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Batman #0 - Bright New Yesterday; Tomorrow Review

5

It's time to visit Gotham City before Bruce Wayne became Batman and wait until you see who he goes up against!

The Good

Many readers of the New 52 are hung up on the 'five year' time frame and not knowing what has or hasn't happened but the beauty of the zero issues DC is putting out is we get to find out what happened before this relaunch started. Batman is one of the few characters that has seen any major changes in the New 52. Pretty much his entire history has remained intact (even if we don't know how it could all fit within five years). When it comes to a zero/origin issue for Batman, one would think there isn't really anything we could learn. If we did think that, we'd be wrong.

I won't spoil who appears smack dab on the second page. We get a familiar face (sort of) with a new take (courtesy of Greg Capullo) that touches upon a classic origin but with minor tweaks that make it absolutely work in these modern comics. I have to admit, I almost got chills every time the name of the…group that appears was mentioned. The scene that plays out makes me wish it was possible for Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo to do a miniseries based on this time period while also doing Batman stories set in the present.

This little visit to the past shows Bruce still attempting to find his way in becoming a crime fighter. That means, this isn't going to be the perfect character that makes no mistakes and is prepared for any situation. In other words, it's highly possible for Bruce to mess up and get in over his head. But of course he will be able to show he is nearly ready to become Batman.

As Bruce lies on the precipice of who he will become, there are still loads of decisions to be made. Seeing how he teeters on the edge of how he plans to proceed in different areas is like discovering the secrets behind a magician's tricks. He's ready to do away with his Bruce Wayne identity even though he doesn't have his Batman one yet. There's also the discussion between Bruce and Alfred which is priceless.

On a personal note, I couldn't be happier to see a mention of Philip Kane. That would make him Bruce's Uncle Philip, a character I've been wondering for years what his true connection to Bruce was and what happened to him. (See article: Why Was Batman Raised by a Butler? for more on Uncle Philip).

Then there's the back up story. As if a great and chilling main story wasn't enough, we get another story by James Tynion IV with art by Andy Clarke. This takes place five years ago and you get to find out quite a bit about the different Robins and how they fit into this five years. It's also interesting to see the difference in Jim Gordon within one year. You won't want to miss this. We need more stories flashing back to this time!

The Bad

The main story is 'to be continued.' Does this mean we'll be seeing the story continued later in a flashback? It's great that the story won't be rushed and we'll get to see more (a complaint I had about the main story in DETECTIVE COMIC #0) but it feels a little weird to have the story end on such a cliffhanger in a zero issue when they're supposed to be self contained.

It's official. We had all the Robins within five years. This issue along with last week's DETECTIVE COMICS #0 and BATMAN AND ROBIN #0 continue to illustrate the problem of the five year timeline. The fact that Damian is ten and Bruce was seen dressed as Batman when he shared his special night with Talia before Damian came along just makes this all a bit of a mess. Also, what about James Jr and Bruce saving him during YEAR ONE? Thankfully the stories are great despite that problem.

The Verdict

Having all our comics interrupted by a zero issue might have seemed like a bad idea but this issue makes you wish it could last for more than a month. We thought we knew all about Bruce's days before becoming a crime fighter in his YEAR ONE days but Scott Snyder manages to give us a story that goes above and beyond what you would expect from this time. The kicker is the situation Bruce puts himself in and who he ends up confronting. Getting an early look at these characters along with Jim Gordon's take makes you hunger for a separate series showing us all the detail from this time. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo continue their winning streak of great issue after great issue. Throw in an amazing back up by James Tynion IV and Andy Clarke, this is the kind of issue Batman fans want.

44 Comments
Edited by kennybaese

Can we all just agree that continuity is really really stupid and just move past it already? I mean, everyone complains about the Robins all happening in five years, but no one cares that Bruce hasn't aged in the last 35 years in comics (and has, in fact, only gotten younger). Peter Parker aged, what, two or three years in Ultimate Spider-Man before his death, and that accounts for 10 years of stories.

Time in superhero comics has (for the most part) never ever made sense. I hate the fact that they've assigned an actual number of years to the DCU's past as much as anyone. It doesn't make much sense and it's incredibly stupid. At the same time, the passage of time in comics has been stupid for a really long time now, so please stop beating a dead horse.

