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With a groan, Batman pulls himself up out of a crater in the Arctic snow and stands up. He is smoking a little bit, and looks pissed, in Batman #130 (2022). Image: Chip Zdarsky, Jorge Jimenez/DC Comics

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Batman has been in a hell of his own making for months now, ever since writer Chip Zdarsky took the reins on the character’s flagship series. As drawn by Jorge Jimenez, the Caped Crusader has battled “Failsafe,” an unstoppable robot designed by Batman’s own emergency back-up personality to activate and kill him if he should ever break his rule against killing.

Failsafe has so far chewed through Batman (several times), all of Batman’s family, and even Justice League members the likes of Superman himself. Last issue, Batman lured the machine out to the old Justice League satellite near the Moon, and this month’s issue opened with Batman stranded, drifting in space between the Moon and Earth. So he did what any of us would have done in that situation.

He found a way to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and reach the ground alive.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)


Batman #130

Batman falls through the upper atmosphere, his suit beginning to burn, thinking “Cape spines sh-should be able to hold... just can’t slow down t-too quickly... or my insides will c-collapse,” in Batman #130 (2022). Image: Chip Zdarsky, Jorge Jimenez/DC Comics

How did Batman make it back to the Arctic? He grabbed an oxygen tank and an unhoused booster rocket from his wrecked ship to hang on to for propulsion, depended on the batsuit for insulation and shielding (wrapping his trunks around his face when his oxygen mask melted on reentry), and I guess he did a lot of orbital mechanics math on the fly.

He even managed to land in walking distance from the Fortress of Solitude. Nobody tell Tom Cruise about this.

Dark Web: X-Men #1

Iceman, Firestar, and Spider-Man observe their defeated enemy: The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, transformed into an evil monster, burnt to a crisp, and then frozen in a giant block of ice. “I saw it eat Santa,” says a small child. “We all saw it, kid,” says Spider-Man. “Don’t worry though — He’s a mutant and the X-Men are gonna resurrect him in their Keebler Treehouse,” in Dark Web: X-Men #1 (2022). Image: Gerry Duggan, Rod Reis/Marvel Comics

I love a superhero story set at Christmas, and one where the mundane objects of New York City all turn into Toon Town-esque nightmares, like Dark Web, is particularly fun. The core conceit of this series — Jean Grey and Peter Parker’s embittered clones teaming up to make things worse — is obscure but the series itself feels like it knows how ridiculous it is.

The bit that will stick with me for a while is this truly Real New York Problems-ass example of superhero collateral damage. Not a crushed building, not a busted bridge: A huge eyesore on a major landmark that takes way, way, way too long to clean up. It’s perfect.

Do a Powerbomb #7

Little Yuna and her mom discuss where you go when you die. “It might be kind of like wrestling,” she finally answers, “A lot of people think wrestling is about the outcome. The ending. Pre-determined. Why bother watching? But we all know where we’re going in the end. Eventually we die. Our outcome is always known,” she says in Do A Powerbomb #7 (2022). Image: Daniel Warren Johnson/Image Comics

Do a Powerbomb, already one of my best comics of 2023 (because the trade won’t hit until March), takes its sweet leave this week, with electrifying action and tear-jerking drama to the very end.

Danger Street #1

Two guys talk vaguely with each other at a diner about the serious, dangerous thing they’re about to do. They’re dressed in a non-descript way, except of them has a big ole beard and fancy moustache, and the other has unnaturally colored skin and hair. “You and all the normal, he mutters, sipping coffee, “What’s normal?” “Beats me, fellows,” says a face in a sudden waft of gas, in Danger Street #1 (2022). Image: Tom King, Jorge Fornés/DC Comics

From the team that brought you Rorschach comes Danger Street, nominally an ensemble thriller miniseries only about shmoes from DC Comics’ most obscure and disjointed series — characters like Lady Cop, Atlas (not the Greek one) and Star Man (not the one you’ve heard of).

It’s an odd illusion, given that I’m very familiar with some of these characters — Metamorpho, Warlord, and Doctor Fate, for example — but the overall experience reminds me most powerfully of something like Top Ten or Watchmen or even an old Wildstorm book. Somehow writer Tom King and artist Jorge Fornés have made the DC Universe feel like an ad hoc original superhero setting inspired by, poking fun at, and celebrating the weirdness of the DC Universe.

Secret Invasion #2

The modern Avengers — and Squirrel Girl — sit around a table as Maria Hill demonstrates her new Skrull detector in Secret Invasion #2 (2022). Image: Ryan North, Francesco Mobili/Marvel Comics

Don’t think I didn’t notice Squirrel Girl’s no-lines Avengers cameo in Ryan North and Francesco Mobili’s Secret Invasion. Because I did. I see it, I’m here for it, and I love it.

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