The end of the first Batman arc since writer Chip Zdarsky took over the title is here, and it's been quite a run. We've seen the return of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, the Dark Knight stranded in the void of space, and of course, an all-new villain literally designed to defeat Batman: Failsafe. Now, every wild thing that Bruce has faced in the past five issues has come to a head.
Batman #130 is written by Chip Zdarsky, drawn by Jorge Jimenez, colored by Tomeu Morey, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. It sees the finale of the Failsafe battle, which we'll get into in just a moment.
But first, a warning:
Spoilers ahead for Batman #130(opens in new tab)
We last left Batman in a pretty precarious position. As mentioned above, Batman #129 ended with him floating, unaided, in the void of space, after a battle with Failsafe on the moon. Using the few tools he has on hand and his brilliant problem-solving mind, Batman manages to make his way to the ruins of a Justice League spaceship, where he finds a canister of oxygen.
Over the course of several hours, Batman uses the compressed gas in his grappling gun to propel himself toward Earth. Unfortunately, the oxygen he's using begins to deplete, until Batman wakes to feel himself entering Earth's atmosphere, realizing he's passed out. Fastening his trunks to his face to guard against the heat, Bruce begins reentry into Earth's atmosphere.
Unfurling his cape, Batman manages to safely land near the Fortress of Solitude, where he left Superman after his own disastrous battle with Failsafe. Batman arrives in the Fortress, where Tim Drake is overseeing Superman's recovery and informs the pair that Failsafe is on its way. Batman seems to have a plan, but he needs someone to buy him some time.
Back outside, Failsafe makes its way through the icy tundra surrounding the Fortress. Superman flies out to meet him, dressed in a Kryptonian suit of armor. Their battle lasts for the time Batman needs, but Superman ends up losing. Not only is the Man of Steel not at his best, but Failsafe uses its knowledge of Kryptonian biology against him, exploiting a pressure point.
With Superman down, it's up to Batman and Robin to take down the robotic menace. In the previous issue, Batman uncharacteristically used a gun (to be fair, it was an energy-based weapon) to pierce Failsafe's nigh-indestructible hide, which he believes may allow him access to the robot's software. Changing its programming, he thinks, might stop this unstoppable foe.
The Dynamic Duo put up a fierce fight, bolstering each other's effectiveness in battle via teamwork perfected by years of training. Despite all its programming, Failsafe is defeated, and Batman manages to add a new layer to its programming: compassion. Now, the robot designed by Batman has his own sense of humanity.
Failsafe staggers away from the fight and into the Fortress of Solitude. Batman watches nervously as the robot comes back out, stares at the Dark Knight… and lifts a strange, alien gun. Apparently, compassion was not enough.(opens in new tab)
As Tim pleads with Failsafe not to do what it's about to, Batman speaks very calmly, telling his smartest Robin that everything's going to be alright. Failsafe fires the weapon, leaving a smoking red crater where the Dark Knight stood. When Tim argues that Failsafe was supposed to have compassion, it responds flatly:
"Tim Drake, that WAS compassion."
With its objective complete, Failsafe takes to the sky. "Batman eliminated," it says, "end program." Thus ends the Failsafe saga, with Batman seemingly defeated for good.(opens in new tab)
The last page of the Failsafe arc finds a broken and bloodied Batman lying in what appears to be a Gotham alleyway during a rainy night. Could the red, smoking crater not be the charred remains of Batman? Might that alien gun Failsafe used have more of a purpose than mere destruction, perhaps even… teleportation? The solicitations for Batman #131 (January) and #132 (February) seem to suggest amnesia to some sort of Multiversal-displacement for a missing Bruce Wayne/Batman, but we'll have to wait until the next issue (at least) to find out.(opens in new tab)
Batman #130 went on sale December 6.
This is a great time to check out all the new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections from DC in 2022 (and 2023).