Review – Batman #128: The Last Protocol

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Batman #128 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman #128 – Chip Zdarsky, Writer; Jorge Jimenez, Leonardo Romero, Artists; Tomeu Morey, Jordie Bellaire, Colorists

Ray – 9/10

Ray: Chip Zdarsky’s Batman run so far has been one of the best starts in a long time, combining the bizarre mythmaking of Grant Morrison’s run with the family focus of James Tynion IV. And all that in a story focusing on a killer robot. Failsafe, the automated mech designed to kill Batman should he cross the line, has been unleashed—and Bruce has programmed him to take out the Justice League if they try to protect him. He quickly incapacitates Superman with Kryptonite—this seems like a slight flaw in the plot. If Failsafe is designed to stop Batman if he kills an innocent, why would Batman give him the means to kill Superman? But it doesn’t make the epic battle that ensues any less exciting to read.

The hero-killer. Via DC Comics.

This issue is a non-stop action segment, as Batman and Superman hover at death’s door and the League finds their every move stymied by Failsaife time and time again. As Batman makes a dramatic sacrifice to ensure Superman survives, he finds an unlikely savior—and then discovers just how far Failsafe is willing to go to pursue his quarry and lure him out of hiding. I suppose it makes sense—this is a being designed with Batman’s stubbornness when pursuing an enemy. It doesn’t quite have the emotional punch of the previous few issues, but when it hits on all cylinders, it’s as good as the best of the run. But I’m a bit surprised by the sudden dovetail into event-style storytelling at the end.

The backup, by Leonardo Romero on art, delves back a little more into the history of the Batman of Zur-en-Arrh. This strange alien Batman that Bruce encountered when he found himself under the control of a deranged mad scientist eventually became a personality of Bruce’s own—but how? This story turns back the clock to show Bruce’s determination to protect his mind from interference, only to potentially open it up to a dangerous second personality. This is paralleled by Joker’s own transformation at the time, as the two enemies begin a dangerous collision course.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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