Batman #131 Review

by Wes Greer on January 04, 2023

Writer – Chip Zdarsky
Pencils – Mike Hawthorne
Inks – Adriano Di Benedetto
Colors – Tomeu Morey
Letters – Clayton Cowles
Publisher -DC Comics

It’s a new year and with it brings a new story arc for Chip Zdarsky’s new run on Batman. Not only are we getting a new story arc after the critically acclaimed first Failsafe arc, but we are also getting a new artist on the series with Mike Hawthorne taking over duties from previous artist, Jorge Jimenez. A new year, a new Batman arc, a new artist, but does it mean a new exciting chapter for Batman?

Batman #131 picks up right after the battle between Batman and Failsafe in the previous issue and finds Bruce in what he believes to be a Gotham in a different universe. In this issue Zdarsky relies heavily on internal dialogue for Bruce as he tried to figure out exactly what is going on and where he is, which sets up some interesting internal conflict within Bruce. To make the internal dialogue even more interesting, there is a skeleton who appears to Bruce and seems to be the skeleton of Jim Gordon, moustache and all who exist to egg Bruce on and challenge him and his thoughts. As Bruce is exploring this “new Gotham’, he runs into a familiar face, Harvey Dent who is not Two Face in this Gotham, but instead is a Judge Dredd like character, enforcing the law on civilians. A brief conflict ensues and sets up a few more interesting sequences and introduces a few more familiar characters, but they aren’t quite the versions of them we know. For a story that relies heavily on internal dialogue, Zdarsky does a good job with the pacing and sprinkling in other exciting elements that keeps the story from bogging or losing reader interest. This issue is a big change in pacing, however compared to the last arc which was action, action, action, but its still a worthwhile read with Zdarsky using it to explore who his Bruce Wayne is and set up what’s to come in the series moving forward.

For the art of this issue, Mike Hawthorne takes over duties from Jorge Jimenez. Hawthorne really shakes up the visuals of the series, bringing his more dynamic style into play, but it pays off bringing the emotions of Zdarsky’s script to life and creating an all new feel to this new Gotham that we’ve only just begun to explore. Hawthorne’s pencils get treated by the inks of Adriano Di Benedetto, who does a beautiful job bringing the dynamic line art to life and the always exceptional Tomeu Morey adds the icing on the cake with his brilliant colors that brings the world to life and really sells the emotions of the story visually.

Overall, 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.

Batman #131 is available now, so pick up a copy from your local comic shop or via digital format from your preferred digital retailer.


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