

Batman #132

Batman #131 kicked off the latest story arc where Bruce/Batman was transported to another Earth and Gotham where Batman doesn’t exist. The city is walled off, a fascist nightmare where the police are jacked up on Venom and Arkham Asylum seems to run the place. Batman #132 continues that direction as Bruce attempts to get his bearings, get home, and overall decide what to do. It’s that last part that feels a bit odd overall in an arc that so far is rather meh.

Written by Chip Zdarsky, Batman #132 delivers an interesting Gotham where the entire city feels like it’s part of Arkham in some ways. The most minor infraction will have you picked up by the police who themselves are juiced up and out of their minds. That concept of the entire city corrupted in this way is an interesting direction in theme, it extends and literally builds walls around the main Gotham which can be debated has similar problems. This alternative Gotham is the one we know on Venom. And that’s partially what’s odd about the issue and arc. Bruce is having a lot of issues getting his bearings and in some cases stepped in to right wrongs but this issue feels like a drawn out “origin”. By the end it’s clear before he leaves Bruce will don a mask as this world’s version of Batman and attempt to topple those who oppress. But, that means he made a decision and isn’t driven by justice like it feels like he should be. Why was there even a moment of decision here at all? It just doesn’t feel quite in character for him to see this injustice and just want to peace out and get home without helping first.

The issue also falls into a “villain reveal” issue as it progresses. More and more familiar characters are added with little explanation as to why they have shown up, making the cameos feel a little odd and jarring. They feel thrown in for the hell of it as opposed to really driving the story. It’s a distraction that’s not needed to drive the story.

The art by Mike Hawthorne is good. Joined by Adriano Di Benedeotto on ink, color by Tomeu Morey, and lettering by Clayton Cowles the world feels like a twisted version of the Gotham we know. It’s not so over the top to feel distracting, instead the team has gone with one that feels like it’s out of a bad dream. Slightly different, slightly horrific. The anticipation really is what this world’s Batman will look like and based on what Hawthorne and the team have shown so far, the designs for all of the heroes to come should be intriguing.

The issue continues its backup story as Robin and Superman (the Jon version) attempt to find Bruce. This has them dealing with Toyman whose weapon may be a key to finding where Bruce was sent. It’s all an interesting aspect to the main story and its strength is its heart. Written by Zdarsky with art by Miguel Mendonca, color by Roman Stevens, and lettering by Cowles, it’s Tim Drake’s quieter moments with his boyfriend that stand out.

Batman #132 isn’t a bad issue and the arc so far is ok. It feels a bit like a filler arc until the next big story. There’s a lot here that could be interesting but it doesn’t totally commit to its underlying themes that would make it truly stand out. Hopefully, this is one whose whole is stronger than its individual parts.

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Mike Hawthorne, Miguel Mendonca
Ink: Adriano Di Benedetto Color: Tomeu Morey, Roman Stevens Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Batman #131 is fun but we’ve seen this before

Batman #131

At the end of “Failsafe”, Batman was seemingly blasted into the unknown. Batman #131 kicks off the next arc, “The Bat-Man of Gotham” that takes us on the journey of where Batman is, unfortunately it’s a story it feels like we’ve seen before.

Now on an alternate world where Batman doesn’t seem to exist, Bruce/Batman is seeing a skeleton version of Gordon while he attempts to get his bearings. This Gotham is one that seems to have the heavy hand of justice with police that have no problem acting as executioner. Everyone seems to be scared and few seem to be willing to stand up to fight the fascist police. But, where there’s injustice Batman will rise and he does exactly that here.

Writer Chip Zdarsky seems to channel a few Batman stories with this new arc. It partially feels like “Future State” mixed in with “The Return of Bruce Wayne”. And so far, it hasn’t presented too much that stands out from either. The police of this world are tough as nails, juiced up on Venom making them difficult to defeat.

In the DC universe, no Batman means greater crime which forces Batman’s team to step up and fill in the gap. Of course there’s discussion that they truly don’t believe he’s dead… and it feels like something we’ve seen before multiple times. All that’s missing is for one of Team Bat to put on the Batman costume and take up the mantle.

