This has been a series that I have really enjoyed, as being a big Batman fan it's nice to see the main Batman series doing well, which it has been since Death of the Family, with this story looking to be just as good, if not possibly better.
That One Time
A 21 year old Bruce goes to a man named Sergei to further his training.
This was a brilliant issue, and although there were times where I wasn't sure if it met the same level of quality as the last issue, overall it may have even surpassed it. Scott Snyder is certainly doing a great job with this story, and although there was a couple of slow bits that made me consider lowering the rating, the other clever bits made up for them, and then some. The emotion that Snyder added to this issue was amazing, and I especially loved the interaction between Bruce, and Alfred. The action was also superb, and the way he's added Riddler (Edward Nigma) to the story has been brilliant, and I hope we also see him becoming the Riddler in this story.
The art from Greg Capullo was once again outstanding, and his style seriously suits this series. He may no be the best Batman artist ever, but he's certainly understood the tone of each story, adding the right tone for each story. The detail in Capullo's art is also brilliant with very few imperfections, if any. The layout of his art is also amazing, and I love the symbolism in his work. He also does a great job at drawing the character's, and especially with their facial expressions, even showing it on the Red Hood Gang, which isn't easy considering their faces are covered. the cover was also brilliant, and yet again showed symbolism, being very basic, yet still amazing.
This issue started with Bruce once again going after the Red Hood Gang. Now although I wasn't initially a fan of the group when they were introduced in the zero issue, I have however grown to like this group over the last couple of issues, and the mystery over who's leading them has left a lot of people speculating. I also have my theories, and although I won't share them here as to avoid potential spoilers (if I'm by any chance right) I will say that I don't think it's Joker, or Riddler as they're too obvious (plus Joker was just in a story). Besides this the action was perfectly handled, and I'm loving seeing Bruce use other resources to fight his war on crime, showing that Batman wasn't his initial plan.
There was a sequence in this issue where Bruce, and Alfred had a heated discussion, and although I won't go into details, as to avoid spoilers, I will say my thoughts on the sequence. First of all I felt it was expertly handled, and it added much more drama to the issue. I did however feel that both character's said things that weren't what you'd expect from them, but this just shows how much their relationship has changed over the years. Besides all this I liked the fact that despite it being a intense sequence it managed to add a bit of humour.
Last issue showed that Edward Nigman, better known as the Riddler would feature in this story, and that continued in this issue. Ridder is my second favourite villain after Joker, and could have easily have been my favourite if he'd featured in more great stories, so it's nice to see him in this story. The interaction between him, and Bruce in this issue was very interesting, and I loved how part of the discussion was in the form of a puzzle, as although it wasn't easy to read, it suited the Riddler perfectly. I also look forward to seeing what he has in story for Bruce, and what his goal is.
The back-up story was once again written by Snyder, and James Tynion IV, and drawn by Rafael Albuquerque. Now the story itself was nothing amazing, as although it was nice to see Bruce continue his training it wasn't necessary. I did however like how this made Bruce have to think hard, which was interesting. Albuquerque's art was however once again outstanding, and very well detailed.
This was an amazing issue, and a great continuation to Zero Year. This issue had plenty of action, that was exciting, and explosive, as well as some intense, dramatic sequences. The addition of Edward Nigma, and the fact that he, and Bruce's uncle, Philip Kane are conspiring against Bruce is also interesting, and overall this has been a very enjoyable issue. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this issue, as well as last issue, and the zero issue, which also ties into the story.