Saturday, September 2, 2023

Batman #137 Review


Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Jorge Jimenez
Colors by: Tomeu Morey
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Jorge Jimenez
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: September 5, 2023

Batman #137 launches the first salvo in the Gotham War when the Bat-family conspires with Catwoman to keep Batman from interfering with the actions of the "safe" criminals.
Is Batman #137 Good?

Batman / Catwoman: Gotham War - Battle Lines #1 set up Catwoman's plan to train and fund henchmen away from the supercriminals of Gotha, making Gotham a less violent place. Catwoman's intention to improve Gotham by forming a Henchmen Union (complete with training and a comprehensive dental plan) is ridiculous on its face, but what was more ridiculous about the prologue issue is just how easily members of the Bat Family were swayed into thinking Catwoman may have a point.

If you thought to yourself, "Nightwing and Oracle can't seriously be considering this. They don't sound like themselves," get ready to lose your mind because in Batman #137, not only does the Bat-Family (excluding Damian) question their belief in Batman's mission, but they actively scheme to protect Catwoman's union members so they can do their business and move on without anyone getting hurt.

In barely the blink of an eye, the Bat Family turned into a group of enforcers protecting Catwoman's operation from the big, bad Batman, and it's patently ridiculous.

When last we left Batman and his Bat-Family, Catwoman gave Batman the Twitter lecture about squandering his wealth and talents on beating up poor people, sidestepping the fact that the "poor" people she's referencing are henchmen working for the worst, deadliest criminals in Gotham has ever known. While Batman was in an 8-week coma, Catwoman organized the henchmen into a union to get better pay, training, and resources as long as they paid their dues, don't kill anyone, and only rob rich people because rich people could only be prosperous if they're evil, apparently.

All Catwoman wants from Batman, and the Bat-Family is for them to stay out of the way. Dick, Barbara, and Tim consider the offer, Damian is a hard 'no', and Jason secretly offers to help Catwoman win Batman over. Now, the Bat-Family schemes to keep Batman distracted so Catwoman's plan has time to progress. Batman doesn't fall for the bait and instead breaks up Catwoman's training facility, and Vandal Savage arrives at the last minute to purchase old Wayne Manor to instigate a meeting with Batman.

What does all this mean? 

Except for Damian, every member of the Bat Family takes Catwoman's side on the Henchmen Union concept because robbing the rich is a lot better than a violent crime against everyone else... or something.

What's great about Batman #137?

The idea at the center of the Gotham War has merit - get Batman to question his methods by showing him a more effective way to fight crime. There's a multitude of ways to build that idea out, and if Batman is forced to evolve as a result of that idea, this event will have been worth something.

What's not so great about Batman #137?

 The Bat Family is wildly out of character. There's no way Catwoman's plan could work, and there's no way the Bat Family would go along with the plan and actively collaborate to stop Batman from stopping crime. There's even a scene in the first fight where Jason Todd shoots at (what he thinks is) Batman with a shotgun. The idea has merit, but the lack of setup and the path to building out the idea is, again, patently ridiculous.

How's the art? It's great. I don't know why Jorge Jimenez wastes his talents on this nonsense story, but he makes nonsense look good.

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 #137 takes the foolishness of Catwoman's plan from the Battle Lines prologue comic and turns it up to 11. The entire Bat Family (except Damian) suddenly decides Catwoman's Henchmen Union is a great idea and actively scheme to stop Batman from interfering with Catwoman's approved robbers. This story is ridiculous, the execution is ridiculous, and DC is absurd for sending it to print.


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