The main story features art by Mike Hawthorne with ink by Adriano Di Benedetto and color by Tomeu Morey. The alternate Gotham is interesting with slight tweaks to make it stand out. The redesigned police force is interesting with an almost religious fanatic aspect about it. But, even that reminds me of the comic turned movie Priest. There’s some good action sequences and Bruce looks like he’s sore and beat down, it really sets the tone and mood of the opening arc.

The backup story features Miguel Mendoca with color by Roman Stevens and lettering by Dave Wielgosz. It looks good with some solid action and emotion flowing. There’s clear anger and frustration from Team Bat as they not only have to fight but also deal with a missing Bruce. It’s a nice contrast from the opening portion of the comic.

Batman #131 is a decent opening to the second arc in Zdarsky’s run. But, it feels like it’s something we’ve seen before. It really needs to show how it’s original and can stand out from what has come before. Overall, not bad but also nothing that really excites.

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Mike Hawthorne, Miguel Mendoca
Ink: Adriano Di Benedetto Color: Tomeu Morey, Roman Stevens

Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Dave Wielgosz
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Review: Batman #125

Batman #125

After a bit of a transition run, the next chapter of Bruce Wayne and Batman’s life begins here, in Batman #125. With a new creative team, the comic is a “fresh” start that creates a jumping on point for new readers while continuing the status-quo and themes from the recent runs.

Chip Zdarsky takes over as the writer for the series focusing on the unsettled status that is Bruce Wayne and Batman. After the end of the previous “major arc”, Bruce has lost his fortune forcing him to go back to basics as Batman and dial back his lifestyle. The playboy façade for the vigilante doesn’t work anymore and in his place is an aging, worn down man who is trying to find his new footing.

Zdarsky kicks things off with an attack on the wealthy of Gotham. Someone is targeting them due to their “elite” status, leaving bodies in their wake. All of that comes off as rather shallow in the execution but it sets off a nice examination as to who Bruce Wayne and Batman are. What is the man without his wealth and what is his relationship to that community?

Zdarsky also uses it to shake up Gotham’s status-quo even further killing off a legacy character which creates a gap in leadership and kicks off a gang war. That’s explored further in a back-up story also written by Zdarsky.

The art by Jorge Jimenez for the main story is fantastic. With color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles there’s a very dramatic flair to the visuals. It comes off almost as swashbuckling at times, much more Zorro than the high-tech Batman we’ve seen in the past. There’s some fantastic panels in the comic which really drive home the moment delivering memorable visuals that drive home the point and the story. The art for the back-up is by Belén Ortega with color by Luis Guerrero and lettering by Cowles. It delivers a bit more of a traditional style with some great design and a bit of action. Where the art, and story, really stand out is the more comedic moments involving a lawyer robot. It works and works well.

Batman #125 is a decent start to the new creative team’s take. It lays it out that things aren’t “normal” in Batman’s world and something is “off”. But, what? It embraces what has happened to Bruce/Batman and focuses on a person who has been beaten down. At the same time, there’s been a major shakeup involving a villain that points to some major revelations and changes. It all comes together for a rather intriguing start and a solid beginning for new and longtime readers.

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Jorge Jimenez, Belén Ortega
Color: Tomeu Morey, Luis Guerrero Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

It’s One Bad Day for Batman

Batman’s rogues gallery is getting the spotlight in a series of 64-page one-shot comics. Dubbed Batman – One Bad Day, they’ll tell the definitive tales of The Riddler, Two-Face, The Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, Bane, Clayface, and Ra’s al Ghul!

Batman – One Bad Day: The Riddler

by Tom King & Mitch Gerads

Tom King and Mitch Gerads reunite in a new 64-page one-shot comic this August! Edward Nygma’s meticulous rules and systems go out the window when he kills seemingly at random, but Batman isn’t buying it! This tense intellectual thriller sees Batman unravel as he tries to decode the Riddler’s motivation!

