Batman in the post-Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths DC Universe has been on a unique journey. Rather than he and that Batman Family getting right back to protecting Gotham City Bruce Wayne has found himself in another Multiverse journey. This time Bruce has found himself stuck in a universe where that Bruce Wayne is dead. Not only that, but Gotham City is a completely different city run by villains that include a Judge Dredd-inspired version of Harvey Dent running the GCPD. What other surprises will we see in this story? Let’s find out with Batman #133.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Mike Hawthorne (The Bat-Man Of Gotham); Miguel Mendonca (The Toy Box)
Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto (The Bat-Man Of Gotham)
Colorists: Tomeu Morey (The Bat-Man Of Gotham); Roman Stevens (The Toy Box)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
After Batman (Bruce Wayne creating a makeship Batman costume) stops Riddler from experimenting on kids Red Mask orders a reluctant Selina Kyle to find Bruce Wayne as they all know he is Batman.
Elsewhere Batman digs up this world’s Bruce Wayne’s grave. When confronted by this world’s Alfred Pennyworth, Batman says he needs to find out how this version of himself died to make things right.
At a local hospital Batman uses an MRI machine to discover this version of Bruce has traces of Multiverse Energy and may not be this world’s Bruce Wayne.
Before he can do any further investigation Batman is confronted by Judge Harvey Dent and the GCPD. Batman goads Judge Dent into a one-on-one fight. Using all his skills Batman is able to defeat the Venomized Judge Dent.
Selina Kyle shows up and offers to take Batman to Red Mask. Batman reluctantly follows Selina Kyle underground to the Arkham Caves. End of issue.
Bruce Wayne’s adventures in an Elseworld continued to progress at a steady pace. With Batman #133 we see that Bruce has decided to take more agency by becoming Batman again. This in turn leads into discovering more about what is going on from the shadows of the public, though we end this issue with more questions than answers.
With the journey Bruce has been on thus far Chip Zdarsky has done well in showing how he does in a world while being familiar is completely out of his comfort zone. Bruce constantly battling what he knows of his world and those around him with the darker tone of this Elseworld Gotham City is the best content in Batman #133. Zdasky makes great use of how thrown off anyone, including Bruce Wayne, would be by interacting with people that he has close ties in his own continuity but knows are different.
This leads into how in this Elseworld Gotham City we have versions of Riddler and Two-Face that heighten versions of the ones we know. The way they along with Red Mask are written come across as wrestling heels. We see that with how quickly they go into a rage. Batman even shows he has quickly realized this about this world’s version of his rogues gallery and uses it to his advantage. This along with knowing how to deal with Venomized threats like Bane and the unfamiliarity the villains have with him made it easy for Batman to overcome them.
All of this plays into how Bruce has to be much more resourceful in what he is doing in this Elseworld Gotham City. Everything down to his makeshift Batman costume all shows how Bruce is relying on all his skills and knowledge, rather than tools, to fight back. Its all a good way to show the resourceful side of Bruce that we don’t see often since the older he has gotten the more reliant he has been on his technology and preparation to overcome every threat.
This leads into strong scenes with both Alfred Pennyworth and Selina Kyle. Both carry equal weight given their respective significance to Bruce. You see how that significance plays specifically with the relationships Bruce historically shares with Alfred and Selina. With Alfred we see Bruce be open with him even though he knows this is not his Alfred. But seeing how Alfred acted when confronting him Bruce knew this Alfred similarly cared about this Elseworld Bruce Wayne that his version cared about him. This allowed Zdarsky to work in the father-son dynamic they share.
On the opposite side of things, we see Bruce doing his best to fight automatically trusting this Elseworld Selina Kyle. This was a great use of internal monologue and Mike Hawthorne’s artwork as we’ve seen in the last six years how close Bruce and Selina have grown. Because of those feelings its not easy for Bruce to naturally fight his instincts. It all adds layers to the story as Bruce is even on guard with this Elseworld Selina Kyle that’s different from all the other characters in this world.
This leads well into how much better of a showing this was for Red Mask. Unlike previous appearances Red Mask is shown to be an easy to hate villain because that is who he is. Adding in how Red Mask appears to have some Speed Force powers along with experimenting on people Multiverse along with children of his own world adds to this threat level. It was all certainly needed because we’ve seen how easy Batman has defeated all the other villains of this Elseworld. Things won’t be as simple with Red Mask and that makes things much more interesting.
The back-up story with Tim Drake not only tracking down Toy Man in another Elseworld. Zdarsky and Miguel Mendonca maximized the page count for the back-up to tell a complete story of Robin not only stopping Toy Man’s plot but successfully bringing him back with him. This all worked to get over how great of a hero Tim is as Robin. We see all of his skills from being a detective to great fighter highlighted in this story. It all results in a satisfying next step in Tim’s journey to find Bruce from wherever in the Multiverse he is in.
Chip Zdarsky along with artists Mike Hawthorne and Miguel Mendonca delivered a strong chapter in the two Multiverse adventures we get in Batman #133. With the main story we see how Bruce Wayne resourceful he is while struggling with his emotions when interacting with certain Elseworld characters. Then with the Tim Drake adventure we get another example of what makes him the best Robin. It all comes together for a comic book that makes you want to find out what happens next in both stories.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10