Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Batman #150 Comic Review

Written by: Chip Zdarsky

Art by: Denys Cowan, Jorge Jiménez, John Stanisci
Colors by: Tomeu Morey
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Jorge Jiménez, Alejandro Sánchez
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: July 2, 2024

Batman #150 recounts a tale of a henchmen who stumbles upon Gotham's most valuable secret - the real identity of Batman.

Is Batman #150 Good?

Right now, Chips Zdarsky and DC are making it very hard to continue to pick up Batman. Batman #150 not only makes being a Batman fan a little more difficult, but it'll leave you wondering if you should start an "I used to like Batman comics" support group.

At this point, I'd normally recap what happened in the previous issue, but there's no point. This is a one-and-done issue that refers to recent past events loosely, but you could ignore the references without consequence.

Zdarsky's tale of woe centers on Teddy, a between-jobs henchman who stumbled upon Batman's secret identity during a burglary job amid last year's horrendous Gotham War crossover. Well into middle age, and eager to be out of the crime game, Teddy figures he can sell the information for a million dollars, which would be enough to support his family for years to come.

What follows is a who's who of visits to Batman's assorted criminal adversaries, from Two-Face to the Cobblepot siblings. Eventually, word gets around that Teddy has the intel, which makes him very valuable to anyone with money or the willingness to take it from Teddy by force.

When Teddy finds himself roped into a bank robbery by a team of former costumed henchmen, believing his knowledge will keep Batman from interfering, Batman snatches Teddy up and shows him the only thing Teddy needs is the world's most important lesson - Do Better.

What's great about Batman #150? To Chip Zdarsky's credit, the issue has strong dramatic elements and emotional beats, particularly when Teddy's narrative shifts toward his relationship with his family.

What's not so great about Batman #150? Zdarsky's script is, at best, a filler issue that tells a less-good version of the same story we've seen before, more than once. Heck, even the Nolan film trilogy had a version of this story when one of WayneTech's accountants figured out Bruce Wayne was Batman, and it was handled with a much better pace and impact than what you have here.

Yes, there's a backup story (more on that in a minute), but there's no justification to charge $5.99 for this issue.

What about the Art Quality? Look, Denys Cowan is a recognized name, and some may consider him a legend when you consider some of the groundbreaking work he did on the original Milestone, but the art in this issue is sketchy, loose, and slapdash. Sure, you could say that sketchiness is part of Cowan's style, but there's a difference between stylistic and tossed together in a hurry. This issue looks like the latter, which does nothing for Cowan's legendary status.

Backup Story

Tying into the events of Absolute Power, we see Batman performing reconnaissance after Amanda Waller's first attack nearly incapacitated all powered beings on Earth. He sees spies strong power coming from Titans Tower where he finds Cyborg in a digital stalemate against Brainiac Queen. Cyborg can relay that Waller is using a Mother Box as a power source, but before Cyborg can divulge anything else, he's captured by one of the Amazo robots. The backup sets up a mission for Batman to enlist Catwoman for a heist to steal the Mother Box.

In a strange reversal, Zdarsky's backup story is more meaningful than the main story. Why? Who knows. The backup gives readers the first signs of a mounted defense against Waller, with a direction and destination. Plus, the backup art by Mike Hawthorne and Adriano Di Benedetto is significantly better than the main story.

That said, this backup also lessens the already hard-to-swallow premise of Absolute Power. It shows that Amanda Waller is ignoring Batman because she doesn't consider him a threat. How could a human become so powerful by making so many foolish decisions?

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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Final Thoughts

Batman #150 is a time-filling one-shot about a henchmen looking to cash in on Batman's real identity. Zdarsky's attempt at filling the publishing calendar has been done before (and better), and Denys Cowan's art is surprisingly weak. However, the backup ties into Absolute Power with a tidbit of useful information and confirmation that putting Amanda Waller at the heart of the event was a mistake.


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1 comment:

  1. For once I am actually more positive with an issue than your site lolll, I will be honest I am baffled how the atrocity that has been the Batman issues these past months could have received a higher score from you than this issue when they have been absolute out of character non sense. In fact issues like this are what I wished we would get back to getting from writers. I am tired of writers trying to pull off 100 issue long arcs that they clearly can't pull off and then be forced to be cut off from those number of issues as well to wrap it up already. It's a reality that not many can do it but nearly everyone at DC keep doing it. These kind of one off or at most three parter stories were exactly what used to be the norm for most series, a case or premise over 3 or 4 issues that progressed characters and featured characters that would appear later too. I think this issue got the essence of Batman without being the fanservice ooc approach of the previous issues and I am always glad to get back to the state of Gotham and what every player is doing currently since they just keep writing the same tired oh look gotham is conquered storyline, when the individuals in Gotham itself warring with each other has a lot more potential at this point. I mean Zdarsky has completely put aside the fact that he clearly set up a conflict with Batman and the Cobblepotts. Instead all we are getting on those characters are from king in his side series that is unclear when it is set up and one mention or two from Taylor in Nightwing. I would like to actually see batman and allies trying to fight crime and solve cases as you know, DETECTIVES. Instead we get these weird Zur, fear state, city of bane, those guys in Detective comics constantly trying to take over Gotham with no consequences aferwards from the government so it loses its impact completely. I think the first story was well written and maybe this is a hot take but it's the only issue of Zdarsky's run that is well written from start to finish(not counting the backup, we will get to that). But then again people have been veryyyy lenient with his run till now so I am probably in a very small minority lolll.
    As for the backup I agree with everything you said. Having read Absolute Power issue 1, this was a very lackluster tie in without the urgency of that series and didn't accomplish much except creating more questions like how has Superman been taken to safety? Even if Waller doesn't take Batman seriously why would Failsafe ever ignore him ??? etc etc. I will give 8 for the first story and 4 for the backup.