Review: Batman #140

“Mind Bomb” – Part Two
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Jorge Jimenez & Mike Hawthorne
Color Artists: Tomeu Morey & Ivan Plascencia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Max Byrne

After the context-setting drama of the previous issue, Batman #140 brings the noise in a big way. If unbridled carnage delivered at a breakneck pace is your cup of tea, then you will be extremely well served with this issue.

This is no mere slugfest, however, as what Zdarsky does so well here is tell a compelling story through the violence. Whilst on the surface this may appear as yet another Batman vs Joker face-off, the story beneath the main action is where the real drama lies.

While Batman vs Zur-En-Arrh is the order of the day, a one-on-one internal conflict is so rudimentary, so why not up the ante? Why have one Zur when you can have all of them? Yes, a Zur-En-Arrh to go with every multiversal Batman exists, and they’re all here. It gave this reader quite a thrill to see amoral versions of Batman ’89, The Dark Knight Returns and even Adam West’s Batman all facing off with our titular hero. Such a plan could really have the potential to become a complete mess, but overall Zdarsky gets it just right.

Seeing Keaton’s incarnation still being unable to turn his head is a lot of fun, especially when it proves to be his undoing. The other plus is that all of this ties in, cleverly and logically, with the events witnessed in the sublime Batman #900 (#135)

Some questions do remain unanswered, such as how Joker knows about both Zur-En-Arrh, and the specifics of Batman’s formative years of training. Having had the privilege of reading an issue or two ahead, I know those answers are coming.

Often unsung heroes of comic books are the color artists, as the writer and artist tend to grab most of the plaudits. A big nod of approval must go to the work of Tomeu Morey for his color work here. A long-standing veteran of this title, he always delivers the goods. With issue #140, he really gets to go for it in several explosions of color that jump off the page in a big way. Due to the main adversary in this book wearing a costume featuring gaudy, outlandish colors, Morey gets to utilize his full palette to great effect, making the pages of this book a true feast for the eyes.

The conclusion of the issue is a tantalizing cliffhanger, to say the least. A devastating adversary re-emerges from the shadows, leaving the reader believing that Batman will fail to get safely out of this predicament.

We also get a bonus story continuing the exploits of Vandal Savage as he continues to plot his ascension through the hierarchy of power in Gotham City. Ingratiating himself with the movers and shakers of the city, the prospect of him taking up a position of authority in Gotham is a terrifying one, particularly the one mentioned to him at the conclusion of the story. Things may never be the same again.

Conclusion

Batman #140 is a multi-sensory explosion that never fails to grab the reader’s attention. Larger than life yet still containing moments of introspection and discussions about what it truly means to be Batman, this issue sets the table for some high drama to come.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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