Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 5th, 2022
Bruce Wayne is at a crossroads, plagued by nightmares of a future yet to come all while Gotham billionaires are being slaughtered. This my friends kicks off Chip Zdarsky’s BATMAN run as he introduces a new villain and a new era simultaneously while discovering an old archenemy’s involvement as “Failsafe” begins! Let’s dive into BATMAN #125 as the DARK KNIGHTS’ own nightmares truly start to unfold.
Chip Zdarsky kicks off his run with an incredibly fast-paced, thrilling tale that felt like a mix of different iterations of the Caped Crusader all in one. Readers will see elements of a more aggressive BATMAN (like the DARK KNIGHT or even Affleck) sautéed with some BATMAN 66’ all dressed up in a DETECTIVE COMICS tortilla shell. I couldn’t help but be pleased to see a ROBIN back in the comics, an extra down-to-earth twist that made BATMAN #125 more of a thriller, parallels to other legendary BATMAN lore, and all while maintaining the current status quo.
Zdarsky doesn’t forget about what’s been happening in recent BATMAN stories or throw everything to the side to jump at HIS story. He finds a clever way of assembling his narrative amongst the building blocks that were left for him in a rather unique way. Plus, he opens in style with a hook that will instantly draw fans in even if the story veers off in a different direction. Moreover, what’s also impressive is the overall premise of BATMAN #125 doesn’t feel “new” nor does the endgame. Still, all the pieces together jive so well creating a story with some true potential.
Yet if I’m being honest, which is the point of any review, the cliffhanger was actually the most deflating part of the issue. I’m tired of robots, alternate realities, and fail-safes in case someone goes off the rails. And that’s exactly what this feels like. I understand this isn’t DETECTIVE COMICS, but I want a good mystery-thriller with a story reminiscent of some classic BATMAN tales that don’t incorporate Sci-Fi for once.
I think no one would argue that Jorge Jimenez’s work on Tynion’s run was the best part of that run. So, seeing him carry over into Zdarsky’s first issue of BATMAN, was certainly a positive continuation. For those unfamiliar with his style, as well as his past performance, it has an inkling that resembles Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS but with a bit more of a bright and vibrant vibe.
Jimenez was quoted saying that he wanted to make this BATMAN “feel timeless”. With the mix of styles, alongside the action sequences flying off each page, I think he very well might have hit the mark! As for some of my favorite panels and pages, I love the opening three JOKER splash as well as the “Bat Cowl in a suit” fight scene. Plus, Jimenez’s Penguin is so raw and adds incredible depth to the story.
What a fantastic start for Zdarsky’s run! The dialogue between characters, as well as the monologuing, was spot on BATMAN. The characters chosen to be a part of BATMAN #125 were a perfect fit, the tie-ins to the current ￼BATMAN landscape were well balanced, and the suspense drove the tone of the issue masterfully.
Readers get a classic BATMAN who can fight, not a BATMAN that’s always backed into a corner, loses battles, and needs to magically dig his way out by some off-panel plan that was there the entire time when really it wasn’t. The plot is strong, the potential is ripe for the taking, and the direction is up for debate, which provides great water cooler talk for BATMAN fans. I simply hope the cliffhanger isn’t a focal point for multiple issues and turns into a rock-solid story beat I didn’t see coming. If Zdarsky’s DAREDEVIL run is any indication, I think we are in good hands. Fans don’t need more robots, or fail-safe story beats. We need a good old fashion BATMAN story that takes us back to what we love the most about the character. And, I think Zdarsky can do just that. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!