Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez take Batman into a brave and bold new era with Batman #125. Here’s my review.
Batman #125: Failsafe: Part One
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Cover Artists: Jim Lee, Francesco Mattina, Inhyuk Lee, Gabrielle Dell’otto, Simone Di Meo, Jock, Alex, Garner, Jorge Jimenez, and Chip Zdarsky
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
It’s been a while since I posted in this here web log journal of sorts. I’ve been busy staying alive during the pandemic, basking in the glory of working from home, and figuring out what a TikTok is. But enough about me, let’s talk about Batman and the start of a new era in Batman #125!
It has also been a while since I read a Batman comic that is part of an ongoing series. The last time I partook in some regular Batman comic book goodness was way back in 2016 at the very beginning of Tom King’s run on the series. I believe that was when Batman rode an airplane the wrong way.
Correction: He rode it THE BATMAN WAY. Which is always the right way.
So I missed a big chunk of this series just because I’m not the biggest fan of Batman and I was already entangled in several Marvel titles. But when they announced that Chip Zdarsky was coming in to take over Batman, it made me sit up, crouch like a gargoyle on my computer chair, and pay attention to my laptop screen.
Chip Zdarsky’s Daredevil run, which is still ongoing — which means the dude is writing both Batman AND Daredevil at the same time — is fantastic. His Substack newsletter is pretty entertaining too. I’m a fan to say the least. And I’m glad I followed him non-creepily out of Hell’s Kitchen and into Gotham City.
Zdarsky didn’t have to reinvent the bat-wheel. That’s probably why they didn’t relaunch the series with a new #1, which is quite refreshing to see these days. He didn’t mess with the way characters have been generally perceived by both fans and the general public who probably only consumes Bat-movies and weird Bat-merchandise.
Batman, his villains, his friends, Gotham City, it’s all part of a formula that already works, and Mr. Zdarsky understands that. He just placed Batman in somewhat new, interesting, tense, awkward, and dangerous situations so we can all watch and see how this grumpy, no-nonsense, bat-themed personification of vengeance will react. This is why Batman works as a character so well in the first place. You can drop him in any setting and he will most likely respond to it in an entertaining fashion. Just like Mr. Bean.
Yup. Just like Mr. Bean.
We’ve seen dozens of interpretations of Batman already in all types of media, and everyone has their own Bat-preference. I want my Batman to be all-business, scary, and almost inhumanly cold when dealing with both friends and superstitious cowardly criminals. But also human and flawed. It looks like Zdarsky is giving us that particular Batman here and I’m all for it. Dude gets Batman.
He also inserts a few fun twists in the story. These are not mind-blowing shockers, but expectations are still challenged enough for fans to find delight in said twists. This is the kind of comic book that people would definitely enjoy more without spoilers — but they won’t kill you if you spoiled it for them either.
I’m not here just to sing Zdarsky praises, though. I’m here to also give Jorge Jimenez his flowers because damn, his art is gorgeous!
He draws characters, locations, and objects with grit and a level of being sketchy but still with clean lines and solid forms. I would love to pick up copies of his regular and variant covers for Batman #125. Probably when I find it in my heart to drive an hour to the nearest comic book shop.
I’m also giving props to colorist Tomeu Morey for making Jimenez’s art pop with color while still keeping it dark and moody.
The Catwoman backup story is fun too. I missed the whole there’s-a-wedding-but-oops-it-didn’t-happen drama so I have no clue how Catwoman fits in Batman’s world now. But this ends with an enticing wrinkle in the post-life of a dead character that may be a lot of fun to explore. We’ll see.
Not gonna lie, Batman is not my jam, but after reading Batman #125, I’m willing to make him my jam.
Normally, I would rather explore other non-Batman DC characters or titles from non-DC/Marvel publishers whenever I want to stray away from my usual Marvel/X-Men crack, but because Zdarsky and Jimenez made Batman feel fresh and human, I’ll stick around for this new Bat-era for a bit.
And maybe — just maybe — Batman will gain a new rabid fan in me. Because if there’s one character who needs more fans, it’s Batman?
Batman #125 is available now wherever fine comic books are sold.