EDIT: That Paquete variant cover is rad as all hell. I need to track down a copy.

Posted by Twentyfive

Batman is Awesome!

Posted by Azrael66

The passage of time in comics is stupid... just look at Magneto

Oh, and Batman is awesome as always.

Posted by CircularLogic

@Azrael66: Thing is, Magneto's age has been adequately explained in-continuity. At one point, Magneto was turned into a baby, and when he was restored to an adult he only was brought to his middle ages instead of back to his late 60's/70's/80's (depending on what decade your in while reading X-men). It's goofy, but a fair explanation in the cracked out world of comics.

Posted by G-Man

@kennyshat:

Posted by kennybaese

@G-Man: But I'm on the internet and you have to do what I say because I commented on your review and if you don't you're obviously biased beyond all belief and everything you have to say is meaningless so why am I even talking to you?

;)

But seriously, I used to worry about continuity a ton and it got to the point where it was ruining my enjoyment of the stories I was reading, not to mention leading to a bunch of really stupid arguments with friends about what makes sense and what doesn't. From then on, I decided to only pay attention to continuity within specific runs of books and otherwise only consider big events and whether or not the story I'm reading takes place before or after those events in case that extra context is needed. Otherwise, I've found trying to make sense of continuity to be a great way get really upset about something that ultimately doesn't matter than much. DC definitely messed up by putting a concrete number of years on their continuity, but overall I think they've done a good job in the New 52 of balancing the new stories they want to tell while referencing the stories that have come before (at least in the books I'm reading. Animal Man and Swamp Thing in particular come to mind). So all in all, it doesn't bother me much. Just because some story that I was a fan of isn't officially part of the continuity anymore doesn't make that story automatically terrible. It's still a good story.

Posted by PastaLover

Are there any spoilers from the Night of Owls storyline in this comic?

Posted by DerfelMacklin

What the hell DC. You had a chance to clear up the four Robins in five years problem with the seven year timeline bit and you just double down on it by starting the Robin chain five years ago?

Still, kinda cool that Uncle Phillip is back in continuity as a Kane. It makes sense that Bruce would have some family, even if he doesn't talk to em.

Posted by zachkastner

In Batman & Robin 0 Talia soaks Damian in the Lazarus Pit, and I think it enhances his mind and body to an increased age. We witness 5 birthdays of his--coupled with his test tube birth enhancements--I think he is actually speed aged. So "being ten year old" could just be physically. Similar to Superboy. Ya know?

Posted by zachkastner

@kennyshat said:

But seriously, I used to worry about continuity a ton and it got to the point where it was ruining my enjoyment of the stories I was reading, not to mention leading to a bunch of really stupid arguments with friends about what makes sense and what doesn't. From then on, I decided to only pay attention to continuity within specific runs of books and otherwise only consider big events and whether or not the story I'm reading takes place before or after those events in case that extra context is needed. Otherwise, I've found trying to make sense of continuity to be a great way get really upset about something that ultimately doesn't matter than much. DC definitely messed up by putting a concrete number of years on their continuity, but overall I think they've done a good job in the New 52 of balancing the new stories they want to tell while referencing the stories that have come before (at least in the books I'm reading. Animal Man and Swamp Thing in particular come to mind). So all in all, it doesn't bother me much. Just because some story that I was a fan of isn't officially part of the continuity anymore doesn't make that story automatically terrible. It's still a good story.

I love this. You and I can be friends.

Posted by kingjoeg

@PastaLover: no

Posted by feargalr

@zachkastner said:

In Batman & Robin 0 Talia soaks Damian in the Lazarus Pit, and I think it enhances his mind and body to an increased age. We witness 5 birthdays of his--coupled with his test tube birth enhancements--I think he is actually speed aged. So "being ten year old" could just be physically. Similar to Superboy. Ya know?

I thought that was just a swimming pool, doesn't a lazarus pit like glow green or something? I took it as her ensuring that her boy was strong, or something...

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

@G-Man said:

@kennyshat:

Superb.

Posted by The Cyan Lantern

Okay, I'll go first...

THE BACKUP WAS BETTER THAN THE MAIN STORY!

that is all

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire need to follow up Rotworld with a crossover featuring Batman, Swamp Thing, and Justice League Dark.

It would be bloody brilliant.
Posted by Funrush
Posted by mattwing87

This issue was ok. I enjoyed the back up story better than the main story!

Posted by The Black Hood

The backup story was just another great example of why Tim Drake is the man. I freakin' love this book.

Posted by Cavemold

Great issue but the HUGE CLIFFHANGER. I wanted more scott!!!!!!! Great strory and i see can see why Jason is the way he is now..

Posted by Cyborg6971

I have to wait till it comes in the mail, BOO. Oh well, I just watched part one of the dark knight returns and it's SWEET. Can't wait till part 2. Does anyone know when it's due out?

Posted by Sovereign91001

@Funrush: Yes

Posted by SmoothJammin

I swear. If Tim is an olympic athlete for what I think he is. I'm dropping Titans. God.. he is such a biter.

Posted by SmoothJammin

Don't let me confirm this, I don't want to hate you my beloved Bats

Posted by Booster_Bronze

Can I just say that I'm psyched to see a little more light shed on one of comic-dom's greatest villains? Maybe they're so happy with Snyder's ability as a writer they're going to let him finally give a definitive origin for the Joker. I'm thinking that that to be continued in 2013 thing will be a nice dovetail to the upcoming Death of the Family line and we finally get to see a Joker flashback, maybe to how he was made and how it relates to this story.

Also, I personally could care less about the whole "fitting it into five years" thing. I personally think five years is enough time to do all that Robin stuff with Dick, Tim, and Jason, even if it meant trimming a little bit of the storyline stuff in the process. Never forget: the purpose of The New 52 was to get new readers on board with comics and to help distill/simplify the confusing comic yarns that had built up over the years! That's not to say that DC doesn't CARE about their loyal readers who have all the comics which might now not matter as much to continuity, but whether or not those readers are at all happy about suddenly being "irrelevant experts" on stuff that now didn't happen simply isn't a priority for DC. The stories were great and you enjoyed them. AWESOME! However, you gotta learn to live with the fact that all the information you built up over the years doesn't matter as much anymore as it used to. Get on board and enjoy the new ride. You can be content with the knowledge that you'll catch all the "new" characters who get introduced along the way as they appear to new readers almost like Easter Eggs put in there for you. Otherwise, get over it and quit complaining. It comes off as a tad bit elitist.

Also, I've learned to just ignore anything Grant Morrison does in his continuity stuff. He's still in a pre-New 52 mindset and seems deadset on doing whatever the hell he wants, continuity be damned (yes, I don't much like Morrison).

Oh, and I guess a review is in order: Loved this comic. The End.

Posted by RedX9

The only way I can see that this 5 year timeline works is if Dick was 15 when he was adopted so that in the current comics he's 20, Jason would be about 15 so currently he's 19 and Tim was 12 or 13 so he would be about 17 to 18 but either way, this whole timeline is a little convoluted. There's no true way anyone would be able to have that many sidekicks in that small amount of time. Batman has had to be active for about 10 years at the least for all of this to make sense. Plus, Bruce and his adventures in training would mean he's been traveling for like 5 years at the least as well and thats not enough time to be a master at all his arts. Ugh, this is so screwed up....still....loved the issue lol

Posted by RedOwl_1

Loved a lot the backup, it's great.

Posted by InnerVenom123
Posted by longbowhunter

I just re-read the Killing Joke two nights ago. I'm anxious to see how Scott Snyder plans on spinning the whole Red Hood/Joker connection. The backup was great. I love it any time Andy Clarke works on a Bat title and seeing Tim was a big plus.

Posted by EvanTheMexiJew

I liked that this issue wasn't just another "and in the end he's Batman!" comics that we usually get when a prequel issue comes out. It showed Bruce actually messing up on a mission, and a BIG one, at that. I also like that you start to see Bruce slowing forming into Batman, but it's obvious he's not quite there yet.

