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Batman #130 Review – “Failsafe” Finale

The final issue of Batman for 2022 is here. Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez are going to end Batman as big as possible with the end of the Failsafe storyline. This story has pushed the Batman Family and Justice League past their limits as Batman’s own creation, Failsafe, has defeated everyone. Last we saw Batman he was left floating in space after a gamble to take out Failsafe on the Justice League’s Moon Watchtower did not work out as planned. Now with Batman left floating in space can Failsafe be stopped? Let’s find out with Batman #130.

CREATIVE TEAM

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artists: Jorge Jimenez (Failsafe); Leonardo Romero (I Am A Gun)

Colorists: Tomeu Morey (Failsafe); Jordie Bellaire (I Am A Gun)

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

SYNOPSIS

Working quickly Batman takes an oxygen tank and one of the boosters from a damaged Justice League Javelin to get himself back to Earth, barely surviving and staying conscious.

Batman rushes to the Fortress of Solitude where he asks Superman to delay Failsafe for him.

Superman uses special armor to guard against Failsafe’s counters. During a grapple between the two Failsafe hits Superman’s pressure points to force Superman to shoot himself with his heat vision, knocking him out in the process.

Batman Saves Himself In Space
Batman does what Batman does best while saving himself from dying in space as seen in Batman #130. Credit: DC Comics

Batman uses this time to create a program he plans to inject in the hole he created in Failsafe after hitting it with the New Genesis Element X Laser to introduce a personality into Failsafe’s programming.

Batman and Robin (Tim Drake) work together against Failsafe and are able to create an opening for Batman to inject the new personality program into Failsafe.

Going out of control with a compassionate personality Failsafe rushes off to the Fortress of Solitude. Failsafe quickly returns and shoots Batman with a special laser gun that evaporates Batman. When a horrified Robin questions Failsafe the android says he was just showing Batman compassion by eliminating him.

Somewhere else a heavily damaged Batman is shown unconscious in a dark alley.

REVIEW

Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez close out 2022 creating so many questions about the future of Batman and Gotham City. It’s exactly the type of momentum you want to create going into the new year as there are so many directions Batman can go in 2023. In the process, it makes how the events of Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths could also play impact the franchise making the entire Batman Family line even more compelling.

Right away Zdarsky and Jimenez pull off making Batman #130 have an impactful conclusion to the Failsafe storyline with how Bruce Wayne pulls off returning to Earth while floating in space. Was the entire sequence completely crazy to the point of making Batman a ridiculous character? Absolutely, but that is why it worked. Zdarsky and Jimenez made Batman using things from a damaged Justice League Javelin to make his return to Earth exactly what you expect Bruce Wayne to pull off. What helped make the entire sequence work was the choreography as Zdarsky and Jimenez kept you in the moment by having Bruce’s inner monologue reflect the insanely dangerous thing he is pulling off.

It made the moment we see Batman land right outside of the Fortress of Solitude where you know immediately Bruce is pushing himself way beyond his limits. It’s only his inhuman resilience and stubbornness to finish a mission that is keeping Bruce up and walking at that moment. It’s a great image that Jimenez and colorist Tomeu Morey absolutely nails.

From there Zdarsky does well to work in Superman’s own pride into taking on Failsafe even if he is not at 100%. Using special armor to counter Failsafe worked well into this as you could see with how he took on the android that Superman wasn’t just fighting to buy Batman time. Superman went in with a mindset of winning this time around.

Which played in well how Failsafe countered by revealing that kryptonite isn’t the only weakness Batman has to use against Superman. Using all of his training Batman has figured out Superman’s pressure points to turn his own powers against him. Failsafe utilizing this knowledge in such a brutal way of forcefully activating Superman’s heat vision was a terrifying visual that further drove home how unstoppable Failsafe is.

Failsafe once again defeating Superman reinforced how Batman really can’t take on his own creation alone. This in turn set-up why Bruce goes against his recent protection streak by not only accepting but needing Tim Drake’s help in taking on Failsafe. It’s one of the more memorable Dynamic Duo moments between Bruce and Tim. Making this moment even better was how Bruce through his inner monologue reflected on how Tim is the Robin most accepting of the teamwork he was trained to use in fights.

Batman & Robin: Dynamic Duo
Batman and Robin are prepared to work together as the Dynamic Duo against Failsafe in Batman #130. Credit: DC Comics

This saved the fact that Failsafe still overwhelmed the Dynamic Duo and have a different feel to the fight. Because now there was more of the idea of Batman and Robin executing moves that while countered would get them in a position for Bruce to inject the compassionate personality into Failsafe’s programming. It all made for a fight that reminded you that Batman and Robin working together as the Dynamic Duo is something you want to see more of.

While Bruce’s plan did work in terms of giving Failsafe the compassion missing in his programming I liked that it did not change Failsafe’s need to eliminate Batman. But now because of compassion, it has Failsafe could use deadly force anymore. Now we have a situation where we don’t know what eliminating Batman means for Failsafe. The special Kryptonian laser he used could’ve done so many things that create many questions that make you want to read the next issue right away.

This ending to the Failsafe storyline also puts more questions into what the purpose of the backup focusing on the origin of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh was all about. We of course know that Zdarsky revealed that it was when Bruce was Batman of Zur-En-Arrh that Failsafe was created. But when reading Bruce’s inner monologue about control and not succumbing to darkness it takes on a new meaning with the present-day unknown status quo.

Credit to Leonardo Romero’s artwork and Jordie Bellaire’s coloring for making the backup story hit as well as it does. The style has a look of a classic Batman comic book while giving it plenty of updates to still be modern. What the artwork particularly nails is Bruce Wayne’s facial reactions throughout the story. In and out of the Batman cowl you could see how troubled Bruce was and why he put himself through the process that created the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh side of himself. It all worked well into the payoff giving the yellow oval Bat-symbol version of the Batman costume take on a new meaning.

Batman #130 (2022)
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01/25/2023 09:30 am GMT

FINAL THOUGHTS

Batman #130 is an excellent ending to both the Failsafe storyline and the “I Am A Gun” backup story that featured the origin story of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. From beginning to end Chip Zdarsky, Jorge Jimenez, Leonardo Romero, and company did so much great character work for Batman, Robin, Superman, and Failsafe. The ending leaves you looking forward to what 2023 will look like for the entire Batman franchise.

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10