Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto, Tomeu Morey, Jorge Jimenez, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 6th, 2023
Failsafe and Red Mask have forever changed Batman, and Gotham isn’t as welcoming as it once was. Can Batman remind them who he is? Can he remind…Catwoman? The future of the Bat-books starts here, and everyone’s world is about to explode as Batman #136 by Chip Zdarsky begins to unfold!
Zdarsky quickly catches fans up and provides a great jumping-on point for anyone wanting to join in on Batman right now. We quickly see the struggles Bruce is still having and realize that Zur En Arrh hasn’t gone anywhere. Actually, he’s gotten worse. This split personality of Batman may very well get the better of him… and soon. Now, I for one, love this angle. Think about it. How could any man become “Batman”? Sure, we all see the training and finance that goes into being “Batman”. However, to mentally do what “Batman” does, to push himself to the limits, to see what he has to see, and to handle it all would take someone on the verge of a mental breakdown or personality split regularly. The point is: I’m glad this is a concept Zdarsky is flushing out and it’s long overdue.
Speaking of flushing things out, readers find out more about the Penguin, Selina, and Bruce’s other relationships crumbling around him. Now, the Selina development by Zdarsky is the perfect start to putting these two back on track to where they were years ago before Tom King. The under-the-surface relationship and tension between the two starts to return to where I think it’s best to leave the relationship up for interpretation and flexibility thanks to Zdarsky’s take in Batman #136. Additionally, readers see how deep in Batman’s psyche Zur is, what he’s been up to, and how long he’s been in the shadows without Batman knowing, which is also pretty genius.
Overall, Zdarsky hits a home run in this week’s Batman #136 by setting the stage for Zur as a possible villain. However, what makes Zur a unique villain is that it’s Bruce fighting himself… literally. Not an alternate version of himself or some clone. It’s Batman literally fighting himself. It’s almost as if we get the dueling personalities that the Hulk deals with without the internal connections. Moreover, the bigger question remains as to how Batman can fight himself. Wouldn’t he know every move his alter ego would try to anticipate in order to counter? Readers, this is going to get intense fast and I can’t wait to see where this leads. So far, Zdarsky has proven his worth since he’s taken over Batman. I can’t recommend this title enough and find myself looking forward to Batman each month just like I use too many years ago. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!