I only hope that they don't change the Joker's character's origin too much. I love Scott Snyder, but Alan Moore's was soooooo good. I also don't like that the Red Hood seems to be the actual mastermind behind all of his actions, instead of being the mob's puppet. One of the other Red Hoods may be the Joker, but it feels unlikely.
Posted by BatWatch

The impression I got from "The Story Continues in 2013" was that there very well might be a miniseries continuing this story? I would definitely buy it.

Online
Posted by noj

Scott Snyders main story was awesome as always but I have to say that the backup was honestly better! What a great story!

Posted by KnightRise

In all honesty, the backup was twice as good as the main story. I would not have given it a five. Its wierd, the issue had great individual parts worthy of a high score (especially the appearence of certain domed criminal) but over all it somehow wasn't spectacular. The backup was absolutely awesome, though. I gave up on continuity with this timeline; I made my own and ignore certain a few details, so the conflictions of the strict timeline don't bother me. Robin 0 and Batgirl 0 were both better this week. I don't know how to feel about it.

And the solicit was wrong.

Posted by Ugbug

@G-Man said:

@kennyshat:

Barry Allen messed with the space time continuum so much that 10 years = 5 years. Flashpoint solves everything, or at least can take the blame for anything inconsistent.

Posted by JonesDeini

@kennyshat said:

Can we all just agree that continuity is really really stupid and just move past it already? I mean, everyone complains about the Robins all happening in five years, but no one cares that Bruce hasn't aged in the last 35 years in comics (and has, in fact, only gotten younger). Peter Parker aged, what, two or three years in Ultimate Spider-Man before his death, and that accounts for 10 years of stories.

Time in superhero comics has (for the most part) never ever made sense. I hate the fact that they've assigned an actual number of years to the DCU's past as much as anyone. It doesn't make much sense and it's incredibly stupid. At the same time, the passage of time in comics has been stupid for a really long time now, so please stop beating a dead horse.

EDIT: That Paquete variant cover is rad as all hell. I need to track down a copy.

If nobody else feels you, I do

Posted by Maxman3

This was an incredible issue. I'm sorry to not see Rafael Albuquerque doing the backups as I find him and Snyder in tandem can communicate emotion the way few other creative teams can.

Edited by SupBatz

Am I the only one who was not impressed?

SPOILERS

First of all, not too keen on the fact that the Joker was shown before his "accident". The great thing about his past is that it's mysterious. And this issue pretty much threw a chunk of that away.

But I could even learn to look past that if the issue impressed me. Nothing much really happened. I feel like I could have skipped this issue and not missed anything important at all.

The backup was somewhat more interesting. I didn't really like the way Tim and Jason were written but the last part with everyone looking at the Bat-signal was a really great moment that made up for any problems I had with the backup.

Also, why is it that everything reviewed on here seems to get a 4 or a 5? I mean, to each his own but I did not think this deserved a 5 at all and that a lot of the reason for the 5 is because of Snyder's reputation.

Posted by jojobinks70

I agree with those suggesting to get over griping about continuity. Batman has been around since 1939. If he was 30 years old at the start that would put him at around 101 right before New 52 started. Explain that with continuity. Time in comics never has made sense, its a given.

I thoroughly enjoyed this issue,but like others actually enjoyed the 2nd story more. Good stuff over all though.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Really enjoyable issue, but I LOVED THE BACK UP STORY!

Posted by MadeinBangladesh
@The Cyan Lantern: AGRRED.
Posted by tim_mik

I think this issue was overpraised a bit. For someone who came into comics six or seven years ago and doesn't read back issues/trades, I felt like I didn't care what was happening for the large part of the story. And the cliffhanger was really awkwardly done. I actually liked the backup story much more. In that case, it reminded me of the old Tim Drake and that I appreciated.

Posted by Jake Fury

Have you ever thought about doing an unbiased review of a Scott Snyder Batman comic? Giving every issue ever 5 stars is completely laughable & seriously unprofessional.

Posted by Billy Batson

@Jake Fury said:

Have you ever thought about doing an unbiased review of a Scott Snyder Batman comic? Giving every issue ever 5 stars is completely laughable & seriously unprofessional.

Ooooo damn :o
BB

Posted by ragdollpurps

@Jake Fury: Don't you know how CV works? Part of being staff is not being able to set aside personal biases.

Posted by Supreme Marvel