Batman #146 Review

Batman #146 Review – “Dark Prisons”

Batman #146 picks up from how Chip Zdarsky got things back on track with Zur-En-Arrh making a public statement that he now controls of Gotham City. This was all done while Batman of Zur-En-Arrh has Bruce Wayne, Joker, and others locked in the newly remodeled Blackgate Prison. Given all that has gone on thus far what we’ve seen is just the beginning of this new status quo. Especially given how it appears as though Batman of Zur-En-Arrh will be a major player in the upcoming Absolute Power event. Let’s see how things go next with Batman #146.


Writer: Chip Zdarsky (Batman: Dark Prison and Joker: Doctor’s Order)

Artist: Jorge Jiménez (Batman: Dark Prison); Michelle Bandini (Joker: Doctor’s Order)

Colorist: Tomeu Morey (Batman: Dark Prison); Alex Sinclair (Joker: Doctor’s Order)

Letterer: Clayton Cowles (Batman: Dark Prison and Joker: Doctor’s Order)


“ZUR’S PLANS REVEALED, “DARK PRISONS” BY CHIP ZDARSKY AND JORGE JIMÉNEZ CONTINUES! The explosive “Dark Prisons” continues as Batman learns from an old mentor what Zur’s plans are for Gotham City… and the world! Can the Dark Knight escape from a prison designed by the ultimate version of himself? And what nefarious role does The Joker play in all of this?” – DC Comics


Batman #146 is an oddly paced comic book. Opening with the Daniel Captio back-up story as a prologue was certainly a choice. It did place Captio’s role in the story to the forefront. Though even if that was the intention it did not work at all. The awkward start bleed into the main “Dark Prison” story beats we see throughout this issue.

Right from the start, the opening by continuing the Daniel Captio back-up story was such a momentum stopper. I honestly thought the issue opened to the back-up pages after downloading it on ComiXology. This opener is made even odder since even the credits bill this as a back-up story instead of a prologue.

A major reason why Captio’s story opening Batman #146 was so weird was the story itself. The entire story relied on being a recap to summarize all pre- and post-Crisis On Infinite Earth, New 52, DC Rebirth, Infinite Frontier, and Dawn of DC stories tie-in together. Sure, it is cool to see how Zdarsky is paying respect to past Batman creative teams. But telling this recap in the second chapter after already spending so much time selling us on Batman of Zur-En-Arrh just made this opening not work. In turn that makes what Zdarsky tries to do to make Daniel Captio a key part of the story fall completely flat.

This failure of the opening is immediately felt with how Captio as the Warden of Blackgate taunting Bruce Wayne be a swing and a miss. It is especially a swing and a miss when we see how easily Bruce breaks out and causes chaos in the prison Caption was placed in charge of. This wasn’t because it was Bruce that did it and he is a master of a bunch of things. It was Captio just being incompetent with how fragile Blackgate was that Bruce, Vandal Savage, Joker, and Punchline breakout.

Bruce Wayne in prison - Batman #146
Bruce Wayne faces off against Blackgate prisoners completely surrounding him in Batman #146. Credit: DC Comics

It is too bad because Jorge Jimenez certainly makes the prison riot a badass moment for Bruce. Seeing a shirtless Bruce just wearing his cowl surrounded by some of the worst Gotham City criminals was a great visual. Taken on its own without the Warden Caption part of the story this was a great Batman moment. Because we do get these great visuals it is anger inducing that the writing lets down the artwork.

Zdarsky also doesn’t make the Batfamily look that great with how unsure they are about if Bruce is inside Failsafe. There are some obvious tip offs that we should at least see Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon know it’s not Bruce. The use of the Failsafe android itself goes against Bruce’s methods.

Though to Batman of Zur-En-Arrh’s credit as a character he does understand how extreme he can be in public. While we know that Batman of Zur-En-Arrh would be okay with crossing the line he knows if he did that everyone would know he’s not Bruce. Using that knowledge to get at least half of Gotham City and Damian Wayne bought into his form of justice does work for the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh character.

At the same time, Zdarsky also causes some continuity inconsistencies while showing Batman of Zur-En-Arrh and Robin in action. We specifically see them capture Harley Quinn but then quickly forgotten about. This stood out because Batman of Zur-En-Arrh mentioned Damian finding Amazo while Zur-En-Arrh was dropping off Punchline. That does not line up since Punchline was at Blackgate much earlier and would’ve only made sense if the reference was Harley Quinn.

Its little things like this that make Batman #146 feel rushed to get where it needs to get to by the end. This problem is once again shown with how quickly Vandal Savage goes from being a Blackgate prisoner to being positioned as the next GCPD Commissioner. That absolutely came out of nowhere as it felt like there was zero set-up to this major development. It’s a zero to one-hundred moment that just further drove home how the pacing was off for Batman #146.


After a strong opening chapter Batman #146 drops the ball with how it attempts to continue the momentum for the “Dark Prison” story arc. Right away this comic book opens with an oddly timed recap prologue/back-up story. From there the story never recovers the momentum started by the first chapter of this story. The only saving grace is some great visuals from Jorge Jimenez that would’ve been even better if the writing matched the level of the artwork.

Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10