Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Batman #131 Review



Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Mike Hawthorne, Adriano di Benedetto
Colors by: Tomeu Morey
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Jorge Jimenez
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: January 3, 2023

Batman #131 "resurrects" the Dark Knight in a world not of his making or choosing. Can Bruce find a way back home, or will the villains from Gotham without a Batman strand him for good?

Is It Good?

Batman #131 is, in a word, boring. How many times can a classic hero wake up in an alternate Earth where everyone and everything is just a little off? Haven't we done these dozens of times already? Oy!

Fine. Let's get into it. When last we left Batman, he got zapped by Failsafe. Everyone (almost everyone) believes Batman to be dead. However, Batman is not dead. He wakes up on an alternate Earth, with alternate Harvey Dents, Alternate Selena Kyles, and alternate Red Hoods to keep Gotham firmly under criminal control. Amid the alt-novelty, Bruce is followed by a talking Jim Gordon skeleton that needs to be explained and provide insight into who/what he is. Strangely, Bruce never approaches the skeleton to ask questions, a first reaction you would think would be taken by the world's greatest detective.

To be fair, Bruce may not be able to see the skeleton, so it's only present for the audience's benefit. Again, the skeleton is never explained, so there's no way to know.

Where does all this lead? Nowhere you haven't seen before. Bruce finds reluctant allies to help him hide, rest, and recon. The villains get wind of Bruce Wayne's presence and begin a manhunt.

Look, there's no intention of being rude or snarky, but the concept is so played out and unoriginal, it pales in comparison to the beginning of the Failsafe arc. Leaning on the "alternate Earth" trope feels like a lazy rehash for longtime readers, and if you're a new Batman reader, you'll have no idea what's going on.

At least kudos are due to Hawthorne and di Benedetto for a solid art job. The lines are clean, and Morey's colors look great. The action is, admittedly, thrilling, and the book's overall look is Grade A.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Batman #131 takes a big step backward in the creativity department by transporting Batman to an alternate Earth where everything is slightly off. The technical execution is fine, but the story concept is so played out, it's become a boring cliché.


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