Batman #33 Review - Zero Year Comes To A Close
First off, all I have to say is thank God, Zero Year is FINALLY over. Don't get me wrong, I've loved Zero Year a lot, but at some point, as pretty much everyone has pointed out by now, it got to where it was dragging on a lot and we were like "Ugh, this is so good, but can we get to the end already?!" And I know, that might sound like I'm contradicting myself, but that's how I feel. This story-line has lasted for 13 months. Now, it's had a great three-arc structure, and I'm glad that it ultimately ended with The Riddler as the central villain in a war of wits, but good God, 13 MONTHS?!
The only other problem I have with this issue, and unfortunately it's just by virtue of what it is, is this: No matter how hopelessly bleak things got in this last arc, where Riddler was in control of Gotham, and even in this issue, where fighter jets were inbound to unknowingly blow up Gotham, and at one point where Batman was actually flat-lining, you KNEW he was gonna make it out alright. And that's just by simple virtue of this being an origin story. No matter how intense things got, you knew Batman would live and Gotham would survive, because otherwise it wouldn't add up with everything we've seen of Batman in the current canonical universe thus far. Really, it comes off as the story that should've been done first, then Court/Night of the Owls, and then Death of the Family. So, I'm hoping that if DC ever does some kind of massive collection of Scott Snyder's work on Batman that it starts with Zero Year.
Otherwise, this comic is awesome. The final confrontation between Batman and Riddler is everything it should've been. The pacing is very well done to demonstrate how Batman and his team manage to save Gotham at just the right second. There's even some more flashbacks to Bruce when he was younger and trying to get through his PTSD, which why in the hell is it only now that we have a story about Bruce Wayne dealing with PTSD over his parents' deaths? The only thing that felt like a misstep was a scene at the end where we see an old girlfriend of Bruce's that comes to see him, when I think she only showed up once in the whole arc, but who knows, maybe that's building to something in a later story? There's even the last shot, where Batman's swinging past a building with an owl carving on it, which is either a reference to the Court of Owls story-arc or hinting at a return of them in the future. The art is very well done, bridging the current art style for Batman with some of the old. Everything is great to the point where I WANT, SO BADLY, to give this five stars...but throughout all of it, no matter how great it got, I kept thinking "Batman's going to win and everyone will live in the end", and "I wish it hadn't taken us 13 months to get to this point".
So yeah, unfortunately, I am compelled to dock this issue one star from a perfect rating because of those points. Otherwise, it was a perfect end to a great new take on Batman's origins. Overall, Zero Year on a whole ends up as being highly recommended, as it balances out so much of what makes Batman great, and follows a well-executed three act structure. Really, it just feels like it's probably best read as a cohesive story that's been put together after all the issues have come out, which I will probably do in the future. It's just a shame that it took so long to be told, and honestly, kinda glad the next arc is only six months. My brain can't take another year-long story. lol
So, is it the best Batman story Snyder and Capullo have done?...No, that honour still belongs to Court of Owls in my opinion. But then again, Court of Owls might just be my all-time favourite Batman story, so I don't think there's any shame in saying it comes up just short of that. To anyone that says I'm a gigantic Snyder/Capullo fanboy, well...Yeah, kinda am. Guilty as charged. Still, you can't deny this story's finer points, and earns its spot among the better Batman stories.