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Is Batman as Blind as a Bat?

Is Batman as Blind as a Bat?

By Joshua Lapin-Bertone Monday, July 11th, 2022

Batman might be the World’s Greatest Detective, but there are times when he misses the obvious. Batman #125 was published last week, kicking off a new creative era with writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jorge Jimenez. We’re only one issue in, and I have to say that I’m already loving it in part because it seems to be taking Batman off his pedestal.

People like to think of Batman as a master tactician who is always ten steps ahead of his opponents, but if that were the case, crime in Gotham would have been eradicated years ago. Remember, the appeal of Batman is that he’s a mortal man, and mortal men have a habit of making mistakes. Sometimes it comes from burnout, and sometimes it comes from a failure to shift your perspective. Throughout Zdarsky and Jimenez’s debut issue, Batman seems to be losing his focus.

Early on in the issue, Bruce calls Selina, hoping she can help him solve the mystery of their relationship. Selina answers, but Bruce is disheartened to learn that she had just spent the night with another man. The couple have been on a break since the conclusion of “Joker War,” with a plan to address their relationship after some time apart.

Since then, Bruce has been trying to make sense of their future together, but he forgot to let Selina in on his thoughts. During the “Shadow War” storyline, he rejects Talia’s romantic overtures, claiming that he and Selina still have unfinished business. That is all well and fine, but Bruce was too blind to see that Selina had begun to move on. One has to think that he wouldn’t have been caught off-guard if he’d only checked in with her a bit more regularly.

Bruce’s love life is not his only blind spot. The Penguin murders Colin Fitzroy, a socialite who Bruce had considered a friend. Batman confronts Penguin, describing Colin as a kind and generous man. Penguin replies by telling Batman that Fitzroy use to frequent the Iceberg Lounge, and he was anything but kind. Colin would gamble, mistreat the support staff, and ogle the women. “You’re so out of touch,” Penguin says.

I can’t believe I’m agreeing with the Penguin here, but he’s right. Batman, a man who has been trained to see through disguises, was unable to see that one of his society friends was not the moral character he was pretending to be.

Strangely enough, Oswald Cobblepot takes Batman by surprise twice in this issue. In a surprising turn of events, we learn that the crime lord has been hospitalized due to mercury poisoning and the doctors aren’t expecting him to survive the night. Bedridden and dying, how much damage could someone like the Penguin do to Batman? Apparently a lot. With nothing left to lose, Cobblepot swallows a cyanide capsule and sets off his alarm. A nurse enters just in time to see Batman trying to fish the capsule out of Penguin’s mouth, but of course, that isn’t what it looks like.

As a result, Batman has been framed for the Penguin’s murder. It was a careless trap that Bruce should’ve seen coming, but he didn’t. Once again, he’s as blind as a bat.

Throughout the issue, both Tim Drake and Barbara Gordon try to snap Bruce out of whatever funk he’s in.

“Something is wrong,” the Dark Knight notes. “An itch in my brain. A mystery just out of reach.” Bruce seems to think this is a recent development, but the evidence points elsewhere. He knew Fitzroy for years and never suspected his true nature. The rift between Bruce and Selina had been growing for months, and he hasn’t noticed it. Does the Dark Knight have blind spots, or is he just spread too thin?

A Batman who fails is a scary thing, and to be honest, I’m here for it. A burned-out Dark Knight is probably a Dark Knight at his most relatable in 2022. It opens up an interesting thread—what are the consequences of a Batman who can’t keep it together? Within one issue, he’s lost his love, his partner has been shot and he’s been framed for murder. How can the Caped Crusader pick up the pieces? I don’t know where the solution lies, but chances are it isn’t in his utility belt.

Batman #125 by Chip Zdarsky, Jorge Jimenez, Tomeu Morey, Belen Ortega and Luis Guerrero is now available in print and as a digital comic book.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.