Review: Batman #132

Batman #132 - DC Comics News

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artists: Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto, Miguel Mendonca

Colours: Tomeu Morey, Roman Stevens

Letters: Clayton Cowles

Reviewed By: Derek McNeil


Batman #132: The mean streets of Gotham City have gotten meaner as the likes of Harvey Dent and Killer Croc roam free, brutalizing the population. Where is Batman and why hasn’t he responded to the cries of a city in peril?! Can Bruce Wayne find the answers before the mysterious Red Mask captures him? And in the backup story, Tim Drake’s hunt for Batman continues. Will Metropolis’s newest Superman, Jon Kent, be able to help the Boy Wonder with this Multiversal mystery, or will they both run afoul of an overpowered Toyman?!


The conclusion of the Chip Zdarsky’s Failsafe storyline made it appear that Failsafe had killed The Batman. However, Bruce finds himself on another Earth in the Multiverse. Over two issues, we have seen Bruce discovering more about this strange new world. And a fascinating world it is indeed.

Most notably, it seems that this world’s Bruce Wayne is either dead, having had little impact on this world’s Gotham City. There is not Wayne Enterprises. And most striking, this world has never had a Batman.

But most fascinating is the alternate versions of familiar characters. Some of them seem to be mashups of two Earth-0 characters. Judge Dent is a combination of Two-Face, the Joker. And Red Mask appears to be a mix of Red Hood and Black Mask. I suspect that this is not Jason Todd, but this world’s Joker, who was the original Red Hood in the main DCU. Bruce recognizes the man who would be the Joker on his home Earth. And it seems quite possible that this could be Red Mask out of costume.

Also Bruce encounters this world’s Selina Kyle. It’s not revealed if she’s Catwoman on this Earth, but she is just as formidable. I don’t know if Zdarsky consciously intended it, but I find this story reflects Bruce’s first encounter with Selina in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. In both cases, Bruce is in disguise, but not in his Batman identity. And in both cases, he finds himself woefully unprepared for the encounter.

Batman #132 - DC Comics News

Positives Cont.

I also find it noteworthy that this world’s Alfred Pennyworth is still alive and in a relationship with Leslie Thompkins. This is a pairing we have seen before in the DCeased universe. If Alfred is ever brought back from the dead in the DCU, it might be interesting to for this relationship to be explored in the main DCU world.

And there is a moment of mutual recognition between Bruce and Alfred that promises an emotional encounter between them in a later chapter of the story. At least I hope so, as I would be quite disappointed in Zdarsky if this brief encounter doesn’t have a payoff later in the story.

Also, Bruce is helped out by a young girl who calls herself Jewel, but her actual name is Julia. Could she be this world’s version of Alfred’s daughter Julia Pennyworth? Or is it just a coincidence? It could add an interesting wrinkle to the story, but it wouldn’t be detrimental to the story if she isn’t Alfred’s daughter.

But I think the most intriguing and unexpected character Bruce encounters is James Gordon. He appears as a skeleton complete with trench coat, mustache, and signature pipe. And Bruce is the only one who can see or hear him. Is this Commissioner Gordon a recurring hallucination? Or is this world’s James Gordon a supernatural entity that Bruce can see for some unknown reason? I hope Zdarsky reveals what’s going on with this bizarre version of Gordon before wrapping up this storyline.

Batman #132 - DC Comics News

Positives Cont.

Also, I wonder why Bruce hasn’t encountered any of this world’s versions of the Bat-Family beyond Alfred. With no Batman on this world, it makes sense that they wouldn’t adopt Bat-themed superhero identities. But at least some of them should exist in this Gotham City in their civilian identities. But Bruce so far hasn’t encountered Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, or any of the others. So where are they?

I really like how Zdarsky shows that Bruce is compelled to help the people of this version of Gotham City. He can’t ignore the plight of this world’s Gothamites, so he prioritizes them over his quest to return to his own world. As Bruce narrates:

Every Gotham is my Gotham. I want to go home, but… they need help out of this. To strike fear into the the people who need it”.

So Bruce resolves to become the Batman this world needs so that he can strike fear into the hearts of this Gotham’s criminals. How he will do so without Bruce’s wealth, access to technology, or any superhero allies should prove fascinating. Can Bruce succeed as Batman with his training being his only advantage? Of course he can, he’s the Batman. But it will be fascinating to see how he manages to do so.

In he backup story, Tim Drake continues his quest to find out what actually happened to Bruce. With the help of Superman Jon Kent and Mister Terrific, he determines that Bruce is lost somewhere on a parallel Earth. So, he sets off to follow Bruce into the Multiverse. But will he end up on the same Earth as Bruce?

The world he ends up on doesn’t seem to be the one Bruce is on, but perhaps it’s the same world, just not that Earth’s Gotham City.  But before he can investigate to find out if he’s on the right Earth, he has to contend with the original Toyman. I expect that Tim will be up to dealing with this classic Superman villain. But it will provide an exciting battle. And it will likely take a lighter tone than to balance out the more dramatic and intense events in the main story.


I can’t really find any fault with either story. Zdarsky has set up an intriguing story for both Batman and Robin. He clearly knows what he’s doing. And the art in both stories is fantastic. I can’t even find any minor faults to quibble over. Hopefully, the remainder of the storyline will continue to be just as excellent. And the art in both stories is similarly excellent.


Batman #132 continues the compelling “The Bat-Man of Gotham” storyline. Zdarsky has set up an intriguing story that is unlike the usual Batman story. If Zdarsky keeps up the same level of quality that he has achieved in the first two chapters, this story will likely be remembered as a classic Batman story.


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