Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Batman. The Riddler. Jim Gordon. Doctor Death. And an brutal story coming to an end. Those are just a few awesome things going on in the pages of the new issue of Batman by the seemingly peerless creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. If you thought the last issue of Zero Year was great, boy are in for a shock. Because somehow these guys just keep getting better and better each and every month.
To call this issue action-packed would be an understatement. We get an all-out battle between Batman and Doctor Death, who has never been more terrifying than in this story. I for one am glad to see that Snyder and Capullo are taking liberties (but not too many) with the origins of our favorite Batverse characters. Especially when it comes to some of the lamer ones, like the good doctor. The new interpretation of the character, though very final (he pretty much exploded), not only was a nice nod to the original, but a fun way to update a long-forgotten character and make him serious one last time. The twist of his origin involving a search for a missing Bruce Wayne and the loss of his family, career, and everything resulting from a deal made with Bruce’s uncle Phillip was a stroke of genius. And the flashbacks have all come full circle. They seemed strange in a month-to-month reading, but I’m sure they will be so much classier and make a whole lot more sense in a collection. Which, let’s be honest, I’ll be buying and re-reading multiple times when it is released in a shiny new hardcover. The scenes with young Bruce and his parents was touching and gave the origin enough of an update to modernize it without ruining the feel. Thomas and Martha have always seemed real to me, but now, more so than ever, they are likable. So when we see Karl Helfern’s demise, the destruction of the structures holding Gotham’s seemingly endless water supply from destroying the city, and the Riddler seemingly winning his ultimate game against the Dark Knight and the not-quite-yet Commissioner Gordon, it’s just that extra (but necessary) gut-punch when we see the Wayne’s murdered in Crime Alley in a flashback that proves that even though we’ve seen it hundreds of times, it’s still effective.
My favorite scene was not the homage to The Dark Knight Returns (which is probably one of most people’s favorites). It’s not even the censored description of the Batman himself. And to be honest, even though I love both of those things and they are all sorts of Frank Miller, it came down to one scene for me that made this not only a great book, but a legendary one. It’s the first time we see the Bat Blimp. Something so ridiculous in theory, so obnoxiously fictional in reality, that it shouldn’t work. But Capullo’s pencils make it work. And it’s not only my favorite scene from the comic, but from Zero Year so far entirely. Well done, Mr. Capullo. You, sir, are a master. (Snyder’s also excellent, but most of my reviews say that, so I’m going to let Greg have this one.)
My Rating: 5/5