BATMAN #136 Review

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Batman returns…to his regular Gotham, putting the multiverse madness of the previous six issues behind him. He’s catching up with what’s happening in his city, reuniting with Selina Kyle (seeing right through her disguise), busting in on The Penguin’s children, Addison and Aiden (who have ambitions as big as their father), and he continues to have a difficult time keeping Zur-En-Arrh at bay.

If you’ve been following along, I was a big fan of the last arc in the BATMAN title. Last month’s milestone issue was seemingly met with unanimous praise and ended in a way that hinted at more Zur-En-Arrh (as does the end of this issue). Writer Chip Zdarsky seems to be a big fan of that corner of Batman’s legacy and has me hesitant. While I know he’s a great writer, and he’s coming off an excellent arc, I’m just not a massive fan of ol’ Zur.

Aside from that angle, there was also some really good stuff in this issue. Zdarsky excels at some human moments for the Dark Knight, as he gets cleared for duty by Mr. Terrific, checks in and up on Robin, and as I said above, tracks down Selina Kyle. Their scene on the roof gives us a bigger glimpse into Bruce Wayne’s mindset. But there’s also some checking in on Batman as he keeps his eye on the mission, crashing in on the Cobblepots. However, either he’s not fully healed to take on criminals, or he’s underestimating the spawn of Oswald. Time will tell.

Art duties on this issue were from Belén Ortega, and she did a great job. While the action was clear and exciting, the smaller moments also drew you in and kept you invested. I can imagine it was a highlight to be assigned to draw the Batcave and the Manor, and she excelled at both. She brought the heat to a particular moment inside Wayne Manor that was shocking and catchy to the eye. I’m not sure if she is returning for further issues, but I won’t be mad if she does.

Overall, this is a solid issue. We settle back into the Gotham we know along with Batman, and see some snippets of what’s to come: Penguin spawns and Zur-En-Arrh. Strap in. – Ryan Lower

GRADE: B+