Gotham City has never been darker or deadlier.
And after Failsafe, there is no Batman to save it.
Can the fractured ghost that roams the streets survive?
Whatever happened to the man known as… Bruce Wayne?
Comic WatchBatman #131 very smartly pivots direction from the high-stakes bombast of the previous issue (and arc). Character-driven and far more personal in scale (despite being a "trapped in the multiverse" story), Chip Zdarsky is proving he has what it takes to move the needle on what makes Batman Batman and redefine that for the next generation of readers in a way that honors the past yet yet recontextualizes it in bold new ways. Bravo.
AIPTBatman #131 changes gears dramatically, throwing Bruce Wayne into the deep end of an entirely different universe. We're privy to some excellent fight choreography as we try to unpack how Gotham is different, driving your interest in the larger mystery.
Geek DadThis is the second time Batman has “died” in recent months, so that makes emphasizing the stakes here a little more difficult, but the Tim Drake backup nicely sidesteps this issue. Tim is refusing to accept Bruce as dead, just like he did after Final Crisis, but this time he has people backing him up. With the help of Nightwing and Jon Kent, he starts investigating a mystery with ties to another recently deceased villain. Zdarsky did an amazing job of emphasizing just how well Bruce and Tim work as partners, and this story is the ideal evolution of that dynamic.
Fortress of Solitude
First Comics NewsIn the aftermath of the “Failsafe” arc, Bruce Wayne suddenly finds himself in an alternate version of Gotham that madness is the norm, Harvey Dent is a brutal version of Bane…..and no Batman since that earth’s Bruce Wayne Is dead! For the most part, it looks like DC is taking a page out of Marvel’s book by exploring the Multiverse for this new arc by bringing some new aspects to it such as exploring the dystopian elements of this Gotham City that feel very outlandish while giving off an “Outer Limits” feel to it that really brings a fresh perspective to this issue; While the conclusion of “Failsafe” was without a doubt shocking and dark, exploring a Gotham without a Batman feels too much like “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne”, I have faith that Chip Zdarsky and Mike Hawthorne will continue this new approach for Batman that will challenge in ways that weren’t even possible.
The Super Powered FancastThe Story: A dark, engaging set of stories from Zdarsky. The main story has some great action and thrills while creating an engaging mystery for the character. The other story has some great psychological drama with Tim that is equally engaging as Tim struggles with his inability to stop Failsafe or rescue Bruce. The Art: Both artists deliver beautiful visuals throughout the issue. Hawthorne crafts a beautifully dark and bleak Gotham. Mendonca creates some great visual thrills with the action in the story.
Batman on FilmOverall, this is an interesting start to Zdarsky’s second arc in BATMAN. There are more questions than answers, but also a little bit of resolution.
The Comicbook DispatchIf you’re not one for previews or solicits, Batman #131 should be a wild ride. It’s an unexpected story delineating from the Failsafe ending that doesn’t completely jive with the direction of the story. Nevertheless, even though Batman #131 wasn’t anticipated, it still had its moments that instantly hooked this reviewer into the story. However, the change is so drastic, I found myself staggering to find my footing and needed a solid re-read to better appreciate the actual story that was being told. Now, this wasn’t Zdarksy’s Failsafe run that’s been humming on all cylinders since he took over the book. Yet, I still found myself entertained by the unique cast of characters and the multiversal mayhem that awaits on the horizon. So for now, I’m in hopes that we don’t get huge gaps of time between this new story and what’s happening back in the Prime Earth’s Gotham with Failsafe. I would love the full attention here on this new story and not split between the two places. In order to really hook the readers on this new development, I think Zdarsky will need every page to do just that.
COMICONAn interesting start to an alternate Earth tale. The art’s great, but the story is a little scattered. It seems to be headed in the right direction though.
Comics: The GatheringOverall, Batman #131 is not the exciting wham, bam action that we’ve seen previously from Zdarsky, but is a worthwhile read that really explores the inner conflict of Bruce all brought to life visually by new artist Mike Hawthorne who brings a new dynamic stylization to the series in an exciting fashion thanks to the help of the rest of the creative art team.
