Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Batman #135 Review



Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Mike Hawthorne, Jorge Jimenez, Mikel Janín, Adriano di Bendetto
Colors by: Tomeu Morey, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Jorge Jimenez
Cover price: $6.99
Release date: May 2, 2023

Batman #135 takes a non-stop trip through the multiverse when Halliday discovers his true connection to Joker, and a one-handed Batman learns every Earth has its monsters.
Is It Good?

I praised Chip Zdarsky for going big in issue #135 by relieving Batman of one of his hands (No biggie. He has a spare.), but in Batman #135, Zdarsky goes even bigger by running a gauntlet of universes to visit every Batman you can think of in a non-stop chase to stop Halliday. If you thought bringing all the past Spider-Men together in Spider-Man: No Way Home was neat, you ain't seen anything yet.

When last we left the one-handed Caped Crusader, he barely managed to stop a venomized Ghostmaker from setting off the multiversal gas bomb (It's okay. Multiversal gas isn't a thing, and Zdarsky makes no effort to explain it, so just go with it.). With a city under siege by crop-dusting Man-Bats, Halliday manages to collect enough multiverse energy to fulfill his mission - visiting the time and place of Joker's creation so he can learn how it happened and realize his own potential.

Plot twist! Zdarsky uses Halliday to demonstrate a twisted version of the Observer Effect, and Halliday comes to realize that by entering the Joker's mind to see how the Joker was created, Halliday became the catalyst for creating the Joker in the first place. In effect, Halliday is the multiverse's Joker maker.

Check out our Batman #135 Video Review!

Overcome with the realization of who and what he is, Halliday dives into the multiverse and starts creating Jokers all over the place. Batman has no choice but to hastily gather some gadgets and pursue Halliday to stop him. What follows is a rapid-fire stream of stops across the multiverse where Batman meets Jokers and Batmans from every incarnation imaginable - from Keaton's Batman to the Dark Knight Batman to the Adam West Batman and more.

Without spoiling any more than I already have, the last page takes all the wow moments and shiny novelty of visiting every Batman under the Sun and pushes it one step further

Kudos to Zdarsky (again) for going big to stop from going home. This issue is one of the rare examples where pulling in multiple artists pays off in spades. Batman doesn't just visit alternate versions of himself. He visits alternate versions rendered in the same style as the source material, and it looks great.

Does Batman's missing hand get addressed? Yes, but it's not a complete cheat, so more kudos to DC for addressing the missing hand without waving it away (*ahem*).

Does Batman get home? No spoilers on this point, but the ending is satisfying.

Which leads to an odd point. The final page ends with a "The End?", which reads oddly considering what happens on the last page and the lack of resolution for Failsafe. You almost get the impression Zdarsky is saying goodbye, but that wouldn't make sense in context. I guess we'll find out in June.

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 #135 reads like Chip Zdarsky watched Spider-Man: No Way Home and said, "Yeah, I can top that." And he does. The small army of artists gives you every Batman you can imagine for a multiversal adventure for the ages, and it works.


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