Batman #137 Review

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Art: Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: $4.99

Release Date: September 5th, 2023

Batman descends on Gotham City, full of rage and force, more driven than ever to save his home. But the new landscape has turned friends into foes. Can anyone stop his reign of terror? Should they? The Gotham War continues in this second chapter of Batman #137 by Chip Zdarsky! Let’s dive int and take a look.

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For those who missed it, a Gotham Civil War is taking place, except not between who you would think. You see, Bruce has been “occupied” these last couple of months. From losing most of his fortune, Zur-En-Arrh, Failsafe, traveling to different multiverses, Insomnia, and now a two-month coma, Batman has been physically, mentally, psychologically, and emotionally absent. Needless to say, it’s taken a toll. However, in Batman’s absence, Selina has stepped up to take over Gotham in a unique way. Sure, the super criminals are still loose BUT she’s ultimately found a process to limit their henchmen training them to steal from the rich, and other villains, and remove the killing from their reputation.

Here in lies the problem. Yes, we get less violent crime and death. However, we still have crime. Therefore, as Batman realizes this, he tries to put a stop to it. Surprisingly enough, the entire Bat Family is against him other than Damian. Hence the Civil War dynamic. So, where do I stand on this story beat? Well, I’m actually not too impressed. I get what Chip is doing here AND it does add a unique wrinkle that I feel hasn’t been done in recent memory (if at all). And thus, from that standpoint, I appreciate what Chip is doing, especially from the creative angle.

Nevertheless, the premise sets up a Bat Family war which we’ve all seen before. Therefore, the end result is the same. Moreover, criminal acts in order to stop more violent criminal acts don’t seem like the Batman Family way. Plus, how could almost all of them cave on Bruce, and this idea (including Dick) so easily? Years of upbringing flushed down the drain in a matter of months with Selina’s idea… just doesn’t seem believable to me. Sure, Jason’s jumping ship is a given. But Babs and Dick… I don’t buy it. If anything, I’d see Damin buying alongside Jason. However, Damian’s the only one with Batman.

Nevertheless, if we take things down to their natural, smallest conclusions we would see that Batman’s way is also illegal and therefore wrong too. Being a vigilante is not necessarily following the law either. So, why is his way better? Secondly, Batman’s actual point in Batman #137 is more sound than what Selina is doing. By training these henchmen, she’s creating the possibility of even more violent criminals in the future. Use Jason as an example. Batman really messed up with him. And now, he’s mostly off his rocker and utilizing all that knowledge given to him by Batman. Jason should realistically be behind bars. Now imagine more individuals like that. This is another aspect of what Batman is upset about.

Yet, under the surface, readers can see the fatigue and psychological stress Batman is under. We also understand that he should not be fighting crime right now anyway. So, where does all of this lead fans now? Great questions, which makes Batman #137 quite unique, exciting, and fun. It’s these stories that Chip has interjected since taking over that have rejuvenated this series. Each story has been more unexpected than the last. I didn’t see Failsafe even entering the picture let alone a multiversal romp to follow. I didn’t see Zur-En-Arrh re-entering the picture. And yet here we are. Chip added new direction, excitement, unique stories, and planned outlines for Batman since taking over. He keeps fans on their toes and adds a creative dynamic that we haven’t seen on the title for ages. Even though this story doesn’t seem as appealing as the rest, neither did the others with a first glance. There is no doubt that Chip’s success in this title alone warrants fans like myself on the fringe with this storyline to pump the breaks and give it a fair shake. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.


Batman’s #137’s unique storyline is cluttered with some fascinating layers built mainly from prior narrative dynamics by Zdarsky himself. As far as this issue goes, this story runs quickly with high energy and a Batman that’s full of aggression. Nevertheless, I’m a little worried about the premise as well as the believability of the Civil War aspect of the narrative. Not only are some of the characters on the wrong side, but the how and why seem like a bit of a reach as well.

Nevertheless, I’ll give this storyline a fair shake due to Chip’s track record that normally lands heads up. Plus, Zdarsky is generally great at starting a storyline with the premise being one angle and completely ripping the ground out from the narrative switching towards another direction quicker than it started. Meaning, this Civil War premise might just fade away anyway. No doubt, I’d give Batman #137 a good strong look. Additionally, Jimenez’s art was pretty solid like usual. However, there were a few small parts that seemed uncharacteristic. Nevertheless, I’d follow this story through to Catwoman #47 and see i where it goes. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!


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