Batman - One Bad Day: The Riddler

Batman – One Bad Day: Two-Face

by Mariko Tamaki, Javier Fernandez & Jordie Bellaire

Heads or Tails, when it comes to Two-Face Batman always loses! Is Harvey Dent back to save Gotham City? In a new 64-page one-shot comic this September, Mariko Tamaki and Javier Fernandez’s tragic noir Two-Face epic will flip that iconic coin…on its head?!

Batman - One Bad Day: Two-Face

Batman – One Bad Day: The Penguin

by John Ridley, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith & Arif Prianto

When the Penguin’s criminal empire is stolen by a former associate, Batman faces both Cobblepot and THE UMBRELLA MAN on the burning streets of Gotham! John Ridley and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s ONE BAD DAY one-shot arrives this October!

Batman - One Bad Day: The Penguin

Batman – One Bad Day: Mr. Freeze

by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Scalera & Dave Stewart

Save your sympathies, Batman and Robin! Years ago, Gotham City experienced a winter so icy that Mr. Freeze could live without his containment suit! Gerry Duggan and Matteo Scalera deliver a cold new take on Mr. Freeze this November!

Batman - One Bad Day: Mr. Freeze

Batman – One Bad Day: Catwoman

by G. Willow Wilson, Jamie McKelvie & Tamra Bonvillain

A brooch Selina Kyle’s mother once pawned for pennies is now part of a high-bid auction! The stakes are personal, and Catwoman will steal it back at any cost this December in G. Willow Wilson and Jamie McKelvie’s ONE BAD DAY one-shot!

Batman - One Bad Day: Catwoman

Batman – One Bad Day: Bane

by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter & Tomeu Morey

The man who broke the Bat returns for the last vengeance of Bane! See Bane’s mind, body and spirit get ravaged in a ONE BAD DAY one-shot by Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter in January 2023!

Batman - One Bad Day: Bane

Batman – One Bad Day: Clayface

by Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing, Xermanico & Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Clayface’s dream was to be famous, but Gotham’s stars don’t always shine bright! Batman chases Basil Karlo to L.A. where Clayface is killing his way to fame in Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing and Xermanico’s ONE BAD DAY February one-shot!

Batman - One Bad Day: Clayface

Batman – One Bad Day: Ra’s al Ghul

by Tom Taylor & Ivan Reis

Finally, capping off the run of one-shot issues is Tom Taylor and Ivan Reis on Ra’s al Ghul’s ONE BAD DAY story in March! You know his name, the Bat will know his wrath!

Batman - One Bad Day: Ra’s al Ghul

Preview: Batman: The Knight Compendium Edition

Batman: The Knight Compendium Edition

(W) Chip Zdarsky (A) Carmine Di Giandomenico, Jorge Jiménez
In Shops: May 10, 2022
SRP: $7.99

Featuring a new cardstock cover by series artist Di Giandomenico, Batman: The Knight – Compendium Edition combines issues #1 – #3 of the series, but also includes a special bonus: a preview of part one of “Failsafe,” Zdarsky’s debut story arc in Batman #125 (on sale July 7). The preview also spotlights the return of superstar artist Jorge Jiménez and colorist Tomeu Morey, joining Zdarsky as the ongoing talent team for the series.

Batman: The Knight Compendium Edition

DC Celebrates 125 Issues with Batman with Variant Covers, a New Creative Team, and New Story Arc

To celebrate the debut of fan-favorite writer Chip Zdarsky and the return of artists Jorge Jiménez and Tomeu Morey, DC has revealed an incredible selection of covers for their debut issue, Batman #125, on sale July 5.

Featuring a main wraparound cover by series artist Jiménez, these variant covers are rendered by some of the most celebrated and dynamic artists in comics, including:

  • Open to buy variant cover by DC Publishing and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee
  • Open to buy variant cover by InHyuk Lee
  • Open to buy variant cover by Gabriele Dell’Otto
  • An acetone variant cover by Simone di Meo
  • A 1 in 25 black and white variant of the main cover by Jorge Jimenez
  • A 1 in 50 variant cover by JOCK
  • A 1 in 125 foil variant cover by Alex Garner
  • A 1 in 250 variant cover by series writer Chip Zdarsky
  • A 1 in 500 black and white variant cover of Jim Lee’s open to buy variant

Zdarsky, Jiménez, and Morey take The Dark Knight into uncharted waters this summer with their debut story arc, “Failsafe.”  Bruce Wayne is at a turning point, haunted by dreams of a dark future, while Gotham City billionaires are being gruesomely murdered. With the discovery of an archenemy’s involvement and a tragedy unfolding, the Dark Knight’s nightmares are just beginning. Batman has a plan for everything, but can even he plan for the horror that is Failsafe?

