Review: Batman #132

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

Batman #132 sees Batman starting to network his way into the alternate reality version of Gotham City, first glimpsed in the previous issue. With the Caped Crusader being a persona that has never existed in this plane of existence, a more subtle approach is required.

This being the case, the stage is set for a welcome return of the Bruce Wayne playboy persona. The key twist? In this world, Bruce Wayne is dead!

This status is the catalyst for some fascinating interactions with faces familiar to the Batman mythology, as Zdarsky shows the reader the social, political and emotional landscape of a city without its protector. In a world that sadly mirrors the real world, the rich get richer and the poor suffer greatly. The borderline caste system is a terrible state of affairs that that this issue doesn’t shy away from showing the implications of. Talk about art imitating life!

Back to Bruce, though. His “performance” here is part 007, part playboy, as he acts his way through a high society gathering. I’ve always enjoyed the moments out of the cowl as much as those with it donned, so the lack of costumed activity this month is no bad thing. As Bruce runs the gauntlet of encounters with the likes of Selina Kyle, Punchline, Killer Croc and, most poignant of all, Alfred, the stakes are raised.

It isn’t all tuxedos and cocktails though, as a spot of bother is never far away. This is where Mike Hawthorne comes into his own, as he delivers some action packed panels that are very special indeed. Karate kicks, haymaker punches and death defying falls are all visualized with great flair. The sense of constant motion in Bruce’s fighting style is very apparent indeed, which is a testament to how Hawthorne can portray movement through his pencil work. My proverbial cap is doffed!

No spoilers here, but the finale of the issue is a wonderfully executed twist on the origin of Batman. The final panels harden Bruce’s resolve to help the City, even though it may postpone his attempts to get home. The forthcoming issues should be fascinating indeed. Even on a very different playing field, The Dark Knight Rises..

Conclusion

Batman #132 is a worthy continuation of the Zdarsky run. It further peels back the layers of the alternate reality Gotham City and pushes Bruce forward, back towards his true self…

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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