I. Am. Batman!
Last issue, Bruce Wayne resolved to become something more than a man and strike fear into those that would harm innocent. Now, we all know what that means, but it is still very cool to see writer Scott Snyder's vision unfold. In this super-sized issue, we see the newly-cowled Batman take the fight to the Red Hood gang.
Bruce finds the Red Hood gang has been knocking off chemical companies, working towards a greater dark plan for Gotham. This eventually leads him to confront the gang at Ace Chemical, and anyone who knows Batman knows what happens here. Batman fights the gang, in a very awesome fight scene, and something very expected happens to Red Hood 1.
The best part is that this is not even the climax of the issue, and we see Batman confronted with his first true villain: Edward Nygma, The Riddler. He blacks out Gotham, and holding it hostage, declaring the games to have "begun". What this means we will have to wait and see, but I am excited for it.
The big plus for me in this issue was the artwork. I was sold from a very early panel when Batman takes down about a half-dozen Red Hood members, strapping them all to a billboard in the shape of a bat. Now, that is not the selling point, what it says on the billboard is. The sign says "Welcome to Gotham, the greatest city in the country!". Once the bat-emblem is covering it, the only visible words are "welcome to" and "country". The sign now reads: "Welcome to Bat Country". Little artistic details like that can really sell a book to me. I also love how Batman's suit looks incomplete. He does not have his signature hooked gauntlets yet, and looks like he is wearing steel-toed boots. It is still a work-in-progress for Bruce, and again it is a small detail that really can sell the feel of a book.
I know there are mixed feelings on Snyder's Batman run, but I for one am loving it. I think "Zero Year" is, so far, a great retelling of Batman's origin. It is familiar yet different, which is what an origin retelling should be. Also, Snyder did a great job planning his timing, since this is a past story occurring during the Justice League's apparent "death" in Forever Evil. This ensures readers can keep up with Batman, but not really contradict the continuity of the universe. Plus, we are moving on from the Red Hood gang onto some pure-bred Batman villainy with The Riddler, one of Batman's best rogues. The story looks promising, and I recommend it.