BATMAN #131 Review

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“The Bat-Man of Gotham”

Last month’s issue of BATMAN closed the door on the “Failsafe” arc but opened a massive window in the direction this title was headed. While my major question was answered in this week’s issue, many more questions arose.

In short, Batman (at least what’s left of the Batsuit on Bruce Wayne), wakes up in an alley. It’s answered quickly that it’s Crime Alley, but this Gotham doesn’t seem familiar. Locations are off. Characters are different. There’s a skeleton with a mustache verbally answering his internal questions. It’s bizarre. Through a series of events, Bruce discovers the light has disappeared from Gotham because this version doesn’t have its savior, The Batman. And in this Gotham, Bruce Wayne is dead.

So where is he? We’ll have to keep reading.

Chip Zdarsky’s first arc in this title was a mixed bag for me. On one hand, the art and action were fantastic and kept me entertained. On the other, the story seemed like it was trying to outthink itself, resulting in some muddy aspects that didn’t come together as a whole. Here, he’s given us a really interesting premise. Thankfully, it wasn’t the route I thought it was going, so I’m already happy about that. Plus, that last arc was mostly a Batman arc, and I think this will be a Bruce arc. I’m cool with that. Because at Bruce’s core, he is Batman. Let’s see where he takes us.

To follow Jorge Jimenez is a daunting task, but Mike Hawthorne does a good job. That last story was big and bombastic, and this asked for a grounded, grittier approach. Hawthorne sells the few action scenes well and creates a good Gotham skyline. His characters give me an Andy Kubert vibe, and that’s also a plus.

The backup issue focused on Tim Drake, and how he’ll never give up in searching for Batman. It’s connected, builds out the main story, and was done quite well.

Overall, this is an interesting start to Zdarsky’s second arc in BATMAN. There are more questions than answers, but also a little bit of resolution.

Recommended. – Ryan Lower

GRADE: B+

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Representing the Midwest, Ryan has been a BOF fan since 2003, and started contributing to the site in 2017. He is the host of “The Batman Book Club” podcast. Ryan has written reviews for comics, animated movies and TV series. He has also appeared on BOF podcasts and Social Hours for Batman discussions, reviews, and interviews. Thanks to BOF, he was able to meet and have a one-on-one discussion with his favorite artist, Lee Bermejo. Follow him on Twitter @lower_ryan.