Review: Batman #131

“The Bat-Man of Gotham” – Part One
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Mike Hawthorne & Miguel Medonça
Color Artists: Tomeu Morey & Roman Stevens
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Max Byrne

Batman #131 picks up straight from the jaw-dropping finale of issue #130 and changes the status quo into something equally daring. For a character who’s seen more than his fair share of “WTF” moments over the years, the events depicted here are certainly up there with anything we’ve seen before.

Chip Zdarsky cannot be accused of failing to go big during his tenure on this book so far. From the very start of his reign, he has delivered high-concept stories, yet has always found time for some quieter, more character-driven moments. Amidst the chaos, he has often ruminated about what it means to be Batman and the personal cost involved. Truly, fans are getting the best of both worlds.

Speaking of different worlds, the encounter with Failsafe now sees our titular hero seemingly in a new universe. Yes, this is Gotham City, but it is vastly different from the one that we know. The main difference in this totalitarian city? There’s no Batman and seemingly Bruce Wayne is dead. Throw in our battered, bruised, and barely functioning caped crusader and you have a recipe for one hell of an arc. With a ruthless regime running the city, this is going to be high-stakes stuff. Old relationships will be re-forged in this hellscape and alliances formed, bring it on!

With a new arc comes a new artist in the form of Mike Hawthorne. Stepping into the shoes of the amazing Jorge Jimenez is a tall order but Hawthorne pulls it off with great aplomb. His art style is a feast for the eyes and a match made in heaven with the color work of Tomeu Morey. Every page is eye-catching and demands the reader’s full attention. The action sequences are visceral yet with they contain a graceful quality, and I look forward to Hawthorne getting a long tenure on the book moving forward.

The bonus story, also penned by Zdarsky, works beautifully as a companion piece to the main narrative, as we get to see Tim Drake dealing with the aftermath of Batman disappearing before his very eyes. How this affects Tim moving forward will be very interesting to see, with Tim doing everything he can to bring Bruce back whilst not neglecting his duties in protecting Gotham in his absence.

Conclusion

Batman #131 is a great start to a new era for Batman in a new world. It’s opened up new potential for interesting storylines and character interactions. Whilst this new setting won’t last forever, there’s a lot of story to be mined and we should be in for some exciting months ahead.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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