“The Bat-Man of Gotham” – Part Three
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Mike Hawthorne & Miguel Medonça
Color Artists: Tomeu Morey & Roman Stevens
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Max Byrne
Batman #133 sees our titular hero forge new relationships with alternate reality versions of his closest allies, whilst at the same time the curtain is pulled further back on this strange world that Zdarsky has created.
As a big fan of world building, especially in alternate realities away from the main DC continuity, this is something I am extremely happy to see. Different versions of established characters, shifting moral compasses and a totally different status quo. If that’s your bag too, then you’re going to be well served, indeed.
No spoilers here, but the face to face meeting between Batman and this world’s version of Alfred Pennyworth is a loaded one. Think about it, this version of Alfred’s mourning the death of his version of Bruce. Also, we know our Batman is without his Alfred. Bringing these two together bears a heavy emotional load, especially given the choice of setting for this exchange. I really hope that, before this arc concludes and normal service is presumably resumed, that these two get to spend much more time together. The potential for emotional drama is limitless.
As with all the best Batman stories, there’s a mystery at play here that requires those keen detective skills that only the Dark Knight possesses. Yes, this is about getting Batman home, but the fate of this Gotham City is something he cannot walk away from. Is Darwin Halliday really The Joker in this world? All roads certainly seem to be leading there, but I personally feel we’re in for a big bait and switch regarding that subject. I could be wrong, but time will tell. The true identity of The Red Mask is yet to be revealed and I can only surmise that this will be a blockbuster of a reveal. Joker? Jason? Dick? Somebody else linked to Bruce’s past? We should find out soon…
The artwork from Mike Hawthorne is stellar throughout the issue. Equally adept at spectacular action as he is quieter moments of introspection, his versatility is excellent. Amidst the chaos we also get moments where a character’s expression tells a story, such as in the aforementioned Batman/Alfred meeting. A downwards gaze, a pained expression and a furrowed brow goes a long way indeed. Hats off to Hawthorne!
Clayton Cowles’ lettering is also of particular note, as his method of utilizing huge swathes of onomatopoeia to accompany a heavy blow or crushing impact. “Crash” or “Krak” are the perfect bedfellow for a punch to the face, as they really enhance Hawthorne’s imagery.
Batman #133 is an issue that expands and opens up the alternate universe, adding more meat to the bone. Whilst the city is different to the one we know and love, Batman is Batman. The surroundings may have changed but the man and his mission remain the same. Will he accomplish all he wants to before it is time to go home? Only time will tell.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment