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Batman #22 - Zero Year: Secret City, Part Two; That One Time Review

5

Zero Year continues and this isn't quite the Batman we thought we knew. It's a trip seeing him develop into the character we love.

The Good

The very first thing you'll notice upon opening the comic is the colors by FCO Plascencia. BATMAN has always been a great looking comic but rarely do we get to see colors like this in this title. Besides getting to see Batman's early days, we're also getting new settings and situations in Zero Year. As a creature of the night, it's refreshing, if a bit odd, to see so much brightness in a Batman comic.

A Gotham City without a proper Batman is such a strange thing. Scott Snyder is doing a great job simply establishing the vibe of the city that isn't being protected by the Dark Knight. The presence and rise of the Red Hood Gang creates a new unknown. Bruce is still pretty raw and inexperienced (even if he's been training for years). We're seeing a "Batman" that isn't the perfect fighter that "always wins." You'll clearly see that the leader of the gang isn't just a silly guy in a strange helmet. We're witnessing his rise as he becomes a bigger threat is setting up what we can assume will be a dynamic final battle with Batman.

Greg Capullo's art shines as usual. In some cases, literally. Seeing the reflection of a familiar character on the helmet combined with Danny Miki's inks and the colors really makes the scene pop off the page.

Throughout the story, Snyder continues to throw twists and turns our way. The main thing is, while this is a less experienced Batman, he still shows how clever and resourceful he can be.

Of course this isn't just about Bruce vs. the Red Hood Gang. Snyder continues to give us a glimpse into Bruce's early days as well. The scene, art, lighting...it's all spectacular. That's not all the visual treats we get. You really get the feeling that the entire Bat-(creative)-team is really upping their game in making this an incredible comic. I won't even allude to how the story amps up towards the end.

The backup is once again co-written by James Tynion IV with art by Rafael Albuquerque. As great as it is seeing a younger Bruce in Gotham in these early days, seeing him even before, as he goes about the world learning different skills is completely fascinating as well.

The Bad

It was another great issue. The only "bad" thing is a scene about midway between Bruce and another character. It's not bad at all, totally fitting for the story. It was just hard to read. You'll see what I'm talking about when you read the issue.

The Verdict

The first chapter of Zero Year was great and you can see that it gets even better with the second. This is not just a retelling of Bruce's early days. While we do see how he started becoming the hero we know and love today, there's so much more to this story that makes it feel completely new at the same time. Every single creator involved is in top form here. You get the impression they are really putting their all into this issue. The writing, art, colors, lettering...it all looks so good. We're only in the second part and I'm already looking forward to buying this again in a hardcover format because I'm enjoying it so much. This is definitely going to be a story I will re-read over and over. It may be Batman's origin, in a way, but there's simply no telling what's going to happen next.

29 Comments
Posted by Dud317

Awesome to hear such praise!

Posted by G-Man

@dud317: I tried to keep it brief. And of course I didn't touch on the second half of the issue in order to avoid spoilers!

Staff
Posted by Blue_Lantern_Franko

So pumped!!!

Edited by NightFang

I'm really starting to think this Red Hood might have become the Joker.

Edited by noj

What an awesome cover!

Posted by Reignmaker

So hyped for this book. And good review. You gave a general feel for how it is without getting too spoilerish.

Snyder and Capullo are just awesome together. I hope this becomes a good long run (50+ issues).

Online
Posted by braynehurricane

@nightfang: Why wouldn't he have? That's always been the sort of story of the Red Hood. It would also make sense as to why Jason Todd took on the name Red Hood after coming back from the dead, even in the New 52.

Posted by Kiddevil

How many parts is it supposed to be?

Edited by Reignmaker

@braynehurricane: I get this feeling that we're supposed to think that the Red Hood leader is Joker, but he won't be. The only pre-joker mob boss that I remember seeing was in the Batman '89 film. Every other time he's a stooge of some sort, like in The Killing Joke.

@kiddevil: 11.

Online
Posted by Shallbecomeabattoo

@reignmaker: about the identity of the Red Hood... I think the same thing! I guess it will be someone else we know, or it will lead into a new villain that comes back in the present, after the arc has finished.

Posted by ccraft

Man I'm behind on Batman, missed the last issue and now this one..

Edited by CaptainHoopla

So hyped for this book. And good review. You gave a general feel for how it is without getting too spoilerish.

Snyder and Capullo are just awesome together. I hope this becomes a good long run (50+ issues).

Agreed!

Anybody know if the Zero Year arc is going to crossover into other Bat titles? I'm hoping no but expect it will.

Posted by Reignmaker

Agreed!

Anybody know if the Zero Year arc is going to crossover into other Bat titles? I'm hoping no but expect it will.

Based on what Snyder originally said, it sounds like he and Capullo wanted this to be its own thing within Batman.

However based on some recent interviews, Snyder admitted that some other creatives had approached him with interest to "piggyback" the event with some early period stories of their own. I bet the editors would love nothing more than to make this another "Night of the Owls" and milk more $$$ out of this. But it sounds like it was intended to be a standalone story. Will probably be collected in trade that way too.

Online
Posted by darknightspideyfanboy

the alfred and bruce scene was holy crap moment i cant believe i just saw that

Edited by Dud317

@g_man: I appreciate you holding back a bit. I'm always a little reluctant to read the reviews. I know you alert spoilers, but sometimes when you mention "the twist you won't see coming", or "a surprise character shows up", I'm not really as surprised because I know somethings still coming, guessing all the while.

Posted by Arkhamc1tizen

I love Snyder's Batman but the question is what is better Black Mirror or New 52?

Posted by Owie

So solid. Great conversation between Bruce and Alfred, great scene with Nygma, great to see Bruce as he's still learning. Nice extra story at the end. Those bonus stories are so often junk in most comics, but they've done a really consistent job with them in this series.

My feeling is that this might be the Joker, even though that's so obvious that it can't actually be the case. His "two of a kind" line could be seen as a reference to poker, and the joker is in a deck of cards. I know that's putting a lot of weight on what could be a total throwaway line, but it popped out at me.

Edited by dagmar_merrill

Zero year is doing great, I'd love to see Scarecrow or Two face.

Posted by The Mast

"I was talking to the hook."

Heart. Broken.

Posted by Booster_Bronze

@owie:

That dude HAS to be the Joker. There are just too many things that point to it (his lapel flower, the fact that the red hood was traditionally the joker, etc.) and the two of a kind thing I took to be a take on Joker's whole obsession with how Batman "completes" him and vice versa; This is just the first time he realizes that he has found his "soul mate" of a kind. Also the board game panel really amazed me. I like how Snyder isn't afraid to play around with the setup of the actual book, especially since that time he reversed and upside-downed the pages during Court of Owls.

Edited by Provehito

This has been an amazing issue. I love what Snyder is doing with this comic book!

The conversation between Alfred and Bruce was great. That slap was pure gold.

As for the Red Hood Gang, it's good seing them in action, and as to what Bruce is doing and how he is doing it for that then.

Edited by Owie

@owie:

That dude HAS to be the Joker. There are just too many things that point to it (his lapel flower, the fact that the red hood was traditionally the joker, etc.) and the two of a kind thing I took to be a take on Joker's whole obsession with how Batman "completes" him and vice versa; This is just the first time he realizes that he has found his "soul mate" of a kind. Also the board game panel really amazed me. I like how Snyder isn't afraid to play around with the setup of the actual book, especially since that time he reversed and upside-downed the pages during Court of Owls.

The board game was a nice touch.

Posted by longbowhunter

This is such a wildly different Batman story. Bruce feels more brash and it makes the story that much more unpredictable. I know we're only two issues in but Zero Year has really got its hooks in me. I hope Snyder can keep up this pacing through all 11 or so issues.

Edited by XSpectreGreyX

Man, I really don't want the Red Hood leader to be the Joker. I know it's not outright canon, but I like his backstory in The Killing Joke. The idea of a man being so warped by tragedy made him a good foil to Batman. Hell, I don't even like the idea of the Joker being in Bruce's first year as Batman.

This was a decent issue, although it lacked any real punch. It was decent, but nothing that really made me feel like I have to keep reading.

Also, minor thing, and correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't it be "Hook, come back" not "Hook come back"? And shouldn't "first things first" be "first thing's first"? Sorry, but they just bugged me. Hell, Nightwing #22 had "captivatedx". C'mon, DC!

Posted by tim_mik

I loved the scene you talked about being hard to read. It was a cool effect!

Posted by Cyborg6971

Just finished it, and wow! Fantastic, what Scott's done is taken year 1 and switched the parallel Gordon story to that of Bruce without the cowl. I like it.

Posted by Cyborg6971

@booster_bronze: It was Capullo's drawing of the mazes in "night of the Owls" not Snyder. That's the way he drew it. It wasn't scripted.

Posted by Booster_Bronze

@cyborg6971:

Yeah actually it was. Snyder and Capullo decided to do that upside down thingy when it went to print. Said so in a Comicvine podcast interview.

Posted by mickeymayhew

This is such a wildly different Batman story. Bruce feels more brash and it makes the story that much more unpredictable. I know we're only two issues in but Zero Year has really got its hooks in me. I hope Snyder can keep up this pacing through all 11 or so issues.

this is going to be 11 issues?! I mean it's great and all, but...well, 11 issues!?