Batman #135 is a major issue for multiple reasons. On the publishing side of things, this issue marks Batman #900 in terms of legacy numbering for the series. That is a massive milestone that makes this series reach a rare mark only the likes of Detective Comics, Action Comics, and Amazing Spider-Man have reached. The other reason Batman #135 is a major issue is that it marks the end of “The Bat-Man Of Gotham” storyline. Let’s find out how “The Bat-Man Of Gotham” ends with Batman #135.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Mike Hawthorne, Jorge Jimenez, and Mikel Janin
Inkers: Adriano Di Benedetto, Jorge Jimenez, and Mikel Janin
Colorists: Tomeu Morey and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
With the help of Jewel and Selina Kyle from the unknown Earth he is on Batman stops Red Mask, who fails to replicate the process to become his universe’s Joker.
Frustrated Red Mask uses the Speed Force powers and Multiverse Energy he stole to travel through the Multiverse.
Batman chases Red Mask through the Multiverse using a tracker.
While just missing Red Mask each time Batman meets the various Multiverse versions of himself including those from Batman ’89, Dark Knight Returns, Arkham City, DCAU, Batman Beyond, and Batman ’66.
Through all these meetings Bruce realizes every Batman shares the same thing: a will to never give up and always help others.
Batman eventually reaches the end of the Multiverse where he easily defeats Red Mask. Robin (Tim Drake) then arrives and helps Bruce get back to their universe.
Mysteriously Batman of Zur-En-Arrh has collected Zur-En-Arrh versions of Multiverse Batman. Batman of Zur-En-Arrh tells his army “Time To Fight Some Crime.” End of issue.
Chip Zdarsky timed it all well so that the Batman #900 celebration issue worked within the context of the story he crafted with “The Bat-Man Of Gotham.” The wrap-up wasn’t perfect as there were certain things rushed in a way that felt forced in for the moment. But there is no denying the way the showdown between Batman and Red Mask went down the way it needed to.
The entire segment in the unknown universe where Batman found himself properly continued the chaos that Red Mask created. Zdarsky spent the right amount of time to spotlight Jewel and Selina Kyle as heroes doing what they can while Batman dealt with the bigger picture of stopping Red Mask. Even though this version of Selina Kyle did help out it worked that her Kingpin persona stuck at the end with her final interaction with Bruce.
The screen time that Jewel was given did further emphasize how she was an amalgamation of all the Robins with her heroic nature. It was a shame that Jewel didn’t get more screen time after the second part of “The Bat-Man Of Gotham” story. There is potential with the character if DC Comics decides to revisit this universe for a one-shot story at the very least showing how Jewel takes what she learned from Batman in the short time they spent together.
While Selina and Jewel had their narrative, Batman #135 was no doubt about Bruce Wayne and Red Mask. This was by far the best Red Mask has come across in the entire “The Bat-Man Of Gotham” storyline. The frustration of realizing he can’t simply force himself into becoming Joker as Red Mask was missing the essence of that origin story worked. This made the shift from overconfident to desperate Red Mask gave a logical in-story reason for Batman to meet all of the versions of himself from the Multiverse.
The key in all this is that we see that even though he was able to fight through everything Red Mask threw at him Bruce Wayne was still mentally and spiritually broken. Going through Fear State, Shadow War, Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths, and Failsafe back-to-back-to-back all piled up. That is a lot to go through and we saw with Bruce’s fighting style throughout this story he was just keeping himself up. The first fight with Red Mask in this issue shows this as Batman fights with desperation, even using his cowl as a battering ram is an example of this.
Because of that the Multiverse journey of seeing just about every alternate version of himself is what Prime-DCU Batman needed. He needed a reminder that his true strength is not just simple his will to never give up. It is at the end of the day Bruce is Batman to help people. Adam West’s Batman ’66 being that final trigger was well done.
The only aspect of this entire journey that did not work was Bruce’s talk with the unknown universe version of Alfred Pennyworth. This entire scene just felt forced in so that had a Bruce and Alfred moment. Even though this version of Alfred appeared before in this story the way things were done here was awkward. This did not take anything away from what made Batman #135 special but did stand out as the one miss in the story.
Back on a positive note, Tim Drake saving Bruce when he was stuck at the end of the Multiverse was a fitting end to both stories we’ve been following in “The Bat-Man Of Gotham.” Bruce couldn’t solve everything himself. And when Batman is lost it is Robin who will save him. Their reunion gave a fitting end to this story.
The ending with Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is an intriguing callback to a major plot point from the Failsafe arc. Zdarsky did a lot in adding further context to Batman of Zur-En-Arrh’s side of Bruce. Seeing that there is a Multiverse of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh does create a big question of if we will see a Batman Multiverse War happen in the future. It would be a wild story if Zdarsky is planning on doing that I’m totally here for when it happens.
With how Batman #135 was an extra-size celebration issue having Mike Hawthorne, Jorge Jimenez, and Mikel Janin work on this issue together worked. Especially considering how we go to as many different DC Universes from the Multiverse as we do this was needed. The Multiverse segment elevated everything because of how well Hawthorne, Jimenez, and Janin got all these universe art styles. The coloring by Tomeu Morey and Romulo Fajardo Jr. and additional inking by Adriano Di Benedetto helped with capturing the art styles of each of these universes.
Batman #135 delivers a satisfying end to “The Bat-Man Of Gotham” that includes incredible fan-service Multiverse fun that’s fitting for the Batman #900 milestone issue. The way Chip Zdarsky, Mike Hawthorne, Jorge Jimenez, and Mikel Janin celebrate the history of Batman through the utilization of the Multiverse is something all fans of Batman should experience for themselves.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10