Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez have not held back in starting off their run on Batman as big as possible. With Failsafe they’ve introduced a new version of Amazo that was built by Bruce Wayne while he was in his Batman of Zur-En-Arrh mental state. Because of that Failsafe has been shown to be completely overwhelming to the entire Batman Family. That includes Batman himself who has been left in a near-death state by Failsafe. Luckily for Batman, he has other powerful friends in the form of the Justice League that have arrived in Gotham City to help him out. Will they be enough to stop the unstoppable Failsafe that Bruce built? Let’s find out with Batman #128.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky (Failsafe and I Am A Gun)
Artist: Jorge Jimenez (Failsafe); Leonardo Romero (I Am A Gun)
Colorist: Tomeu Morey (Failsafe); Jordie Bellaire (I Am A Gun)
Upon seeing Superman Failsafe pulls out several kryptonite swords and tricks Superman into charging at him by going after Batman. This provides Failsafe the opening to stab Superman with one of its kryptonite swords.
Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, and Black Canary all show up to take on Failsafe and get it away from Superman and Batman. As the Justice League fights Failsafe, Batman takes the kryptonite sword out of Superman’s body. Green Arrow and Robin (Tim Drake) then put Batman and Superman in the Justice League jet.
Failsafe breaks away from the Justice League and heads to the heart of Gotham City. The Justice League chased after Failsafe. This leads them to Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, and Black Canary immediately taken out by traps Failsafe has activated.
Having noticed the fighting Nightwing mentions that Bruce Wayne owned the block they are in and likely created all the traps that Failsafe used on the Justice League. Nightwing and Green Arrow are then the only ones left to fight Failsafe.
Somewhere out in the ocean Batman wakes up and opens up the jet’s door. He tells Robin that Failsafe will continue to come after him and Robin needs to take Superman to the Fortress of Solitude. Before jumping out of the jet Bruce tells Tim that he is proud of him. Batman jumps out of the jet and into the water below where Aquaman is able to find him
Two weeks later, Bruce wakes up after being healed by one of Atlantis’ healing chambers. Aquaman reveals that Gotham City has fallen under Failsafe’s control with most of the Batman Family captured and only Signal and Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) left as part of a resistance. Aquaman says that Failsafe has looked for Bruce everywhere and will likely soon come to Atlantis.
Back in Gotham City, Failsafe activates its own Bat signal to call out Batman.
Back in Atlantis, Aquaman warns Bruce that Failsafe is sending a message that Gotham City is theirs and trying to lure Batman to come to get it back. End of issue.
When it comes to storytelling Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez have really nailed it thus far with this “Failsafe” story arc. There is a sense of escalation to the story that has helped the entire pacing from issue to issue that’s made this a great reading experience thus far. And Batman #128 is a great follow-up on the previous issue that featured Failsafe vs the Batman Family by introducing the Justice League into the conflict.
What worked so well in Batman #128 was Zdarsky’s selection of Justice League members to use. With each member, Zdarsky was able to showcase how Failsafe was programmed to have countermeasures in place against any foe. At the same time with key members like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Zatanna, and Black Adam left out the Justice League wasn’t completely buried. Instead, we got the four Justice League members in Superman, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl who have weaknesses that could all be done in quick succession.
All of this added to the sense of despair that Failsafe’s presence created. Which worked well into how Zdarsky merged elements from other Batman stories such as The Dark Knight Returns and Future State. There are a lot of cool callbacks with how Gotham City was used against the Justice League and the Batman Family being captured or on the run that furthered the unstoppable aura that Failsafe had.
Failsafe’s presentation helped to highlight how no matter how battered or beaten Bruce Wayne is that he will continue to fight. We see that with how Bruce immediately moves to make sure to save Superman. Not only was it to have Superman still active to fight back against Failsafe but, as Bruce tells Tim Drake, they can’t lose the world’s hero. It’s a good way to put over how Bruce views Superman.
At the same time, all of these developments with Failsafe emphasize that this is a Bruce Wayne problem, not Batman. While Batman is the one being called out by Failsafe we see at various points how Bruce is not wearing his cowl. It’s a small detail by Jimenez that goes a long way to show how this all goes back to Bruce as the person. That is all emphasized that even when wearing their costumes Bruce directly talks to Tim, not Robin, about being proud of him. This all adds more layers to Bruce as a character that is beyond being Batman.
This also works well into the backup story that deals with the creation of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. This is a great utilization of a backup to modernize a part of Batman’s history. This further complimented the main story being about Bruce’s sense of being prepared for everything to the point of paranoia. Leonardo Romero’s artwork enhances this storytelling as he captures the art style of the period while standing on its own with the noir look.
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Batman #128 is an excellent read. Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez have paced this storyline to naturally escalate with every issue. The fight between Failsafe and the Justice League and the end result create great concern as we don’t know how things will turn out in the end. The backup story does a great job modernizing the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh origin story with fantastic artwork by Leonardo Romero. This is really a can’t miss reading experience 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