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'Batman' #135 (LGY #900) celebrates in style
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‘Batman’ #135 (LGY #900) celebrates in style

This issue works both as a celebration of Batman and a good ending to this specific story.

Chip Zdarsky and Mike Hawthorne’s multiverse story arc comes to an end in an extra-size milestone issue of Batman #135, which is also Batman‘s 900th issue in legacy numbering. I wasn’t sure how a finale to a story arc could also be a milestone issue, but this issue acts as both a celebration of Batman and a good ending to a specific story. That’s thanks to the multiverse element, which allows the creators to make a statement about Batman and honor every character iteration.

Batman #135 opens where we left off. Bruce is trapped in an alternate dimension where Bruce Wayne died, and a man named Red Mask has been quietly controlling things. Without a Batman, folks like Harvey Dent have been given amped-up powers thanks to Venom and controlling Gotham like a fascist state. Hellbent on stopping Red Mask — this universe’s version of Joker — and one hand short, Batman begins an epic journey to stop him.

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The first half of this issue is devoted to Batman getting to Red Mask and seeing how folks like Alfred were inspired by Batman to rise up and fight against injustice. Along the way, Red Mask comes to a conclusion about himself. He’s the only form of Joker that isn’t insane. He’s still dangerous, though, and in his attempts to connect with other universe’s Jokers, he starts to royally mess with the other timelines and universes. This chunk of the story acts like a wrap-up on the story arc before things go off the deep end.

I don’t want to spoil too much here, but know that many different versions of Batman make appearances in this issue. They are very familiar, iconic, and important to the Batman mythos. Seeing the in-continuity Batman meet Michael Keaton’s Batman, for instance, is an incredible idea. Since the main continuity Batman is meeting these other iterations, it elevates him to being the prime Batman that has seen it all and knows it all.

DC Preview: Batman #135 (LGY #900)

Time to take Red Mask down.
Credit: DC Comics

Along the way, Zdarsky makes it clear Batman isn’t just jumping through the multiverse for nods to fan-favorite iterations of Batman. These cameos act as reminders Red Mask is royally screwing up these other universes and needs to be stopped as soon as possible. The stakes are raised by seeing more evil versions of Joker pop up.

I will argue, however, when Batman does reach Red Mask, it’s a bit of a downer that the villain is basically giving up. Yes, Batman does get to triumphantly use an iconic Bat weapon to eventually stop Red Mask, but all the buildup feels a bit unnecessary since Red Mask was basically waiting to be punched out. You can’t argue that the journey to get here, though was incredibly fun and entertaining.

Closing out the issue is a cliffhanger splash page that should get folks talking. The concept is one we’ve seen in recent comics at Marvel — a team of singular characters from different universes who want to beat our hero — but you can’t deny the insane idea at work here will be fun to explore further.

The majority of the art is by Hawthorne until page 18, where Mikel Janin takes over for a stretch. Hawthorne pops in again for a long stretch until Jorge Jimenez joins the team for the multiverse scenes. The art change helps distinguish Batman is jumping into other universes. Considering the caliber of all three artists, this comic is flawlessly drawn. Props to Jimenez for drawing some very good likenesses of famous actors who played Batman and the homaging look and feel of other artists. Tomeu Morey and Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colors pull it all together in a seamless package.

Batman #135 is a lot of fun. It wraps up the current story arc, makes strong statements about Batman and Joker’s roles across the multiverse, and gets to give in-continuity Batman a chance to meet Batman icons across media and comic miniseries. It’s a huge and epic idea at work here, and the creative team pulls it off, guaranteeing you’ll have a big stupid smile on your face while you read it.

'Batman' #135 (LGY #900) celebrates in style
‘Batman’ #135 (LGY #900) celebrates in style
Batman #135 (LGY #900)
Batman #135 is a lot of fun. It wraps up the current story arc, makes strong statements about Batman and Joker's roles across the multiverse, and gets to give in-continuity Batman a chance to meet Batman icons across media and comic miniseries. It's a huge and epic idea at work here, and the creative team pulls it off guaranteeing you have a big stupid smile on your face while you read it. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.7
First half wraps up the story arc and the last third gets ambitious with the multiverse
Fantastic art by all three pencilers and the color artists
A really fun way to celebrate Batman with an continuity story
Red Mask is defeated not by Batman's wits, but simply because he kinda hits the end of a road
9
Great
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