Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Batman #133 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: March 7, 2023

Batman #133 finds Bruce Wayne once again donning the cape and cowl to restart the legend of the Batman in this new universe. His first mission? Find out who killed this world's Bruce Wayne and why.
Is It Good? 

Batman #133 is okay. That pithy statement isn't meant to be anything other than exactly what it says. Batman #133 is just okay.

When last we left Bruce Wayne, his run-ins with assorted doppelgangers of rogues from his own world led him to the final conclusion (which we already knew) - Gotham needs a Batman in every world.

Now, Bruce dons a cruder, industrial-looking Batsuit to establish the Dark Knight's legend in a Gotham gripped by criminality and fear.

First, I like the low-tech Batsuit a lot. It has the Batman feel, but the seams are a little rougher, and the design has a more practical look that I wouldn't mind Bruce holding onto when he gets back home.

Second, Zdarsky rightly approaches the atmosphere of Gotham after Batman makes his presence known. From the typical Gothamites point of view, Batman works best as a mysterious urban legend. The unknown is a powerful source of fear, and sticking to the shadows as an almost supernatural force works in Batman's favor against the criminal elements.

Next, Batman goes to work figuring out who killed this world's Bruce Wayne, what's going on with Arkham, and who is the criminal mastermind behind the city's decay. In other words, Batman picks up his mission right where he left off in his world.

Therein lies the potential downside of this arc. Bruce doesn't spend a single panel's time figuring out how he landed on an alternate Earth. There's no urgency to return home and no expression of concern over what Failsafe (the unstoppable robot who sent Bruce to this world) might be doing back in his own world. It's as if Bruce said to himself, "Oh, well. I'm stuck here and don't feel like trying to get home, so I'll just keep being Batman."

Being Batman is fine. That's why you read this comic, but Zdarsky gives Bruce a form of "plot binders," It comes off as oddly disconnected. It's as if Bruce becomes Batman because that's all he knows how to do, even at the expense of the bigger picture. It's a weird approach to a multiversal arc, and something is unsettling about it.

Hawthorne and Di Benedetto deliver solid art in this issue. I try to avoid drawing comparisons between artists because every issue should stand on its own merits, but it's hard not to notice the disparity between the work in this issue and Jorge Jimenez's work in the first arc. To be clear, this is okay art, but it's not Jimenez-level art.

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 #133 finds Bruce Wayne donning a street-level cape and cowl to save an alternate world's Gotham from criminal corruption. The art and writing are solid, and the plot feels like it's moving, but the lack of urgency on Bruce's behalf to get back home and stop Failsafe is somehow unsettling.


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