Review: ‘Batman’ #125 Begins A Dark New Era
by Tony Thornley
The latest era of Batman starts this month with both this week’s Batman and a new run on Detective Comics in a few weeks. So how does the first entry in the relaunch fare?
The new creative team steps in here without missing a beat. Writer Chip Zdarsky is joined by Batman legends Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles, with a back-up by Zdarsky, Belen Ortega, Luis Guerrero, and Cowles.
Batman is pushing too hard, too far. A string of murders in Gotham have pushed him to his absolute limit, and he needs to stop the Penguin from eliminating any more of Gotham’s elite. However, unknown to him, Bruce Wayne is about to inadvertently cause the most harrowing period of his life.
This is a tough story to get a grasp on. There’s a lot here to like, but also a few places in it falls short.
Far and away the best thing about the issue is Jimenez and Morey returning to art. They are perhaps the best art team working at DC right now and it’s a lot of fun to spend time pouring over their pages. Jimenez has opted for a slightly sketchier style for this series, which matches the darker tone of the story. His page compositions are fantastic, and there’s so much detail here that it’s worth rereading a time or two just to look closely at the art. Morey’s colors makes Gotham feel real and he drapes Bruce in shadow constantly, making him feel otherworldly.
As for the story, I really enjoyed the character work and some interesting details that Zdarsky added to the script. I finally watched The Batman this weekend. One of the best things about it was Bruce Wayne’s over the top, high drama narration. We get that a lot in the issue, but this Bruce is much older, and that adds a layer of weariness to his words. I loved the use of the Penguin, which takes a turn halfway through the issue that shifts him from weirdly out-of-character to a clever mastermind. Cowles does a great job in bringing the script to life, especially as Bruce starts to unravel.
As for the plot, it’s interesting but a little generic. This will be one that might need some time to grow on me. The Penguin side of things is very interesting. But for our lead, the story drags a bit, and strangely mimics the plot points of other Batman stories (“Knightfall” in particular). I’ll give it a few more issues and we’ll see from there.
The Catwoman back-up is a lot of fun. It’s tied directly to the main plot, which so many of these back-ups have been missing. Ortega’s art was just right for the tone of the story, while Guerrero uses a similar palette to Morey, which ties the two stories together in more than plot.
The run is off to an interesting start and I’m on board to see what’s next.
Batman #125 is available now from DC Comics.
The latest era of the Dark Knight kicks off with a gorgeous issue featuring great character development and a ton of potential for the the future.