Review by Paul Bowler.
A new era begins for the Dark Knight with Batman #125 and marks the debut of the hotly anticipated creative team of Zdarsky, Jimenez and Morey on DC Comics flagship Batman title. It becomes clearly apparent from the outset that Chip Zdarsky is very much indeed on board for the “long haul” with this run, especially if the catalogue of seismic events in this dark, brooding opening story arc are anything to go by. “Failsafe” sees Bruce Wayne’s life reaching a significant turning point with Bruce haunted by dreams of a tripled Clown Prince of Crime, the Dark Knight must also grapple with a gruesome spate of murders, and the far-reaching mystery behind them. The victims are the billionaires and high-flyers of Gotham, and as Batman starts to uncover the dark connection between them it gradually puts everyone closes to him in mortal danger.
Chip Zdarsky quickly establishes the new status quo for his era of Batman with Bruce dealing with the ominous fallout from his unsettling dreams, leading to a poignant interlude as Bruce briefly touches base with Selena Kyle, before the plot really kicks into high gear. Its really good to see Tim Drake’s Robin working closely alongside Batman once again for this series. Zdarsky brings an entirely fresh energy to this Dynamic Duo, and its great to see them back in action as a team again. We also learn that Bruce has clearly struggled with his unique work-life balance since loosing the bulk of his fortune. Indeed, it seems Bruce Wayne has almost become surplice to requirements now in the Dark Knight’s war on crime, something Tim is quick to point out to him.
Zdarsky skilfully weaves several intricate narrative threads across this issue, some of which involve the Penguin capitalising on the recent murders for his own advantage. But a flurry of curveball plot twists mid-way through the issue soon sets a tragedy of events in motion that reopens old wounds for Batman and leads to the emergence of the brand new horror that is Failsafe.
Artist Jorge Jimenez and colourist Tomeu Morey make a welcome return to this series after seven month away. From the urban gothic of the Bat-Cave to the glitz of the Iceberg Lounge Jimenez’s gorgeously rendered artwork is always a feast for the eyes, and together with Morey’s richly honed color pallet they harness a vivid noirish tone and style that melds perfectly with Zdarsky’s vision of the Dark Knight’s world. Gotham has never looked better and Batman is more imposing than ever. The level of detail Jimenez packs into every page is quite astonishing, there are some big action-set pieces to die for, and exquisite moments of characterisation that capitalise on all the emotional beats of Zdarsky’s script.
The backup story by Zdarsky, artist Belen Ortega and colorist Luis Guerrero focuses on the power struggle that has broken out in the criminal underworld of Gotham in light of recent events, with Selina Kyle caught in the middle! It sets up a self-contained addendum to the main story line and provides a good showcase for Selina, who might well even make a tidy profit from all the turmoil? While not exactly the highlight of the issue, Two Birds, One Thorne does hold one surprise reveal that I doubt anyone saw coming.
Zdarsky, Jimenez and Morey have certainly got their new six-part “Failsafe” arc off to a confident start here with this giant sized issue. While I enjoyed this issue, I wasn’t quite as blown away by it as I was expecting. That said Batman #125 still has plenty of stand-out moments and shock surprises for fans to enjoy, the exposition gets a bit heavy in places, but overall the break-neck action and fantastic artwork are by far the biggest selling points. An impressive, if somewhat formulaic, start to this new era of the Dark Knight.
Publisher DC Comics
Writer Chip Zdarsky
Artist Jorge Jimenez Colourist Tomeu Morey
Letter Clayton Cowles Cover Jorge Jimenez
About The Author
Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook