Batman #138 Review: Batman Breaks Bad

Batman #138 review

The Gotham War continues in Batman #138 from Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez. But does Batman go too far in the issue? Is Bruce Wayne a villain now?

We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!

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Batman #138 Review:

Spoilers for the issue past this point, but Batman has effectively brainwashed Jason Todd. Now, every time Todd feels the impulse to kill someone, he feels intense fear, instead. Consequently, Nightwing tries to take over and shut down Batman’s access to the Batcomputer, leading to a massive fight between Batman, Nightwing, and the Robins. And meanwhile, Vandal Savage has taken over Wayne Manor, and now Catwoman’s army of thieves.

Host Alex Zalben pointed out that there has been a natural progression over the course of Chip Zdarsky’s run on the title to break down Batman, but with this latest move to brainwash Todd, “They have almost gone too far in terms of turning Batman into the villain of this arc in order to contrast him with Catwoman.”

Justin Tyler agreed, calling out the panel where Batman kicks Nightwing in the stomach was “intense… It is too far.”

Getting back to the overall plot of the Gotham War, while Zalben has been enjoying the philosophical discussion between Catwoman — who is arguing that controlled crime is good for Gotham — and Batman, he wasn’t completely sold on the Vandal Savage arc going on at the same time; at least until we see how the plot turns out at the end of the event.

Given that Vandal Savage is a big focus of the issue, connecting his immortality to Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus Pits, and giving him a reason to be in Gotham, Tyler enjoyed the overall mythology building in the issue. And generally, he’s been enjoying how “hard” Chip Zdarsky’s run goes, as well.

Batman #138 Official Synopsis:

BATMAN/CATWOMAN: THE GOTHAM WAR PART 4! Batman is on the ropes as the Gotham War heats up following a shocking betrayal! It’s father versus son, teacher versus student in the knockout fourth chapter of this brutal war. But who is really pulling the strings in this explosive event? Thousands of years have led to this moment!

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