Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: August 2nd, 2022
BATMAN has fought all kinds of fugitives, nightmares, villains, and rogues throughout the years. However, nobody could have prepared the Dark Knight for what’s in store with Failsafe, which just so happens to be an indestructible assailant (robot) that can outthink and outfight BATMAN’S every move. So, how can BATMAN stop a machine crafted to know every move before he does it? Let’s dive into BATMAN #126 by Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez to find out!
WEST TO WAYNE
See if you can follow my train of thought through this: Wally West looked like he was lost. The character looked destroyed and after HEROES IN CRISIS, as well as countless other recent missteps, it looked almost impossible to right that ship. Enter Jeremy Adams who has done a fantastic job making readers forget all about these blunders by infusing unrelated stories that were fun back into the character designed to get fans to forget about what was and ultimately move forward.
Now, why did I bring this up in a BATMAN review? I’m glad you asked. Simply put: Chip Zdarsky is doing the very same thing with the first two issues of his BATMAN run. After King’s nonsense, DEATH METAL, right into silly extremities like JOKER WAR from Tynion, we find an extraordinarily different Bruce Wayne and BATMAN. Needless to say, it’s been a long six years for BATMAN just like it’s been for Wally West. So, Zdarsky sees this, and instead of piling on more zany, artificial, uncharacteristic storytelling involving everyone’s favorite detective, Chip gives fans a simple, easy-to-follow story that’s cluttered with action, intensity, and downright fun! Quickly, fans forget about what was, lean towards the present, and become encapsulated by Zdarsky’s storytelling.
BATMAN #126 is straightforward, easy to follow, action-packed, and even throws a bone to end the issue for the hardcore fans to get excited for. The average fan will have no idea what the cliffhanger means. But, to the invested Bat-fan, they’ll get the reference and the enthusiasm that surrounds it. You see, Zdarsky has created a short, 6-issue story (probably), that drops some fresh story beats in a clever way and ultimately makes Bruce Wayne his own worst enemy thanks to the Penguin’s sneaky suicidal crusade.
Nevertheless, BATMAN #126 doesn’t stop there. The ending hints at something many have always wondered about the character. Now, I personally don’t think it’s ironic that MOON KNIGHT arrived on the Disney + scene right around the time when Zdarsky could have been writing the script for this run. Regardless, the parallels between multiple personalities and BATMAN’S crime-fighting agenda have always been low-hanging fruit ripe for the taking. Is BATMAN just as nutty as the mentally disturbed he throws back in Arkham?
Well, Zdarsky introduces that carrot slyly as BATMAN #126 ends with a throwback to Grant Morrison’s BATMAN run which began back in 2006. And trust me when I say, if we are looking for a way to forget the semi-recent events taking place in BATMAN, this is a very impressive strategy to do just that by incorporating something brand new for the new recruits since 2016 while also throwing out one hyphenated word that should trigger just about any diehard BATMAN fan to pick this new series up and revisit Morrison’s run. Readers, it’s genius! Well done Chip!
Jorge Jimenez continues to kill it with his action scenes that ultimately make this issue of BATMAN so intense in the first place. Readers, BATMAN #126 is practically one big throw down until the brutal end. And that being said only furnishes how important Jimenez was to the vitality and excitement surrounding this story and issue.
Nevertheless, I always enjoy picking out one or two pages that set the tone of the issue for me. Fans should look to page three of BATMAN #126 where they’ll find a half-page spread of Bruce contemplating his next move over a computer screen. And let me tell you, that spread is vivid and detailed to perfection. Bruce is angry, tired, and a bit worn with age, which is another huge component of this tale. Yet, it’s Jimenez who takes the words and makes them a reality with Bruce’s expressions and mannerisms. Additionally, this creative team takes one explosion after another, drops out the backgrounds, and focuses each scene exactly where your eyes need to be. The story may be sheet genius but it’s Jimenez who gives this wicked tale its potency!
BATMAN #126 has energy, action, and story beats that mean something to the hardcore fan. This issue of BATMAN is a super easy read that will go by fast but leave fans with the perfect balance of exuberance coupled with the story. Mirror the exceptional writing with Jimenez’s explosive designs and dynamic renderings and readers get a BATMAN story that will certainly help fans forget all about the past six years of “what the heck is going on?!” in your BATMAN series. If you’ve left BATMAN in recent years, I strongly recommend jumping back on board with BATMAN #126. Just start with issue 125 to get the full story which should still be easy to find. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!