The Psychotic Perspective: The Dark Knight #0
Chill in the Air
It is a new week and we have yet another Batman origin story. I’ve only read one issue of Batman: The Dark Knight, the last issue, and I found that to be a good story exploring interesting new concepts in Bruce Wayne’s life, but the central conflict of the story was executed in a mundane manner. Does the Dark Knight’s zero issue provide a more original story or do we once again get an entertaining but trite Batman story?
In this issue, we see Bruce’s character development between the death of his parents and his training to become Batman.
A Teenage Batman
It is incredibly refreshing to see a new chapter in the life of Bruce Wayne. Previously, these years were all but lost. I have a fairly extensive knowledge of Batman, yet the only thing I can think of which was revealed about his teenage years beyond this issue is that Bruce was a good student. This story explores Bruce’s more youthful days, and I found it so enjoyable that I could see a miniseries exploring these years further.
The Beautiful Knight
Juan Jose Ryp does an excellent job sketching this book. Usually, artwork is the least of my concerns with a comic, but Ryp does such an excellent job that he deserves great praise. A large part of this issue deals with Bruce while he is still shell-shocked at having lost his parents, and Ryp perfectly conveys the image of a boy who has experienced a tragedy and withdrawn from the world in consequence. Ryp’s work is solid all around, but his work really shines when you study the amount of detail in characters’ faces. His sketches are excellent, and even if the story had no words, I believe you would be able to grasp most of the story simply from the artwork.
As for the story itself, it would give too much away to get specific. Suffice to say that Bruce knows that his parents were killed for a reason, and he will not be satisfied until he finds that reason. Through the story, Hurwitz creates several symbolic visuals (I am assuming that it was his idea as a writer and not that of the artist) including some creative use of pearls and graffiti, but again, to give these symbols away by explaining them would diminish their impact. Thematically, the issue focuses on lessons Bruce learned from his father, the struggle between chaos and order, and the role of evil and justice.
Two problems kept this issue from earning a perfect rating. First, Bruce’s dialogue as a child is just a tad too mature even for an extremely intelligent nine year old. The line, “I thought we’d have time. Time together. Time for them to know me. To know whoever I’ll become,” felt especially off to me. How many nine year olds think about the fact that they will one day become “someone else?” None. Second, there is one brief fight scene in this issue, and someone decided to make every point of contact in this fight scene explode with red. It might seem as if the red represented blood, but if this is the case, then we have to believe that someone’s head exploded from being hit by a pool cue and Bruce’s hand was shattered by falling on a table. This scene really bugged me.
Also, there is yet another continuity error as Batman is shown in an airport at the end of the issue preparing to disembark for his years of training. All given timelines for the DCNU say that Batman started his superhero career two years before Superman, yet in the mentioned panel we see a kid wearing a Superman T-Shirt. Once more I must say, get your s*** together DC. This is getting embarrassing.
This issue is very good and a must read for any Batman fan.