Dark Knight NewsBatman #131 is a great start to a new era for Batman in a new world. It’s opened up new potential for interesting storylines and character interactions. Whilst this new setting won’t last forever, there’s a lot of story to be mined and we should be in for some exciting months ahead.
The Batman UniverseBatman #131 sees the launch of an exciting and refreshing Batman adventure that gives off serious Grant Morrison Batman vibes (in a good way).
Henchman-4-HireThe next chapter of Chip Zdarsky's Batman kicks off with a nice issue of set-up and character exploration. And he continues to do great things with Robin, so I'm happy with that.
Comics Nexus by Inside PulseA fun issue that is quite entertaining as Batman is a very new environment. Decent art.
Get Your Comic OnA well structured and intriguing first chapter for a brand new arc. Both stories perfectly compliment each other to create an overall narrative that picks up right where Failsafe left off.
Women Write About Comics - WWAC
Major SpoilersThough I’m still a bit nervous about what could happen next, Batman #131 gives us a fresh start for Zdarsky and company’s Dark Knight and sets the stage for something fresh in Gotham City, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. There’s been a LOT of multiverse stories lately, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen one that uses the concept from the perspective of a person IN the world, rather than a top-down view of realities clashing, and I really like how this is unfolding.
ComicBook.comTo say that Chip Zdarsky has been doing an incredible job on this Batman run would be a little bit of an understatement. His first batch of issues building up the threat of Failsafe and ultimately culminating in a wild cliffhanger at the end of Batman #130, which left the fate of Gotham's hero an explosive question mark, were thrilling and introspective in a way that brought a freshness to the title without sacrificing any of the familiarity of the iconic character. The issues were, in a very tangible way, a fine example of how you do a dark Batman story without succumbing to too much darkness. This week's Batman #131 picks up from that cliffhanger and plunges the story deeper into the darkness. While it's a move that might feel like it operates counter to the idea of balance Zdarsky created up to now, the result is an intriguing detour from what Batman fans might expect even if this first installment is a little slow to get off the ground.
Graham Crackers ComicsSigh! So Bruce Wayne is going multi-dimensional again. This time Bruce finds himself in a version of Gotham that has no Batman. Which has Bruce wondering if Failsafe’s attack is a curse or a gift. And while I’ve seen Bruce as a pirate, a caveman, etc. so this is nothing new. However, Chip Zdarsky has dreamed up a universe with a skeleton James Gordon, a Judge (Harvey) Dent hopped up on Venom, and a version of Red Mask that reminds me somewhat of Azrael. And it is a pretty interesting read. Not sure where we are going with this but it’s worth a look-see. Especially with the way Mike Hawthorne draws skulls with moustaches and smoking a pipe.
Comic Book RevolutionBatman’s 2023 direction starts in a way that is reminiscent of the characters’ direction throughout 2022 with Shadows of the Batman and Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths. Because of that, it does take a lot more work for Chip Zdarksy and Mike Hawthorne to build momentum for this new story where Bruce Wayne finds himself trapped in an Elseworld universe somewhere in the Multiverse. Now with Batman #131 getting the set-up out of the way the next issue will be key in getting a full buy-in for this new storyline.
Weird Science DC ComicsBatman #131 takes a big step backward in the creativity department by transporting Batman to an alternate Earth where everything is slightly off. The technical execution is fine, but the story concept is so played out, it's become a boring clich.
Batman-NewsI had quite a bit of fun reading this issue because the fights are so entertaining, but in terms of plotin both the main story and the backupit remains to be seen how strong this stuff will be. It definitely doesn't help Zdarsky that he's drawing so heavily from the Morrison era, but with this being but the first chapter of the new arc, it's still possible for the creative team to course correct and deliver something awesome. That said, this is a direct follow-up to the "Failsafe arc and while there's a little bit of exposition to explain that stuff for new readers, I don't think this is a great jumping-on point. If you don't know what happened previously, you might be a little lost when you first pick up this book.