Review – Batman #130: The Final Gambit

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Batman #130 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman #130 – Chip Zdarsky, Writer; Jorge Jimenez, Leonardo Romero, Artists; Tomeu Morey, Jordie Bellaire, Colorists

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: Chip Zdarsky took a big risk with the start of his Batman run, spinning it out of the events of “Tower of Babel” and making it a high-intensity sci-fi thriller that mostly took place outside of Gotham and pulled in the entire Justice League. In the throes of self-doubt, Batman created a killer robot that would hunt him down and destroy him if he ever took a life—an idea that, no doubt, made a lot of sense when he was under the influence of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. But when he was framed for the death of Penguin, Failsafe activated—and has torn through just about every possible defense to target Batman. Now Batman finds himself barely alive, miles above the earth, desperately trying to survive long enough to get to solid ground.

Freefall. Via DC Comics.

The first part of this issue is brilliantly tense, a wordless action segment reminiscent of the Oscar-nominated thriller Gravity.” The second half teams Batman, Superman, and Tim Drake as they make a desperate last stand against Failsafe, trying to take advantage of a rare weakness that might allow them to reprogram the killer android. Along the way, we get a great look at why Tim Drake is the best Robin, plus some surprising grit from Clark—or maybe not surprising, given his actions on Warworld. But at a certain point, Bruce is forced to ask if his death is the only way to protect what he values most—and that leads to a stunning last few pages that set us up for a confusing and very different status quo. Zdarsky never fails to surprise.

The backup wraps up the Zur-En-Arrh story with art by Leonardo Romero, as Batman and his new alter ego reckon with some of the thornier issues of his war on crime. We’ve all heard the debate that the ethical thing is for Batman to kill the Joker, and Batman articulates the opposition against his more feral alter ego. Romero’s art style is what really sells this, contrasting the classic noir of Gotham with the technicolor surrealism of the new addition. On its own, the backup is odd, but it works very nicely with the main story.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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