Josh Williamson and Jorge Molina’s final issue of “The Abyss” storyline is out this week in Batman #121, but how does Batman win against other Batman figures while also being blind? It’s a good question, but luckily Lex Luthor is by his side to help win the day. Wait…what?!
If you’re unfamiliar with this story arc, a mysterious figure known as Abyss has taken Batman’s eyesight away with some kind of chemical or power. Meanwhile, various Batman figures from Batman Inc. are no longer Batman’s allies, but working for Abyss. Or so we think, anyway. This issue wraps up the Abyss story for now while supplying ample explanations for what has really been going on.
Art by Molina is great, as well as by Mikel Janin, who supplies art for the first page. There’s something about the way Molina’s lines subtly come through on Batman’s mask or Abyss’s cowl that adds texture and depth. Colors by Tomeu Morey are great too, with pinks and purples in the sunsetting sky, or incredible lighting as Batman lights up his Bat logo in one scene. The neon lights of the city are also expertly colored, adding an atmospheric vibe that feels modern and cool.
As far as conclusions go, Williamson wraps things up with some satisfying scenes, but the end makes you want more. There’s a moment where Batman gets to turn the tables not once, but twice with the second turn in the story flipping the script on Abyss’s powers. It’s a neat trick and shows how Batman can think on his feet. It’s somewhat hard to buy that Abyss would believe the international Batman characters would go along with him, but actions in this issue reveal a different direction for that.
Williamson is playing a bit with Batman’s typical stubbornness to ask for help, which is a nice wrinkle. It was touched on the last issue, but here we see maybe Batman learned a little something. It’s the biggest takeaway from the issue since how Abyss exits the story is less than satisfying. Call it a page count issue, but he blips out to fight another day.
The story ends in a way that’s too explanatory with less showing and telling, though. Four or so pages explain what happens next for Lex in a conversation on a rooftop. This leads directly into the big tee-up for “Shadow War” which is Williamson’s crossover event. Speaking of, the final page is gorgeously done by Molina.
Karl Kerschl’s backup story also wraps up following Mia Mizoguchi, who has donned a Robin costume and wants to solve a crime. That detective work has led her to the sewers where, thankfully, Batman shows up to help her. Kerschl does a good job here putting Mia back on the case and showing how she thinks via her notes depicted in captions. She’s determined, and a little stubborn, but she knows she’s onto something. Batman looks as cool as ever in this tale, too, and colors by Dave McCaig add to the experience.
Batman #121 wraps up the Abyss story arc with some growth for Batman and a cool concept that flips Abyss’ strength on its head. It closes things off a little too conveniently, though, and spends crucial time setting up “Shadow War” when Abyss is let off the hook storytelling-wise. That said, the book looks incredibly unique under Molina and Morey’s visual stylings putting a high sheen on an interesting new villain.
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