Batman: Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, Richard Starkings, Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt, Andy Clarke
Tomorrow: James Tynion IV, Andy Clarke, FCO Plascencia, Patrick Brosseau
If there’s one thing you can say about Scott Snyder, is that he can write reality. He can write conversations and situations that feel completely natural and not at all awkward to process. Everything flows with such an ease that you forget you’re reading a story because you’re suddenly IN the story, submerged beneath the paper of the pages. Snyder pulls you in with an expertise that, sadly, many other comic books sorely need.
This origin story focuses on the time Bruce spent in Gotham after returning from his several-year sojourn abroad. He has already decided to do something about the crime and corruption in his city, and has obtained most of the gear he’ll need to put his plan into action. I kind of wanted him to refer to “The Plan,” like he did in the animated film “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.”
What we do see is how Bruce is not a pro at this. The issue starts out with a big ol’ mistake of his. Apparently he’s been trying to find out as much as he can about the Red Hood Gang. Those of you familiar with old-school Batman history know that the Joker’s original origins lie within the Red Hood Gang. Those of you who don’t go that far back will, of course, recognize the name Red Hood and the style of their masks as those that Jason Todd wears currently. Well, there’s a reason for that, and it’s definitely to do with the relationship between the Joker and Batman.
From here, Bruce shows us a bunker he’s set up with all his gear and vehicles. It’s stuff like this in this issue that really reminds me of “Batman Begins.” In the movie, Bruce didn’t want anything to do with Wayne Manor. In the ish, Bruce set up shop in the middle of Crime Alley and never wants to go back to the manor.
Bruce tests out a new auto-returning boomerang gadget when Lieutenant Gordon comes to chat about vigilantism and possible corruption at Wayne Enterprises, and it turns into a really great scene.
Capullo’s art is great, as ever. I love the young Bruce look, and the different haircut he has. Not a lot of these Zero Issues are paying attention to changing the hair styles of the characters. There are a couple of exceptions, but this one stands out in my mind. And, even more interesting, apparently this Zero Issue story will continue on next year, as teased on the last page.
The second story in this issue is absolutely perfect. It revolves around all of Batman’s sidekicks. We see Barbara, soon after the events of Batgirl #0, talking to her father about a decision he’s making out on a rooftop. We see Tim at private school talking to his principal, who’s threatening to expel him. We see Jason participating in some petty crime, but who soon has second thoughts. Then we see Dick, practicing for his big day performing The Flying Graysons with his parents.
Something happens up in the sky that causes them all to look up with hope and wonder. Gordon has activated the bat signal for the first time. Barbara stands up on the roof for a few moments after Gordon leaves. Andy Clarke’s art here is a different style that involves a lot of shading lines, and weird hair…especially Tim’s. It looks like spilled ink or something. Not my favorite art style.
But the feeling the story leaves me with is awesome.
Batman #0, the verdict: Another great issue highlighting the earlier parts of our heroes’ careers. When this title’s #1 issue came out, I said it was the quintessential “Batman” book because it encompassed everything that Batman is and does. Once again, this title proves its worth as the best of the “Batman” books in the New 52, because this Zero Issue not only shows us Bruce Wayne before he was Batman, but it also included the rest of the team-to-be that is so important to the history of the Batman. Both Snyder and Tynion give true-to-character stories that do a great job of peeking into the personalities of our heroes before they were ever heroes, and were able to give us origin stories that don’t feel tired or overdone. With characters like Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, that takes a lot of thought.
(Photo Source: Entertainment Weekly)