Batman #125 Review

Batman #125 Review – Batman Crosses The Line?

As Dark Crisis is setting up the future of the DC Universe Batman is already getting a new start as a new creative era begins. This new creative era brings in current Daredevil writer Chip Zdarsky to take over the main Batman series with Jorge Jimenez as the artist. I’ve been a big fan of Zdarsky’s work on Daredevil and other Marvel titles so hearing that he is taking over Batman is something that I am absolutely excited about. DC Comics definitely choose the best writer they could find to take on writing Batman after Joshua Williamson and James Tynion’s run on the series. What plans does Zdarsky have for Batman? Let’s find out with Batman #125.

CREATIVE TEAM

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artists: Jorge Jimenez (Batman: Failsafe); Belen Ortega (Catwoman: Two Birds, One Throne)

Colorists: Tomeu Morey (Batman: Failsafe); Luis Guerrero (Catwoman: Two Birds, One Throne)

SYNOPSIS

Sometime in the past while in the Batcave Alfred Pennyworth hears a constant beep before everything goes dark.

In the present, after having a nightmare of the Three Jokers killing Nightwing, Catwoman, the Robins, and the Batgirls, Bruce Wayne calls Selina Kyle to reset himself. The call ends quickly when Bruce hears Valmont in Selina’s room.

Later that night, Batman answers a call from someone going after Colin Fitzroy, a friend of Bruce from his playboy days, and his wife. While Batman is too late to stop the criminal from killing the Fitzroys he is able to find out Penguin sent him.

Penguin then releases a message saying he will be eliminating all of Gotham City’s elite who have inherited more than five million dollars.

Robin (Tim Drake) checks up on Batman as he and the rest of the Batman Family are concerned Bruce is drowning himself in Batman’s work. Bruce mentions that since he is no longer a billionaire social invites have dried up though he will use his socialite connections to attend a gala Penguin is targeting next.

Batman #125 Review
Tim Drake checks up on Bruce Wayne after recent events in Batman #125. Credit: DC Comics

Bruce takes a date to a gala celebration while Tim as Robin works on finding and disarming all the gas bombs Penguin planted. As the night goes on Penguin shows up and announces his plan to kill all the gala attendees.

With everyone running in fear Bruce puts on his Batman mask to stop Penguin but he turns out to be Clayface. Batman is able to intimidate Clayface to give up.

As Robin tries to disarm the gas bomb in the main hall one of Penguin’s goons shoots him in the throat.

Batman rushes to get Robin to the hospital, making sure to change Tim back into his civilian clothes before dropping him off.

At the hospital, Batman finds where Penguin, who appears terminally ill, is staying. Penguin says he will make all of Gotham City’s elite pay for looking down on him. Penguin then drinks a cyanide pill to make it look like Batman killed him.

After making it back home Oracle checks up on Batman. Bruce plays on the “Batman Is A Murderer” headlines by saying it will help criminals fear Batman.

Over at the Batcave, the mysterious beeps are heard with a container rising out of the water. An android named Failsafe comes out of the container. End of the main story.

REVIEW

Batman #125 acts as a reset point for the series, as you would expect from the start of a new creative team run. At the same time, Chip Zdarsky makes sure that the work from recent runs by Tom King, James Tynion, and Joshua Williamson isn’t forgotten. That helps bring in fans of the current Batman continuity while opening an entry point for new readers.

After getting through the tease of Failsafe it was a good move by Zdarsky to address the state of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle’s relationship. This has been a key part of the franchise for several years, with Batman/Catwoman just ending as well. While they are staying in touch it’s clear that at this point Selina has moved on as they’ve both gone in their own direction. The phone call set the tone of how Bruce now has to let go of not just this recent past with Selina but find himself again.

It made Bruce’s answer to how he should move forward being going deeper into just being Batman a more notable shift. For Bruce, he does feel most comfortable being Batman in the cape and cowl. Even when talking to Tim Drake and Barbara Gordon you see through both Zdarsky’s writing and Jorge Jimenez’s artwork that Bruce is trying to keep up the Batman voice and way of talking.

This made the moment when Bruce drops being Batman and goes into full concerned parent mode after Tim is shot even more notable. Everything from how he voices his concern to how he looks at Tim while racing to the hospital in the Batmobile shows us that Bruce Wayne is not gone. As Zdarsky moves forward with his run I’ll be very interested to see if we will continue to see the Batman Family be what helps ground Bruce so he doesn’t just get consumed by being Batman 24/7.

On that note, Zdarsky did a great job at using the developments of Bruce no longer being a billionaire to provide another reason why he is spending more time as Batman. A consequence of his lost wealth is that he isn’t seen as part of the Gotham City elite. This makes it even more understandable that Bruce Wayne is only useful when he needs to use what’s left of his socialite status to further his Batman work.

The current Bruce Wayne status quo works for the new direction that Penguin is forcing on not just him but Gotham City as a whole. Faced with a terminal illness it is a total Penguin move that he would blame everyone for his misfortunes and look for a way to get revenge even after he dies. Zdarsky works a lot of reality into everything Penguin says as we’ve seen so many times how he has been pushed around by various Batman villains and Gotham City mafia leaders. Using this to further fuel Penguin’s anger at the Gotham City elite at the end of his life makes it so you understand why he is doing this while still making him the villain of the story.

Batman #125 Review
Penguin unleashes all of his anger on Gotham City’s elite in Batman #125. Credit: DC Comics

Cementing Penguin’s villain status was how he made it look as though Batman killed him. It played into how well Penguin knew Batman would react in a certain way so all the witnesses and the GCPD would blame the Dark Knight for his death. This all pushes Bruce into a corner of deciding what he wants to be moving forward as being Batman full-time appears to be the option he is going with.

The Failsafe android reveals at the end of Batman #125 is something that isn’t the hook I was looking for in the main story. The main story in Batman #125 could’ve easily ended with the Batman and Oracle conversation and it would’ve been a strong ending. This Failsafe activation does nothing because we don’t know what it means beyond the android looking intimidating. The opening page of Batman #125 teasing Failsafe did not help either. This reveal may end up reading better when this story arc is collected and we know more about Failsafe.

The Catwoman back-up story Zdarsky writes with Belen Ortega is a strong complement to the main story in Batman #125. Catwoman being involved in the aftermath of Penguin’s death is something as a Batman fan you expect given Selina and Oswald Cobblepot’s connection. Selina being brought in to find Penguin’s previously unknown children is a good hook for a story that could have greater implications for Gotham City’s underworld in the future.

All of this is also illustrated very well by Ortega, who continues to be a standout artist for DC Comics. Hopefully, Ortega gets an ongoing series to work on in the future as she is an artist that can work on just about any DC Comics title.

Batman #125 (2022)
$5.99
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
07/19/2022 12:01 am GMT

FINAL THOUGHTS

Batman #125 is a strong start to a new era for the franchise as Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez take over the series. The work by recent Batman creative teams is well respected and utilized to tell a story that will certainly grab fans’ attention with the multiple aspects of Bruce Wayne’s life that are addressed to push the character forward in intriguing ways. This also works as a good starting point for readers who are interested in jumping into reading a Batman comic book.

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10