Monday, April 3, 2023

Batman #134 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: April 4, 2023

Batman #134 descends into the bowels of Gotham when Selina leads Batman to the medical torture chambers Red Mask uses to create a gateway into the Multiverse.
Is It Good?

Batman #134 is a 'just okay' issue until the very end when a painful development shows Chip Zdarsky isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Between this issue and last week's Daredevil #9 from Marvel, Chip Zdarsky is finally embracing the "go big or go home" mentality, and his comics are better for it.

When last we left Batman (strapped on an alternate Earth, wearing a cobbled together Bat-suit), he made waves among the criminal underworld as the Batman this alt-Gotham didn't know it needed. Now, Batman convinces Selina to take him to Red Mask's secret lair to shout down the villain's operation for good.

Up to now, this arc is a mostly vanilla Batman adventure with a It's A Wonderful Life concept. The alternate versions of supporting characters in Batman's life are mostly the same with a few tweaks, and Bruce gets a look at a Gotham without a Batman. The citizens are ruled by oppression and fear, and the only citizens living the semblance of a good life are corrupt officials and organized crime lords.

While the overall story is vanilla, there are a lot of pieces to like in this issue. The cobbled-together Bat-suit looks great. Batman encounters a Venom-jacked Ghostmaker, leading to a gripping brawl. And something happens at the end of the fight that could be a game-changer for the Dark Knight if it sticks.

Watch our Batman #134 Video Review

On that last point, I have to commend Zdarksy for taking a big swing at Batman's status quo. Yes, I'm talking around it to avoid spoilers, but if it sticks, Batman's life is in for a permanent change.

What's not to like? Again, the plot feels somewhat vanilla. Batman's lack of attention or urgency to get home when Failsafe (as far as Batman knows) is still running around, creating havoc, is bizarre. Red Mask's identity is revealed, and it's the least surprising direction you could imagine. Plus, the superhero-science behind Red Hood's plan is not explained well enough to be believable.

Mike Hawthorne and Adriano di Benedetto's art is solid in this issue. The fights scenes hit hard, and the movement of the new Bat-suit looks great.

The minor down point in the art is the brightness of the issue. Most of the issue takes place in the tunnels underneath Gotham, but the issue is way too bright/well lit for a confrontation that takes place in the sewers. It would have served the issue better to employ more shadows and darkness for Batman to use as a stealth weapon.

The Toy Box, Part 4 (Backup Story)

Normally, I don't cover backups because they have no relevance to the main story, but Zdarsky is using the extra pages to depicts Robin's attempt to save Batman, so it's worth the read.

The backup centers around Robin's attempt to find Bruce again, with the captured Winslow's help.

The art looks great in this backup. The new multiverse "astronaut" suit is surprisingly gaudy, but Zdarsky provides a plausible explanation for its design.

However, the backup takes an odd turn from the previous chapters. Robin takes a detour through the multiverse to pay a visit to someone else. It's unclear how Tim knew where to find that person or why taking a multi-hour side trip was a good idea when he suspected Batman was in danger, but here we are.

In other words, its a sweet, tearjerker of a backup story, but the story feels out of place.

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

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Bits and Pieces:

Batman #134 continues the World Without A Batman story with several surprises. Some surprises are strangely unsurprising, and at least one surprise is shockingly big. The art is generally okay, albeit too bright for an underground adventure, and the ending will get people talking.


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