Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto, Tomeu Morey, Jorge Jimenez, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: March 7th, 2023
Everyone goes insane eventually. And then they belong to the terrifying Red Mask! But Gotham City has a new savior. He strikes from the shadows, exhumes the dead, and is known only as…the Batman. Let’s dive into Batman #133 by Chip Zdarsky and see how this story shakes out.
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Chip Zdarsky has created our Batman but in a New Universe. It’s the best of both worlds. Readers get classic characters redefined, new story beats, and a sea of new discoveries. It’s kind of like the New 52 recreated Universe but with our old Batman and some clever new twists. Hey Batman fans, anything goes! New relationships are formed and old ones are rediscovered. Nevertheless, it gets better. Batman is… Batman again! He’s Vengeance! He’s fear! He’s the night! He’s what every fan fell in love with that has been pushed to the side for so long. We get to see that Batman again fighting crime more up to his steam with fewer Multiversal threats and otherworldly catastrophes. This Batman is back to his roots and Zdarksy made it happen in the weirdest of ways… but it happened and it’s outstanding.
The backstory is fine. It shows the quick premise as to how we get Batman home… to a degree. However, fans can see that most of the time and energy is placed on the main story. That said, I don’t want to rush this story or its Universe. Truthfully, I’d love Batman to stay here for quite some time. This New Universe Zdarsky has created is stellar and has so much room for good stories just like the Injustice Universe and the Flashpoint Universe before it. Heck, we’ve only seen Gotham in this Universe. What about the rest of the Planet? Where’s there Superman or Justice League and why would they let Gotham go to the crapper like this? Readers, the ideas and stories are endless. And the only future knock I could give this story arc would be if they race away from here too soon. Batman can always make it back with time being manipulated like he barely left if need be. Better yet, pause this story and bring Batman back to his main title. However, have Zdarsky kick start an ongoing with the escapades within this Universe.
Mike Hawthorne’s Batman in this Universe is this amalgam of a Dark Knight Batman, Earth 2, Year One version of the character but with all the experience and fighting prowess of a veteran. The half-armor mask with the detailed screw and bolt holes mixed with the knee/ shin armor and forearm accessories makes this Batman look even more bad$&@ than the rest. Additionally, his play-by-play, especially in the fight scene with Judge Kent, was outstanding and incredibly easy to follow. It’s almost action movie quality with the panel progressions, lettering, and powerful design from this art team. The way Hawthorne and this creative team work with Zdarsky’s story is just masterful.
Batman #133 continues Zdarsky’s wildly creative story with a Batman more familiar to the diehard fans of yore. Vengeance is back baby! The Bat of Gotham is ready to strike fear in the hearts of everyone as he single-handedly drains this evil, corrupted Gotham Swamp. Moreover, the action is relentless from start to finish. From excavating dead bodies to fighting venomized villains, Batman takes fans down memory lane as to why we all love this character so much. Readers, I haven’t had this much fun in this title in years. Sure, Failsafe was a good arc and it changed the trajectory of the series well. But Batman #133 finally provides this title with the excitement it’s been missing for quite some time. I know it’s in the middle of the arc, but Batman fans should be back on this title. Get the back issues and trades of Zdarsky’s run and hop on board while you still can.