Thomas Wayne What do you love about Gotham, Bruce Bruce it s a place where you can be ANYONE Where I can be NOT Bruce Wayne The city lets me be ANYONE I want I was one of those who rolled their eyes when Scott Snyder Greg Capullo announced they were doing their take on Batman s origin They d just done their best arc in Death of the Family, Batman s nemesis was defeated or was he and the Bat family lay in ruins what would Batman do next Put a pin in it the creative team declared as they turned the clock back 6 years to tell us once again how Bruce became Batman It was disappointing because we all know how that story goes Say it with me a boy loses his parents to a mugger, he becomes angry at injustice and vows never again, one night Yes, Father, I will become a Bat training, training, training, first falls, experience, and finally Batman now and forever I wasn t one of those who thought Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli s Year One would be at all affected because that complaint never made sense to me Zero Year is another origin but it s not erasing Year One we ll always have that book and it makes sense that in this new universe, this New 52 universe, that the creative team who s been with Batman since the start should take on all aspects of the character s story, including retelling his origin for their Batman Zero Year works on multiple levels for a number of reasons, perhaps most importantly because Snyder focused not so much on origin but story Granted it s the origin you expect but it s told by Snyder and, as experienced readers not just of comics but of literature in general should know, it s not the story itself that matters so much as it s telling After all, King Lear and Hamlet had been around for centuries before Shakespeare wrote his version of those old stories Alfred The lifeblood of this city runs beneath Wayne Manor Snyder s tack in Zero Year is to subvert all of the reader s expectations right from the start, which he accomplishes First of all, it s not so much a good Batman story as it is that rarest of things, a great Bruce Wayne book, and it s not nearly as much Year One as it is The Killing Joke the next part, Dark City, is Year One heavy And while it s a Batman origin story, it s not as much a Batman the character origin story as it is a Batman the series origin story Snyder focuses on everything about the series from the main character to the supporting cast to the main villain to the city itself as a major character That s why Zero Year is made up of sub stories Secret City, Dark City and Savage City the city, Gotham, is as important to understand as the character of Bruce Wayne Snyder s main idea behind his version of the Batman origin is that there s no separation between them to him, Bruce Wayne, Batman and Gotham are this trinity that are at their greatest together Snyder makes a point of saying that when Bruce was away from Gotham, he was legally dead it s like when the two are separated, neither are truly alive, and they need each other to live Bruce s return to Gotham sparks the changes in the city and vice versa Snyder takes this even literally towards the end of Zero Year, but that s a point for the next volume Bruce We come here, to Gotham, because it s TRANSFORMATIVE, this place We come here with our dreams and the city, it looks at us with its unblinking stone eye an eye that sees all our faults, everything we re afraid is true about ourselves and it says Try I Dare You So what s the story, midnight glory A young Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham quietly and begins his one man war against the Red Hood gang which is terrorising Gotham As he slips back into life in the city, we see his evolution as a crime fighter to become the Batman, while, at the same time, we see his nemesis change too, from Red Hood One to Joker This is a subtle point where Zero Year differs from Year One In Miller s classic, Batman appears and then we see the fall of traditional organised crime like the mob and the rise of costumed villains the message seemingly implying that, in a weird way, Batman s almost responsible for the way the city becomes, filled with maniacs like Joker, etc and therefore he s responsible for causing so much death and mayhem, making him much less heroic In Zero Year, the costumed crazies are already there in force Snyder focuses on Batman s two greatest, Joker and Riddler, in this series, but Batman s not responsible for creating them they re already there and they re already crazy and evil Granted, Joker is Red Hood One for the duration of the arc, but we see the fateful transformation scene in the finale And though you could say, well, Batman kinda had something to do with Joker s creation and he was the worst one, the way the coda to this arc is written is ambiguous Red Hood One MIGHT turn out to be the Joker but he might just as easily not be We never know, and we shouldn t the less we know about the Joker, the powerful a character he is It s so well written and, once again, Snyder s Joker is as amazingly written as his Batman is.
