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'Batman' #136 slows things down as The growing threat of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh rises up
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Comic Books

‘Batman’ #136 slows things down as The growing threat of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh rises up

The growing threat of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh remains and may be getting worse.

If you thought the first two story arcs were a whirlwind of story, stakes, and speed, good news: Batman #136 slows things down and takes a breath. At this point, Batman is still recovering from the multiversal threat and the killer robot Failsafe he created to take himself out. In a series that shows Batman trusts no one, not even himself, Chip Zdarsky and Belén Ortega take a breather as we get closer to the Bat/Cat crossover.

Batman #136 continues to show Zdarsky is very good at reminding us of all the little pieces in play. Everything up until this point mattered, from Batman losing his hand to Batman of Zur-En-Arrh still existing as a backup inside Batman’s brain. These details remain a secret Batman refuses to share with anyone in the issue, as Batman continues to not ask for help. It’s Batman’s mental health that seems to be in question more than ever, and the cliffhanger certainly proves Batman has more to worry about inside his mind than any supervillain threat.

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This issue opens with Mr. Terrific doing a check-up on Batman. Given the damage his body took, it’s a good thing to have people watching out for him. Aside from Mr. Terrific, though, Batman doesn’t let anyone get close, including his closest vigilante friends and family. As the story progresses, we see the backups also matter, with Penguin’s kids playing heavily into this story.

Batman #136

Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is gonna be a real problem.
Credit: DC Comics

Those secrets Batman keeps from others also play a part in some surprises. I won’t spoil it, but it appears Batman may have a tricky hand to contend with going forward. That supplies ample action in the issue with some great hand-to-hand combat crafted by Ortega. The meatier drama comes by way of Batman and Catwoman conversing. Some truths pop up, including the tricky realization that Failsafe accidentally triggered and didn’t need to hurt Batman.

This issue also features a backup by Zdarsky with art by Jorge Corona titled “The Plans Below.” If you thought Batman of Zur-En-Arrh was finished in this story, think again! This backup gives us some insights into why Failsafe would trigger an attack at all. Outside of that nugget of info, the entire story is basically a training sequence between Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. It’s a reminder Failsafe didn’t know how to beat Batman overnight and needed training and care. Paired with the main story, it appears Batman of Zur-En-Arrh may be an ongoing nemesis.

As far as negatives, the backup is nearly all action and, thus, a fast read. The main story also transitions abruptly between scenes, like the opening with Terrific right into Batman meditating. The general flow is a bit jarring.

Batman #136 is a tightly-written issue allowing readers to catch up on all the antics of the last two story arcs. Given the pace up until this point, this issue feels like a good change of pace, but it appears there’s always the calm before the storm.

'Batman' #136 slows things down as The growing threat of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh rises up
‘Batman’ #136 slows things down as The growing threat of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh rises up
Batman #136
Batman #136 is a tightly-written issue allowing readers to catch up on all the antics of the last two story arcs. Given the pace up until this point, this issue feels like a good change of pace, but it appears there's always the calm before the storm.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.6
Slows things down to recenter on Batman's inability to ask for help
Batman of Zur-En-Arrh fans are kept fed
Ortega's art in the main story is great, with good action by Corona in the backup
Backup is mostly action, making it a quicker read
Main story is plotted in a way that's a jarring from scene to scene
8.5
Great
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