Batman #125 from DC Comics ushers in a bold new era with writer Chip Zdarsky of Daredevil fame. Jorge Jimenez jumps onto the book as series artist, with Tomeu Morey on colors for the first big story. Belen Ortega and Luis Guerrero provide art and colors for the second story featuring Catwoman, with Clayton Cowles handling letters for both. Welp, we’re here. Zdarsky has arrived to write the Bat for DC. After the ‘Shadow War,’ things are not slowing down for Batman. Oh no. In fact, Zdarsky is amping up the action, shadows, tension, and shock to eleven.
Batman #125 begins with a dream, a nightmare in which the Three Jokers have eliminated the Batman Family. Bruce awakens from it, shaken because we find out he never dreams…unless he wills it. After that revelation, we are given a somewhat intimate phone conversation between him and Catwoman, a taste of their closeness even when apart. It’s a touching, realistic, and annoying scene because DC is determined not to let these two get hitched and stay there except in an alternate storyline. But here is where the plot kicks in. Someone is murdering the rich of Gotham. The city is calling to Batman. He answers.
And he does so in a fury of brief word balloons laid down by Cowles and moody SFX gracing lush, complex, sullen, gothic artwork by Jimenez as Batman rushes to stop and interrogate said killer. Jimenez is even better than when I last saw his work, and staring at individual panels became a labor of love while doing this review. Those panels with the police and Batman in the rain look straight out of a film, grim, stark, yet powerfully beautiful. And when cloaked in Morey’s seemingly tangible colors and some splattering, macabre ink work as the story bleeds out, my goodness, is this a sight to behold. As for the murder plot, things get interesting rather quickly. Expect to see a face or two from the classic Rogues Gallery, but also prepare to be shocked at how this all plays out. So long as this whole thing isn’t a dream (please let it not be), this story is going places and changing the face of Gotham even more. Welcome to Batman, Mr. Zdarsky, and team. I love what you’ve done with the place. Also, the return of TimDrake/Robin I love, but more so Bruce’s brusque description to him of Gotham. Wow.
That continues into the second story as well, the writing and the effects of the first plot, though art changes over into the trusted hands of Ortega and Guerrero. The focus switches to Catwoman and the Gotham Underworld following one of the shocking threads from the previous pages. Things are changing big time in the criminal element, and everyone wants a piece of the action. Catwoman, trying to bring out her inner Batman, tries to get in the middle of things, but, well, the end of this story swings her into a direction neither she nor fans will see coming. Ortega pencils a fun, expressive Selina Kyle and has a clear, impressive style fit for superheroes I enjoy a lot, and it pairs well with Guerrero’s bright colors. Zdarsky wrote two stories in the same city with completely different feels, and I love that. He cut right to the chase, delivered what could have been mere shock value anywhere else, and made it hit. Hopefully, it all plays out in ‘real time’ and doesn’t get washed away as Bruce’s fantasy. But I think the second story promises that’s not the case.
I am hyped for next month! They hit the ground running at cheetah speed and delivered bloody, dark, bleak tales of good old vampiric Gotham City while keeping in the superhero fluff and never skipping a beat. Every panel is breathtaking, the words are sharp, emotional, and sometimes even mean. But it’s all core Batman. To heck with a five. This is worth ten pale, maddened stars of justice. Get your copy and suck it in.
Batman #125 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
They hit the ground running at cheetah speed and delivered bloody, dark, bleak tales of good old vampiric Gotham City while keeping in the superhero fluff and never skipping a beat. Every panel is breathtaking, the words are sharp, emotional, and sometimes even mean. But it’s all core Batman. To heck with a five. This is worth ten pale, maddened stars of justice.