Snyder also differs from the other Batman classic, The Killing Joke, in his creation of the Joker Alan Moore and Brian Bolland s legendary one shot gave us the unimaginable Joker s origin BEFORE he became Joker though it s never been accepted as canon, especially as it arguably shows Batman killing Joker on the last page In it, a failed comedian reluctantly agrees to take part in the burglary of ACE Chemicals, puts on the Red Hood which is a prop to throw off the cops , and falls into the acid instant Joker But how does a failed comedian with a family somehow become a criminal genius That part never made sense to me and Snyder addresses it in Zero Year His Joker is already a criminal genius He s no failed comedian, he s a ruthless, career criminal with an agenda who willingly adopts the guise of the Red Hood The fall into the acid changes his appearance and possibly warps his mind, but the transformation isn t as sudden he was a psychotic criminal before he went into the vat, he was a psychotic criminal when he came out Only with different colour hair.
None of this would matter though if Snyder didn t get Bruce Wayne right and he does In the second scene, after that awesome shot of t shirt Batman on the Bat cycle in this weird overgrown Gotham which you ll see in Savage City , Snyder sets the tone with Bruce flipping off Red Hood One after he saves the day It s a panel that could be interpreted as Snyder and Capullo themselves flipping off all the naysayers who were expecting a rehash of Year One in that one defiant gesture, they establish this is most definitely not that The Bruce Wayne of this book is cocky, arrogant, impatient and inexperienced, making him prone to mistakes In other words, the kind of person he would be at this point in his life he s on the way to becoming his true self, but he s not fully formed yet and we need to see that as an audience, given that this is an origin Those are just personality flaws at the moment though crucially, he s got the skill set to make an instant impact on the Red Hood gang s crime spree and he s already essentially Batman minus the iconic outfit Throughout we see him as a master of disguise, adopting different masks before he settles on the best one , and that opening scene when he saves all of those people, he shows that he has the intelligence, quick thinking, imagination, and balls to become a superhero Also, all of the brilliant back ups, written by Snyder in collaboration with James Tynion IV, are included after the main story the mini sodes that show us how Bruce learned to drive, fight, and use gadgets And, of course, we see those important scenes that leads up to the big finale when Batman finally takes the stage Bruce retakes control of Wayne Enterprises, moves back to Wayne Manor, establishes the Bat cave, sees the bats that he must become in one of the trippiest I Will Become A Bat scenes ever to that triumphant debut that riffs on the cover of Detective Comics 27 from way back in 1939 For the most part of Secret City, Batman is off stage a presence we know is coming but don t see until the very end Bruce Wayne carries this book it s his book basically and Snyder writes him beautifully in a style that explores his character the way an origin should and never once bores the reader enough to want to see Batman over Bruce Zero Year is similar to Snyder s entire run on New 52 Batman in that it references ALL of Batman s cultural history From the aforementioned riffs of Detective 27, to seeing Edward Nygma from Batman Forever, to the Red Robin symbol on Bruce s baseball cap, to the fight in ACE Chemicals like in Batman 89, Snyder is embracing all forms of Batman in his work in a way he knows will tickle the fans like nothing else They re here partly as easter eggs to Batman fans of all eras as much as it is a way of acknowledging Zero Year s place in Batman history and a timely one too, given that 2014 is Batman s 75th anniversary Billboard Welcome To Gotham, Greatest City In The Country Zero Year wouldn t be the success it was without Snyder s Bat brother, artist Greg Capullo From the gorgeous steam cycle on page four, Capullo s art never dips in quality throughout the entire run it s uniformly spectacular and inventive The creative game board esque layout of Bruce and Edward s first conversation, those stunning final pages and that last page especially are all amazing works of art The best looking sequence in the book is probably the dream like recognizance of Bruce s awakening to the symbol of the Bat those six pages are nearly wordless yet Capullo tells the reader everything they need to through Bruce s eyes The balance between artist and writer is perfect in this series with both Snyder and Capullo knowing when to lean on one another for greatest effect Danny Miki s inks are superb, well measured and with the lightest touch to show off Capullo s pencils to the finest possible effect FCO Plascencia s colours are amazing too with the wonderful choice of making the book start out looking good and normal, the colours slowly becoming vivid and urgent the closer Bruce goes to becoming Batman until, by the end, it s like the pages are humming with their own energy Zero Year is a fantastic Batman book, one that goes so far as to challenge Year One as the finest origin story of all them but really goes up to Year One and gives it a hug, then stands alongside it This creative team go from strength to strength with each new Batman book somehow becoming even greater than the one that preceded it What do I love about Gotham I love that Snyder and Capullo love Gotham as much as I do, as much as every Batman fan does The passion and energy they bring to these comics is something else and I always come away from their Batman books feeling the love and satisfaction they must feel in the creation of these stories as I do in reading them Some say the Golden Age of comics ended in the early 50s but I say we re living in a new Golden Age, and Snyder Capullo s Batman is one of the best runs the character s ever had Don t miss it Bruce More than any other city in the world, Gotham FIGHTS you, challenges you to give up, to leave, to fall down and die But you don t No, because deep down you know you KNOW that if you stand up to the challenge, if you walk through the fire, you will emerge changed Burned down to that self you knew was there all along, the one you came here to be.