And in the backup story, there’s chaos in Gotham as the underworld fights over one of its crown jewels…and Selina Kyle is caught in the middle. Can she stop the bloodshed and maybe even make a little money in the process?

Batman: The Knight – Compendium Edition Collects the First Three Issues and Teases Batman #125

Batman: The Knight, Chip Zdarsky and Carmine Di Giandomenico’s unique take on an orphaned Bruce Wayne’s path to becoming Gotham City’s guardian, has released to incredible critical and sales acclaim, with March’s issue #3 selling out completely.

Now, all three issues are heading back to press as DC announced plans to publish Batman: The Knight – Compendium Edition. This 96-page, $7.99 comic book arrives is available for pre-order now and arrives in stores and on participating digital platforms on Tuesday, May 10.

Featuring a new cardstock cover by series artist Di Giandomenico, Batman: The Knight – Compendium Edition combines issues #1 – #3 of the series, but also includes a special bonus: a preview of part one of “Failsafe,” Zdarsky’s debut story arc in Batman #125 (on sale July 7). The preview also spotlights the return of superstar artist Jorge Jiménez and colorist Tomeu Morey, joining Zdarsky as the ongoing talent team for the series.

Batman: The Knight – Compendium Edition

Review: Batman #122

Batman #122

With a new creative team coming in a few months, Batman is at an interesting point. After an opening story arc that got the character out of Gotham for a bit, he’s back in the US and roped into “Shadow War“, the event that pits Deathstroke against the League of Assassins. Ra’s has been murdered and it looks like Deathstroke is the assassin. It’s a clash of titan villains as war has begun. Batman #122 is the second entry in the event that has Batman attempting to figure out the who, what, and why of it all as the upcoming clash promises to escalate.

Joshua Williamson delivers a good entry to the story that has Batman being a detective. He’s been pulled into the assassination to figure out who did it and why and uses his cool tech tools in an attempt to do so. For a character that has gone low-tech in previous issues as he’s lost his fortune, the use of these particular tools stand out as they feel a little beyond is current means and a bit like the “old” Batman with the bottomless fortune and unlimited R&D. Beyond that, it’s a good entry in the event. For those that missed the opening issue for “Shadow War”, Batman #122 does a good job of catching up readers as to what’s going on and what it all means. It also moves around the various puzzle pieces as battles play out. It moves the story along really well.

Howard Porter handles the art with Tomeu Morey‘s color and lettering by Clayton Cowles. The art is good though at times doesn’t quite feel like it totally fits Batman. I’ve loved Porter’s work elsewhere as it has a certain kinetic style that really fits characters that involve a lot of movement and action. Here, with a character being more of a detective, it doesn’t quite fit those particular scenes. But, it does work for fights throughout. It’s an interesting style that I generally like but not all the way here.

The issue also features a back-up story from Williamson, art by Trevor Hairsine, color by Rain Beredo, and lettering by Willie Schubert. The story is supposed to be the first meeting between Batman and Deathstroke. Deathstroke is hired to kill Robin which of course leads to a clash between the two. I don’t know the history enough of these two to really nail it all down for continuity but the comic has a nice retro feel to it all. There’s also an intriguing twist at the end where I want to read the next chapter and see where it goes.

There’s nothing inherently bad or wrong about Batman #122 that makes it a “read”. The comic is part of a mini-event that spans different series, so unless you’re really invested in the story, it’s an issue whose value really comes from that. There’s some interesting aspects to Batman’s actions but overall, unless you’re into “Shadow War”, this is an issue you can probably skip.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Howard Porter, Trevor Hairsine
Color: Tomeu Morey, Rain Beredo Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Willie Schubert
Story: 7.85 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus Comics

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

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