THIS WEEK: Chip Zdarsky & Jorge Jimenez’s first arc on DC’s main Batman title wraps up with the conclusion of “Failsafe.”

Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comic in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.

Batman #130

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Jorge Jimenez and Leonardo Romero
Colorists: Tomeu Morey and Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Jorge Jimenez

If there was ever any question about what kind of Batman Chip Zdarsky is writing, the first seven pages of this week’s Batman #130 should clear it up. Flung out into space at the end of the last issue, the dark knight is left hurtling through the void like Sandra Bullock in Gravity, without the benefit of another nearby space station or even a pressurized suit to protect him. He’s surely going to die, right? There’s no way out of this. But by the eighth page of the issue he’s back on Earth and ready for a final faceoff with Failsafe, the unstoppable android he created as a backup plan to end him should he ever go rogue.

Batman #130 is superhero adventure comics at their absurd best. And I mean absurd in the best way possible. That opening sequence is total nonsense. It’s also a thrilling way to kick off an issue, and utterly badass when Bruce walks away from the scene relatively unscathed, save for his briefs. It’s the kind of sequence that makes you laugh and pump your fist at the same time. And that’s just Batman being Batman. This series began six years ago with Batman thinking he was going to die in a plane crash, and this week he survived reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Batman contains multitudes.

Through it all, Zdarsky, Jorge Jimenez, and Tomeu Morey ground that sheer insanity in the characters. Who cares if Batman, Robin, and Superman are fighting a killer robot if we don’t care about Batman, Robin, and Superman to begin with? Jimenez and Morey capture the fluidity of motion and the coordination between the dynamic duo as they take on Failsafe beautifully, showing readers how well-teamed Batman and Robin are with each other. The climax of the battle is stunning and heartbreaking, and the shock of it is sold flawlessly by the visuals.

This issue also features the conclusion of the “I Am A Gun” backup story from Zdarsky and artists Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire. The secret origin of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh comes to a satisfying and layered conclusion, offering readers insight into Batman’s development of the persona and how its presence in the back of his mind has impacted every decision he’s made since. Romero and Bellaire do an incredible job melding the visual style of 1950s Batman comics with a David Mazzuchelli-esque take on the early Dark Knight.

As an opening arc to a run, “Failsafe” and its backup stories has been as close to flawless a Batman story as I’ve seen. Zdarsky, Jimenez, and co. have crafted a perfect jumping-on point for lapsed Batman fans, and a thrilling continuation of what’s come before for longtime readers. This week’s ending is a hell of a cliffhanger that just reinforces what good hands this series is in.

Final Verdict: BUY.


    • The Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths event approaches its conclusion with this week’s Dark Crisis War Zone #1 anthology one-shot. The collection of stories offer a closer look at the chaos of the battle between the heroes of the DCU and Pariah’s Dark Army. Notably for Flash readers there’s a story from the regular series creative team of Jeremy Adams, Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan, and Matt Herms starring the newly-powered Linda Park teaming up with Iris West. There’s also another tale featuring new character Red Canary, who made her first appearance in the Dark Crisis: The Dark Army one-shot, from Delilah S. Dawson, Tom Derenick, and Herms. It’s an enjoyable collection of stories overall.
  • Gotham City: Year One #3 continues Tom King, Phil Hester, and Eric Gapstur’s hardboiled tale of Gotham’s past. This series came out of nowhere to become one of the best of the year from DC, and the latest issue continues that on, with twists and revelations and an ending that’s as inevitable as it is painful. Hester and Gapstur’s artwork continues to be career-best from both of them. Don’t sleep on this one.
  • G. Willow Wilson is joined by guest artist Atagun Ilhan for the launch of the second half of Poison Ivy’s now-twelve-issue series. I never expected to love a Poison Ivy series as much as I’ve loved this one. This issue has a very Incredible Hulk TV show feel as Wilson puts Pam in a new town and a new situation she has to solve-slash-get out of. Would read an ongoing series of Poison Ivy hitchhiking across the country spreading her spores and uncovering mysteries.
  • Have we talked about how good Sword of Azrael is? It’s phenomenal, and another book I never expected to love as much as I do, which just goes to show that any character or story can become someone’s favorite in the hands of the right creators. In this case, Dan Watters, Nikola Čižmešija, and Marissa Louise are those creators, taking the much-maligned replacement Batman and making him absolutely fascinating. There’s only one issue left in this series – is it too much to hope this one gets extended as well?

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