Things haven’t been looking good for Batman as one of his secret contingencies in the form the Amazo-like robot called Failsafe. Not only did Failsafe almost kill Batman in his debut but also defeated the Batman Family. With things not looking good Bruce Wayne has decided to activate another contingency plan by making himself into Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh. Now with the wild card that is Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh back what will happen next? Let’s find out with Batman #127.
Writers: Chip Zdarsky (Failsafe and Two Birds, One Throne)
Artists: Jorge Jimenez (Failsafe); Belen Ortega (Two Birds, One Throne)
Colorists: Tomeu Morey (Failsafe); Luis Guerrero (Two Birds, One Throne)
In a flashback after the events of JLA: Tower Of Babel, after being voted out of the League, Bruce Wayne reveals to Superman his contingency for bringing down the Batman is the Justice League themselves.
In the present, Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh reveals to Robin (Tim Drake) that Bruce created him as a backup version of Batman that is completely stripped free from “Bruce Wayne.” Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh then reveals that he erased from Bruce’s mind how to defeat Failsafe knowing he would summon him as Failsafe was designed by Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh to bring Batman down.
Failsafe shows up in the Batcave to confront Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh and Robin. Failsafe still overwhelms the pair, forcing Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh to collapse part of the cave on top of Failsafe to get some distance.
Back in Gotham City streets, while most of the Batman Family gets medical attention the GCPD learns of an explosion uptown. Oracle tells Nightwing that there are traps set up all over Gotham City. Nightwing and Oracle know these traps have been set up to distract them from helping Batman. With this Oracle makes a call to people she knows that can help them out.
Back at Wayne Manor Robin calls out Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh that they need a strategy to defeat Failsafe. Batman injects himself and Robin with something to block Failsafe from detecting them. This gives them the opportunity to launch a sneak attack on Failsafe. Failsafe still overwhelms Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh and Robin.
Seeing this from his mind Bruce calls out his Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh side for not seeing that Failsafe is seeing through all of his predictable moves. Bruce then says he won’t let Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh risk Tim’s life as he isn’t a soldier but his son.
Now back in control of his body Bruce as Batman gets Robin out of the manor and tells him to call for back-up.
Batman faces off against Failsafe alone in the burning Wayne Manor. Failsafe completely overwhelms Batman and leaves him barely conscious on near the entrance steps.
Before Failsafe can kill Batman it is hit by a cold attack. Superman then shows up ready to back-up Batman. End of main story.
Batman #127 is all about character work and that is for the best. With this entire story arc built around an unstoppable Failsafe that has no personality focusing on how difficult this is all for the Batman Family is fascinating to watch.
Tapping into the history of the franchise by bringing in Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh that Grant Morrison brought back into play for the modern Batman mythos was well done. You can see with how Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh talked and acted that he was ripped right out of how we last saw him in Batman RIP. Zdarsky does a great job in putting over how Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh is the version of the character that is without Bruce Wayne, including the baggage that Bruce has.
Tim Drake’s Robin being there to not only work alongside but also react to Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh actions and dialogue made this appearance much better. Tim’s interaction with Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh, especially once they teamed up against Failsafe, enhanced how dangerous this side of Batman. It got over the idea that this version of the Batman that we would see if he didn’t have the history or personality of Bruce Wayne from “holding him back.”
The entire battle with Failsafe was choreographed well by Jorge Jimenez to get over the idea that to defeat the super robot the answer isn’t simply losing your emotions. While Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh is a strong combatant everything that went into creating this persona within Bruce is also what makes him predictable to Failsafe.
Which made the scene within Bruce’s mind between Bruce and Batman Of Zur-En-Arrh have a greater impact. For as much as he tries to push others to the side Bruce places great value in the Batman Family. Yelling out that Tim is his son and that being what brings Bruce back in control of himself shows that the family is a strength of the character. Once again, credit to Jimenez for really nailing the emotion in Bruce’s face when saying all this
This also works well into how Failsafe created a plan to keep the rest of the Batman Family to come to Bruce’s aid in their fight. It’s a great attention to detail to show how Failsafe was programmed to understand how dangerous the Batman Family fighting as a united force is too dangerous. It made the turn of Superman and, likely, the Justice League showing up to back-up Batman against Failsafe something that should show us how strong the super androids abilities are.
The back-up featuring Catwoman was nicely wrapped up by Zdarsky and Belen Ortega. With everything going on with Batman getting this different look at other developments within and outside Gotham City has added even more to Zdarsky’s run. We are seeing Gotham City grow even more and Selina Kyle is positioned to play a key role that furthers her solo narrative. The story was also a great showcase for Ortega talents that DC Comics should have on an ongoing series as the lead artist asap.
Batman #127 is a great examination of how Bruce Wayne has built so many different contingency plans. Seeing how the idea that Batman is prepared for any scenario has made this entire Failsafe arc such a fascinating read. This is definitely a can’t miss story for Batman fans.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10