Review: Batman #141

“Mind Bomb” – Part Three
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Jorge Jimenez & Dustin Nguyen
Color Artists: Tomeu Morey & John Kalisz
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Max Byrne

Batman #141 is a crash, bang, wallop of an issue. This Terminator-esque tome runs at a relentless pace, with a perpetual forward motion that barely pauses for breath, such is the unstoppable nature of Failsafe.

Unleashed once again, but this time imbued with the psyche of Zur-En-Arrh, this takes deadly to a whole new level! A combination of a Batman without a solid moral compass and an invulnerable metal body is a scary prospect indeed, and Zdarsky certainly succeeds in piling on the layers of tension.

As always, our titular hero is thinking several steps ahead, but when his adversary literally cannot be stopped, the number of steps drastically reduces. Through Batman’s interior monologue, we do get to see the sheer amount of intellect and willpower required to just stay in the game long enough to live, never mind actually winning.

As this issue primarily features fisticuffs galore, the narrative arc doesn’t move on in any great leaps and bounds. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. The time taken to re-establish this maniacal version of Failsafe was much needed and helps to raise the stakes. Every well-laid plan falls just short of the mark, even successes are merely fleeting.

Jorge Jimenez certainly brings the noise with his outstanding artwork in this issue, he’s as good as it gets when it comes to action sequences. I’ve said it before, but you can literally feel the impact of every blow and the bone-breaking consequences of being thrown through walls. The best Batman artists have always made this reader wince in empathetic pain during Batman’s brutal encounters, and this book is a prime example.

No spoilers here, but the conclusion of the issue, post-conflict, sets up a very intriguing issue to come. Lots of answers are coming regarding the entwined history of Bruce Wayne and the Joker. Not to mention, what on earth will have become of Gotham City now that Failsafe is calling the shots?

As always, we get a bonus story here too, chronicling the gathering of the various alternate-reality incarnations of Zur-En-Arrh. If twisted versions of Batman ’89, Adam West’s 60’s Caped Crusader, and Batman Beyond are your bag, you’re going to love this bonus treat.

Conclusion

Batman #141 is an action-packed ride. It highlights just how much the deck’s stacked against the Dark Knight now and sets the table for a great run of issues to come. I’m all in on this arc, Zdarsky is a perfect fit to write Batman stories. He has a knack for upping the ante constantly without jumping the shark, and I’m extremely invested in seeing where he takes us next.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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