Batman #133 – Chip Zdarsky, Writer; Mike Hawthorne/Adriano Di Benedetto, Miguel Mendonca, Artists; Tomeu Morey, Roman Stevens, Colorists
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Chip Zdarsky continues to hit it out of the park, following up his tense Failsafe arc with this amazing alternate universe tale which finds Bruce Wayne stuck in a fascist Gotham where he died long ago. With Catwoman working against her will for Red Mask and Harvey Dent patrolling the streets as a sadistic Venom-addicted judge, Bruce begins once again as Batman without any of the support he previously had. That doesn’t stop him from taking out a much more brutish version of Riddler, but he’s no closer to finding out answers. And he soon discovers that the only way he might be able to find them is by going to the source—and finding out what killed this world’s Bruce Wayne.
This leads to one of Zdarsky’s best scenes, where the Alfred of this world finds the intruder ransacking Bruce’s grave. This reminds me a lot of the brilliant scene between Peter B. Parker and Aunt May in Into the Spider-Verse. But while the emotional content is top-notch, that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of fantastic action. The battle with Judge Dent is non-stop chaos, and that leads to Bruce and Selina forming a partnership to take down the Red Mask. The still-anonymous villain has expanded Arkham’s operations in a way we’ve really never seen before, and the setting introduced at the end of the issue is just another great level-up for a series that never seems to take its foot off the gas pedal.
The Tim Drake backup is almost as intense, finding Tim in another world of the Multiverse where countless civilians have been kidnapped by Toyman. This is definitely a darker tale on Superman’s comical foe, but certainly not the darkest he’s had. His twisted desire to have a world mostly populated by toys that obey his will is an interesting wrinkle, and it’s great to see Zdarsky build on what he did with Tim in the opening arc. He’s definitely the most Bat-like of the Robins, and that makes him a compelling lead when out of his depths.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.