Review: ‘Batman’ #135 Is A Joyous Celebration Of The Dark Knight

The multiverse is rapidly becoming more and more common a trope in comics today, bordering on cliche. With Batman #135, we get to see the trope used in a very different way- as a celebration.

Chip Zdarsky, Mike Hawthorne, Jorge Jimenez, Mikel Janin, Adriano Di Bennedetto, Tomeu Morey, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Clayton Cowles celebrate 900 issues of Batman with this anniversary issue.

The Red Mask has enacted his plan, tapping into the Bleed to transform himself into the Joker. Bruce Wayne is the only thing standing in his way. What neither man expects is the multiverse spanning battle to come, a battle that could save or doom all of existence.

Zdarsky’s Batman so far has been a hard thing to get a handle on. After an opening arc that seemed to play with every Bat-trope and Bat-cliche, and a confusing alternate reality arc, Zdarsky rolls right into a resolution and then starts using the multiverse to celebrate Batman. Every moment in the back half of the book is about the journey the franchise has taken to reach the point it has today. It’s a little disjointed and some of it is a little too hokey and self-referential, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun, and that’s what’s important in stories like this.

More than anything though, this issue is an artist showcase. Hawthorne, Di Bennedetto, and Janin depict a riot that’s as energetic as any film version of the Dark Knight would be. They all pace it well, making the first chapter of this issue a lot of fun to read. The colors look great (thought I’m not sure if they’re Fajardo or Morey in this chapter), particularly the multiverse red glow of the Bleed.

Where this issue takes off and absolutely shines is in Jimenez’s pages. If it wasn’t clear already, Bruce’s trip through the multiverse is far and away proof that Jimenez is one of the best superhero artists in comics right now. He not only steps in with his own distinctive style and chronicles Bruce’s trip, but he perfectly mimics the style of some of the greatest Batman artists and films in history.

We get two different live action incarnations, Kelley Jones, Mike Mignola, Bruce Timm (somehow in two completely distinct ways- TAS and Beyond), Alex Ross and Frank Miller all in a span of about ten pages. 

While doing these homages, you can still see Jimenez shining through, and it’s amazing. It’s all done in such a way that you know exactly who he’s homaging, but he also uses it to service the story that he and Zdarsky are telling. This is what Batman can be when it leans into the sci-fi absurdity. Add Morey’s colors, which both mimic the artists that are being homaged and bring light and depth to the page in his usual style, and it’s a stunning book.

Batman #135/900 is available now from DC Comics.

The multiverse is rapidly becoming more and more common a trope in comics today, bordering on cliche. With Batman #135,COMICONRead More

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