REVIEW: ‘Batman.’ Issue #128

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman #128

Batman #128 from DC Comics pumps up the action, the heart, and the creep. Chip Zdarsky pens the main tale as well as a new second feature. Jorge Jimenez does pencils for ‘Failsafe,’ with Tomeu Morey on colors. Leonardo Romero does art for ‘I Am A Gun’ with Jordie Bellaire handling colors, and Clayton Cowles deftly maneuvers letters for both stories. 

Last month’s issue, we saw Zur-En-Arrh Batman, the By Any Means Necessary knucklehead version of Bruce Wayne, take on the sinister Failsafe robot meant to kill Batman should he fail. Well, that all went rather…not well. Zur is just beyond description. After getting cussed out by Wayne in a mental battle to save Tim/Robin from the robot, Zur saves him, only to get himself thoroughly trounced. He succeeded in reaching near-death status, which brought Bruce’s mind to the fore, with visions of happier times in the now dilapidated Wayne Manor. And then, Superman showed himself in. High octane madness.

This issue does not slow down. Superman versus Failsafe is epic, raw, and incredible in artistic execution, colors, and wording. It’s also utterly sad. Failsafe is the best villain to date; with little dialogue save for some creep lines, it succeeds where Batman Who Laughs, Luthor, and so many others fell short. And it does so in record time. Guest stars bleed into this issue (figuratively and literally) to save the day. But Failsafe is the G.O.A.T. Batman gets some amazing moments in this book, with real emotional dialogue.

The artwork is stunning; the action sequences are bold and energetic. Morey’s colors and Cowles’ letters are electroshock therapy for geek minds lacking proper visual stimulation. Zdarksy is a surgeon in the field of dissecting superheroes. I would think there will be little of Bruce after all this, but hot dang, Zdarsky has strapped Gotham to a Bat-rocket and launched it full speed into a four-color Twilight Zone. ‘Failsafe’ Part Four is a beautiful suicide letter to Batman lore and one hero’s Greek tragedy of a psyche.

This is turning out to be another Year of the Bat, but as much as I loved the latest film, the real glory in the Batman mythos is in the comics. Hands down, with Detective Comics killing it for almost a year with writers like Mariko Tamaki, Nadia Shammas, and now Ram V, Batman has come out swinging hard with Zdarsky on tap. But whereas the former digs deep into Gotham and Batman from a gothic aura, Batman goes for the jugular of comic book lore.

It’s brewing a melting pot of Silver Age, Morrison’s long tenure, plus JLA escapades into a cohesive unit. This is making the DCU feel more intersectional and more alive because heroes dealing with a world-shattering crisis alone when they literally have other heroes’ phone numbers is crazy. Zdarsky is telling some potent tales, and I have no doubt the ending to this madness will be equally riveting.

Batman #128 doesn’t want fans to get cozy in their chairs after part Four. Zdarsky rigs in a new backup story, one that heralds the Year One for our dude Zur-En-Arrh. Romero’s artwork zinged me back to Batman: Year One. The shorter bat ears, the clean, simpler lines but yet more brooding atmosphere. Bellaire turns down the lights, even on Zur-En-Arrh, and this is the creepiest Silver Age homage art I’ve ever seen. It works brilliantly, however, along with Cowles refined balloons. This is more disturbed Batman, breaking from a previous case, Zur lurking like a smiling madman, and that’s before the plot kicks in.

Batman #128 is a win-win. You can’t go wrong; even if you hate Batman, the stories within are too good to miss if you love comics. Throw on your costume and go get this issue.

Batman #128 is available wherever comic books are sold.

Batman #128


Batman #128 is a win-win. You can’t go wrong; even if you hate Batman, the stories within are too good to miss if you love comics. Throw on your costume and go get this issue.

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