“Failsafe” – Part One
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Jorge Jimenez & Belen Ortega
Color Artists: Tomeu Morey & Luis Guerrero
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Max Byrne
Batman #125 marks the start of a new era for the Dark Knight, with Chip Zdarsky making his much-anticipated debut on the title. Following on from the acclaimed Joshua Williamson “Shadow War“ era was always going to be a tall order for any writer, but it’s safe to say that Zdarsky has hit the ground running… and then some.
To say this issue is action-packed would be a huge understatement. Zdarsky wastes no time in getting the show on the road, giving one the impression that his interpretation of the Dark Knight is going to be one that’s very much a physical being; a man of action with no qualms about wading into violent situations.
Working in tandem with the masterful art of Jorge Jimenez, the action sequences in this issue are a sight to behold. Every blow, every explosion, and every skillful move is accompanied by an onomatopoeic swathe across the panel that enhances the visceral impact perfectly.
A More Pensive Batman
Make no mistake though, this is no mere slugfest. There are moments of introspection and poignancy that showcase Zdarsky’s deftness of touch too. Here we see a pensive, heavily scarred Bruce Wayne as he attempts to re-connect with Selina Kyle at the start of the issue, in a scene that’s as heartbreaking as it is tender.
The weight of 80 years of history between these two characters is heavily felt here, as the reader gets the sense that there will/can never be the truly happy ending between these two characters that they deserve. There will always be an obstacle that gets in the way of true happiness for them, as they’re two people who may never find the path to true bliss.
It’s hard to talk about the events of the issue without resorting to spoilers, but there’s a mystery at play here that has a lot of moving parts. We get a sense of things not quite being as they seem, as the dramatic demise of a legendary DC character seems to be too jarring to be genuine. It seems to be authentic on the face of it, but I personally think there’s more than meets the eye here. Yes, seasoned comic book readers know that nobody ever stays dead in the world of DC, but this particular scenario and the cause of death itself, make me think that there’s a lot more mileage to be had out of it.
The final panel of the issue delivers one hell of a cliffhanger too, with a new player entering the game. My lips are sealed on the identity of this new character, but it has been teased by the creative team already. So many questions are now raised that I cannot wait to get the answers over the coming months. Friend or foe? A.I. or human? Ultimately, why are they here, and why now? Strap yourselves in for a fun ride!
Batman #125 starts a new Bat-era in winning fashion. The book sets out its stall for so much intrigue and action to come, making the upcoming issue must-have additions to any comic reader’s pull list. The future is extremely bright for the Zdarsky era, based on this first installment, and, as a result, the issue gets a big thumbs up from me.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment