REVIEW: ‘Batman,’ Issue #122

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman #122

Batman #122 from DC Comics continues with the ‘Shadow War’ crossover written by Joshua Williamson. Howard Porter provides artwork with Tomeu Morey on colors and Clayton Cowles on letters for the first story. The backup tale, ‘Secret Meetings,’ offers a different art team with Trevor Hairsine on art, Rain Beredo on colors, and Willie Schubert on letters. The main piece is the second part following Shadow War Alpha #1, which sets up everything this issue digs into. Deathstroke has killed Ra’s al Ghul right after the ages-old reformed villain wants to bless the world with the Lazarus Pit magic (as opposed to his old plan of unaliving most of humanity). 

So after going good earlier in Robin, Ra’s is now a corpse, and Deathstroke is the prime culprit, as the murder took place in broad daylight in Washington D.C. That brings us to the main problem. The investigation with DEO Agent Chase is conclusive, and Batman believes it. Yes, it’s a public execution. People saw it happen, and the killer looked like Deathstroke, etc. But the World’s Greatest Detective, at least in this issue, never doubts it was really Slade Wilson, Deathstroke. He is portrayed as a one-track-minded hunter. Granted, Batman is portrayed this way a lot. Even taking into account writing detective stories is hard. Having such an intelligent character renowned for picking up minutiae be so patently thoughtless is disturbing. Hopefully, later we find out Bats is a bit wiser.

Batman #122 follows up the remainder of the main story with titanic fight scenes and other characters forming allegiances, but overall, this is a chase story. Deathstroke, Respawn, and even old JLA/Batman for Prometheus are on the run from the League of Assassins. Williamson writes them well for what amount of panel time each character gets. Much is set aside for Batman. Obviously, Robin and others, but Deathstroke is just here to run from point A to B. This has to do with him, but in this second part, he exists solely to move. I have no idea why Prometheus zips in and out. Respawn is but an artistic blur. 

But we are treated to some crowded, chaotic, lush art from Porter that jumps right out at the reader. He stocks every single panel with lines and bold poses, sometimes too angular but always eye-catching. The same can be said for Morey’s colors, just as articulate in hues as Porter is with line work. Cowles delivers letters and brilliant SFX that highlight and manage to keep up with the frenzied Porter pace. This issue is gorgeous to look at.

The second offering, ‘Secret Meetings,’ details a story from the past. Commissioner Gordon informs Batman that a hit has been taken out…on Robin. Jason Todd as Robin that is. This leads to a reasonable discourse about Batman bringing a child out into the warzone called Gotham, an encounter with a certain assassin, and a well-choreographed fight. Williamson handles this story fast and furious, slowing down the beginning to hone in on the Gordon/Batman dynamic. Hairsine puts down some very angular faces. Batman’s long cowl nose stands out, but overall the artwork is solid and hearkens back to earlier art forms. The same goes for Beredo’s colors and Schubert’s classic lettering. I felt like I had just read a Batman story from the 80s, which helped sell the mood. 

Overall, both stories deliver visually. ‘Shadow War’ seems to be starting as a high octane chase, which isn’t bad, but I feel it dims Batman’s greatest value to sell the story, which throws me off from an otherwise great issue. 

Batman #122 is available now wherever comic books are sold.


Batman #122
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TL;DR

Overall, both stories deliver visually. ‘Shadow War’ seems to be starting as a high octane chase, which isn’t bad, but I feel it dims Batman’s greatest value to sell the story, which throws me off from an otherwise great issue.