"Batman isn't dead!" A (very curious) Batman #131 first look

art from Batman #131
art from Batman #131 (Image credit: DC)

So what exactly happened to Batman in the final pages of 'Failsafe,' the finale of writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jorge Jimenez's first story arc in December 6's Batman #130?

When last we left the Caped Crusader, Failsafe, Batman's robotic counterpart created by his own subconscious backup version of himself the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh (it's complicated) seemingly blew Batman to smithereens on the frozen arctic tundra outside of Superman's Fortress of Solitude.

art from Batman #130 (Image credit: DC)
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But it wasn't that simple. Despite Tim Drake believing Batman went kablooey, it turns out Failsafe actually transported Batman in some manner to a rainy alleyway, presumably in Gotham City, a response to the "compassion" programming the Dark Knight successfully uploaded to Failsafe just minutes before.

So exactly what happened to Batman?

Chip Zdarksy warned us he was about to give the "worst interview ever" when we had a chance to ask him a few questions about the story arc's finale and the cliffhanger it ended on.

And it turns out, he wasn't kidding!

"I'm going to tell you nothing!" Zdarksy responded, asked if readers were supposed to know or understand any more than Batman appears to be transported to an alley. 

"Maybe the gun has sent Batman to heaven? And his version of heaven is just having a nice lie down in Crime Alley?

"All I'll say is, Batman isn't dead. But Failsafe completed his program."

Well, that's a little something. 

As for interpreting what the result of the "compassion" introduced to Failsafe's program is?

"He shot him with compassion," says the writer. "A loving, kinder ray gun."

Zdarksy was a little more forthcoming about the fate of Failsafe, however, confirming our speculation that when the robot turned from red to blue and said its program is ended, it flew off to hibernate in a cocoon/cradle until needed again, and will return to the pages of Batman someday. 

"I think that’s safe to say!" he says. "Failsafe is out in the world, but he's a changed robot, isn't he? What does giving compassion to a single-minded robot look like? He'll be back, 100%. It was too much fun writing an unstoppable machine to not have him be a thing in the future."

art from Batman #130 (Image credit: DC)
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So what happens to Batman next? Zdarksy gave us a few hints, while DC gave Newsarama readers the first look at some pages from month's Batman #131 by Zdarksy and Hawthorne and Adriano Di Benedetto. Check those pages (which include some very interesting images we'll let you draw your own conclusion from) and covers out below.

"Tim has to deal with what happened in the Arctic. And not only that, he has to deal with what he sees as a Batman that isn't fully himself," says Zdarksy. 

"As for Batman … we're really giving a lot of Bruce Wayne in this next arc, as he struggles to move on from what Failsafe did to him. And Mike Hawthorne draws the hell out of it. His Bruce Wayne is a movie star that could break you just by glancing in your direction."

"Our first arc was non-stop action, and this second arc slows it down just a touch, giving everyone a different look at Batman and Gotham while introducing a terrifying new villain. I hope everyone likes it!"

Batman #130 went on sale December 6. Batman #131 goes on sale January 3.

This is a great time to check out all the new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections from DC in 2022 (and 2023).

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.