“The Bat-Man of Gotham” – Conclusion
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Mike Hawthorne, Jorge Jimenez & Mikel Janin
Color Artists: Tomeu Morey & Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Max Byrne
Celebrating the milestone 900th issue of Batman certainly demands a prestigious release that gives due deference to the flagship character of DC Comics. In the form of Batman #900, or in simpler terms, Batman #135, it’s certainly a case of mission accomplished.
Chip Zdarsky manages to perform the dual task of wrapping up his excellent “The Bat-Man of Gotham” story arc, and via this extended, prestige format issue, compose a love letter to the history, mythology and lore of The Dark Knight.
Regular readers will remember that the previous issue saw Batman in dire straits, following an extremely maiming injury and a typically loaded deck against him, as Darwin Halliday’s masterplan to become an alt-Joker come to fruition. As always, seemingly insurmountable odds can be overcome with sheer force of will, but this is just an entrée for so, so much more!
Remember the multiversal path that both Batman and Halliday wish to tread, albeit for different reasons? Well, this is the catalyst for a run of pages that will melt the heart and widen the eyes of all devoted Bat-fans. Whatever your favourite era or incarnation of The Dark Knight is, you’ll be well served here.
Classic eras from the comic book page, the screen (big and small), and even video games are all interpreted via Zdarsky and a dazzling array of guest artists. Joe Quesada, Lee Bermejo, Kevin Nowlan and Jorge Jimenez, along with artist in residence Mike Hawthorn, bring such dazzling artwork to the table that sends the reader to the different eras with a wonderful authenticity.
Batman ’66, Batman ’89, The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, Arkham Asylum and Batman The Animated Series are all represented gloriously, and that’s just to name a few! No spoilers here, but each incarnation contributes to help Bruce’s plight via information or donating equipment (the nod to Batman ’66 will make any fan smile). No appearance feels like a novelty that’s just been shoehorned in for the sake of it, they all drive the plot forwards.
This particular Bat-fan was spellbound with each turn of the page, waiting to see which era would be visited next. Huge credit has to go to Zdarsky and the incredible team of artists for making each version of Batman feel incredibly authentic and faithful to their original incarnations. To see it is to believe it. Not convinced? Buy a copy of this issue now!
Despite the sense of finality given from Batman resolving the issues of the last few months and seemingly restoring some sort of status quo, the end panel gloriously hints at travails still to come. Have the events of this issue stained the Batmen of the multiverse? Is our Batman mentally broken? 3 words spring to mind – Zur, En, Arrh…
Batman #900 is simply magical. Yes, it’s a great wrap up to the current arc yes, but it’s ultimately also a treasure trove of Batman incarnations through the ages. It demands several repeat readings and is an milestone issue that will stand the test of time. Oh, and the choice of variant covers is also mind-blowing!
I simply implore all Batman fans to pick up a copy as soon as you can.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment