DC Just Killed SPOILER and Batman Takes the Blame

Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez's run on Batman kicked off this week with Batman #125 and the series wasted no time hitting the Dark Knight with a new crime spree to stop — as well as what turned out to be a wild twist that left a major foe dead with Gotham's hero taking the blame. It's a shocking twist that sets the stage for what may be one of Batman's biggest challenges yet.

Warning: spoilers for Batman #125 beyond this point.

In Batman #125, we find Batman dealing with a new crime spree of sorts in Gotham. The rich — or more specifically a certain category of the rich and elite — are being murdered. There's no real mystery who is behind it. Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin takes credit for it. He's claiming that these rich elites have done nothing for Gotham and must die for it or give up their fortunes for the city. After figuring out that Penguin is going to stage a large-scale attack at an elite gathering, Batman attends as Bruce Wayne intending to stop the attack and Penguin in the process.

It turns out, however, to have been a trap. Tim gets shot, which leads Batman to the hospital where he discovers that Oswald is actually dying of mercury poisoning. Oswald is killing off the elite out of some sick jealousy that they live good lives while he dies horribly and Batman, it turns out, is his next target. But he doesn't want Batman to die. He has different suffering for the hero planned. Oswald swallows a cyanide pill, ending his own life and making it appear that the Batman killed him in cold blood by pressing the call button strategically, ensuring witnesses in the hospital and the police are already waiting outside. Soon enough, the news is buzzing with the idea that Batman, the city's hero, is a murderer.

The idea that Penguin is dead is a bold one, especially that it's done in such a way that people would believe that Batman is the killer. That said, it remains to be seen if this is a death that sticks. Not only is this comics after all, a format in which death is a flexible concept in many cases, but the issue already offered a Penguin fake out before we get to the hospital moment. The gala sees "Penguin" lording over his would-be victims only for it to be revealed that it is actually Clayface. Is the villain's death in the hospital another fake out? Time will tell, but for now, the kickoff of the "Failsafe" arc is certainly one that creates a new set of issues for Batman at a very precarious time for the hero.

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Batman #125 is on sale now.