Chip Zdarsky’s first story arc since taking over writing on Batman ends today. He pits Batman and his friends against the ultimate Batman-killer: A killer robot named Failsafe. Stranded and alone in space, Batman #130 opens with an intense sequence of fast thinking and incredible strategic skills, but can Batman survive? Of course he can – Batman can survive anything and save everyone.
This is an exciting, intense, and masterfully told finale of a story that has pushed Batman beyond the limits we’ve ever seen. It starts with Jorge Jiménez’s incredible art, which puts you right there with Batman in the opening scenes. Adrift in space just outside of Earth, Batman has nobody to help him and is out of resources. And yet, he finds a way. It’s tricky to pull off weightlessness, but Jiménez captures the beauty and horror of this opening half of the issue.
Taking place over seven pages, this opening sequence might be one of the best in a Batman comic. It shows how resourceful he is and how he never gives up and can’t be defeated even under the worst odds. His super power is typically shown to be planning, yet Zdarsky shows even when he can’t plan and anticipate something like being left out in space, he still can figure out how to stay alive.
Oh, and bravo, Chip, for showing us how the Bat-trunks aren’t just for looks.
Much of the second half of this story pits Superman, Batman, and Robin against Failsafe back on Earth. It’s an exciting sequence, never feeling slow or boring. There are surprises galore, and Zdarsky is packing it with great ideas. One involves Superman’s laser vision being turned back on himself. Creepy. There’s also a resounding heroic moment that raises up the teamwork between Batman and Robin. Tim has been a major character in this story arc, and it’s nice to see how he fits into the final battle.
Where this story leaves us is also intriguing. While the first story arc is over, Zdarsky is clearly continuing the narrative directly into the next story arc. We don’t have much to go on, but one can start to guess where we go from here.
Also in this issue is a backup continuing Leonardo Romero and Zdarsky’s story involving Batman of Zur-En-Arrh taking over and attempting to kill Joker. It’s pretty interesting how this story, utterly separate from the main one, connects as Zdarsky reveals what inspired the creation of Failsafe and how it came from a place of great fear and a lack of compassion. The art is fantastic, as always, with an old-school feel. There’s a sequence within Batman’s mind that’s well drawn partly because it’s a bit trippy and outlandish.
Batman #130 is edge-of-your-seat action with a message about compassion and what sets Batman apart from the greatest detective and the most dangerous man alive. Zdarsky and Jiménez have done the impossible and made Batman an even more exciting and addictive read.
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