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'Batman' #137 is a clear, well-structured, and great to look at issue

Comic Books

‘Batman’ #137 is a clear, well-structured, and great to look at issue

Batman lays the beat down in part two of The Gotham War.

After being confronted by Catwoman about her plans to enlist and train low-level goons into an army of ‘Robin Hood’ type thieves, Batman drew a line in the grimy streets of Gotham. He is there to stop all crime, regardless of the benefits Catwoman says are happening. A decision that now puts him in confrontation with many in the Bat-Family. Batman #137 is an action-heavy second part of The Gotham War arc, which may leave some readers wondering where this story is going and if they want to stick around to find out.

Unsurprisingly, the issue looks terrific. It’s not a shock when you have the incredible team of artist Jorge Jimenez, colorist Tomeu Morey, and letterer Clayton Cowles. From top-to-bottom, the book is gorgeous. Jimenez has such a wonderfully cinematic style of art, creating panels that are so kinetic and fluid you feel like you can hear the impact of the ‘BRAK‘s and ‘THROOM‘s Cowles has put in. Morey brings a heightened level of mood to each panel, knowing what each panel calls for. Whether it’s lighting characters by fire, diffusing the colors when there is smoke, or letting the reds of blood pop, Morey ties the whole issue together into a stunning package.

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'Batman' #137 Review

Credit: DC Comics

Looking at the technical side of the writing, Chip Zdarsky has crafted a strong issue. There is an explosive opening, some good character conversations, and the story beats make sense in the context of the issue and arc. Plus, there is a nice cliffhanger to wrap the whole thing up. Zdarsky has created a unique voice for Batman, and it’s interesting to see it play off the other characters, particularly when it comes to its difference from the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.

There are a few moments (referring to a character as a mass murderer, for example) that do feel out of character, but by and large, the dynamics between everyone in the issue work well. Characters’ choices of sides in the war make sense. Little plot happens within the issue. Deciding who falls on which side of the war takes up most of the book. There is little forward momentum for readers to attach themselves to moving into part three.

The issue is full content-wise. On top of Batman battling his psyche, villains gather, Bat-Family members pick sides, real-estate litigations, and there is a surprising cameo to cap everything off. It leaves the entire issue feeling full while lacking the Batman-Catwoman interactions the arc advertised on.

'Batman' #137 Review

Credit: DC Comics

However, if you’ve enjoyed Zdarsky’s run on the series so far, issue #137 will no doubt continue your enjoyment. The trouble is if you haven’t been enjoying it, you probably won’t start now.

It seems like Chip Zdarsky has been laying the foundation of a larger story involving Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. Batman’s mental foundation has been crumbling over the writer’s tenure, so the character’s choices within The Gotham War arc fit well with the character we’ve seen over the last few arcs.

Batman has been through the wringer fighting against a robot, himself, other dimensional Jokers, and nightmares. It makes sense he would revert to the most basic outlook on crime during such tumultuous times. He’s reverting to a more singular-focused vigilante. Ignoring the family and getting harsher on these small-time crooks to send a message. He is in control.

'Batman' #137 Review

Credit: DC Comics

Is this interpretation of Batman going to work for every reader? No. In many ways, it might feel like a regression of character for some. Certainly, there are many elements we’ve seen before, and as it stands, the issue gives little indication that this approach to the character will change anytime soon. But it’s important to meet a comic where it’s at, not where we wish it were.

As it stands, Batman #137 is a clear, well-structured, and great to look at issue. The character choices make sense within the context of the run, and Zdarsky is using the crossover to further Batman’s crumbling psyche from previous arcs, possibly explaining the character’s aggressive stance within The Gotham War. It’s a bit light on plot, and there is no guessing where the story might end. If you’ve been enjoying Zdarsky’s run so far, you’ll likely continue to do so. If it has yet to be what you’ve been looking for from the Batman series, unfortunately, this probably won’t be the issue to change your mind.

'Batman' #137 is a clear, well-structured, and great to look at issue
‘Batman’ #137 is a clear, well-structured, and great to look at issue
Batman #137
Batman #137 is another solid addition to Zdarsky's run on the series. While it doesn't further much of The Gotham War plot, it does continue to build the crumbling psyche of Batman while being great to look at while doing it.
Reader Rating0 Votes
The art team is firing on all cylinders, creating a gorgeously cinematic look to the book
It continues to build on the interesting dynamic between Bruce Wayne and his own psyche
Fun Bat-Family action
Retreading some worn territory of Batman isolating himself
A lack of momentum building in the story arc to get readers excited
A lack of Batman-Catwoman interactions for a story arc built around the two characters
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