The New Origin Of The Dark Knight Delves Into Bruce Wayne S Past With The Red Hood Gang And His Run Ins With Aspiring District Attorney Harvey Dent You Won T Want To Miss The Moment That Bruce Becomes Batman Collecting Batman , Batman Zero Year The Director S Cut Origin stories are hard they re even harder when you re redoing the origin story for a character whose origin has been tackled numerous times and in the form of stories considered landmark classics of the genre Granted, they re not as hard as, say, gracefully and quietly sans slurping eating a slice of watermelon, but they re pretty tough So, how do you evaluate yet another Batman origin story It might be endearing to watch some heroes stumble and bumble around as they learn on the job see below for an insanely nerdy recounting of a not so epic session of the old Marvel Superheroes Roleplaying Game a recounting that I m pretty sure only Paul will appreciate , but you don t really want to see Bats getting hit in the back of the head because he fails to catch his own batarang I mean, it s Batman The guy s a no nonsense competence machine Comedic stumbles undermine the core of his character, so that means that, of necessity, you need to keep it serious, which, heretofore, has been synonymous with grim and gritty not unlike the way my dating style was once characterized Snyder goes for a slightly different take here lighter in tone than its predecessors, but not in a pratfalls and funny shots in the giggleberries kind of way rather, it s Batman s lack of a support network and the lack of awareness that he needs one that underscores his inexperience I ve been reading a ton of Batman lately for reasons unknown it s entirely possible I was bitten by a bat and or Michael Keaton , and the thing I keep noticing is that the books aren t so much about Batman as they are about the Bat family Alfred, Batgirl, the many young men Bruce Wayne has taken in under questionable circumstances and clad in fancy boots and exceedingly tight leotards, etc It makes for an interesting story, but not an epic, must read addition to the canon Now then you want an origin story Here s what you do you set a Marvel Super Heroes RPG campaign in scenic Kalamazoo, Michigan You have your young heroes spend a good 20 minutes debating how to get to the scene of a crime in progress because if they drive their own car, someone might take down their license plate number and figure who they are, but arriving via bicycle doesn t seem particularly heroic I ll note that this campaign took place long before Uber, which, I suppose, wouldn t have been ideal either, as the driver would certainly have known our heroes identity You have them ultimately resolve this issue by parking relatively close to the scene of the crime on a side street a few blocks away, running as fast as they can to get there, arriving out of breath, and ultimately missing out on catching the bad guys You have them accidentally blow up a building owned by the largest employer in the area, a company several of their friends and family members work for And you have them mocked by mallrats in Portage, a SUBURB OF KALAMAZOO outside the city limits of a small city, even yes, even Kalamazoo has suburbs Now THAT is an epic and awesome origin story right, Bret.
Let me start by saying, I thought this was a good story Still, do we really need another Batman origin story Every time we turn around there is another take on the origin story I guess that just goes to show just how powerful that origin story is that every writer wants to put their own spin on it Red Hood is also rehashed here I actually thought this was better than the 1988 origin of Joker here It was less crazy in some ways We do ping rather quickly from finishing of the Red Hood joker and go right into the antics of the Riddler What I do like about this going back to the origins of Batman is they are giving little snips here and there are when Bruce was young or in his early 20s and doing some crazy stunt He did a lot of stuff to learn That is some good stuff right there.
Still, this being the origin, I thought this was a good story and I enjoyed it Bruce is very alone and by himself He is really having a difficult time trusting anyone He does let Alfred into his circle, but he still doesn t really trust him At least the New 52 is getting Batman correctly They didn t mess his character up.
When I saw that there was going to be an origin retelling of Batman I had the same kind of disappointed feeling you get when you ve been eating the same leftovers Sure that meatloaf was tasty the first night and it reheated well for dinner the following day, but when you pull it out of the fridge the next time it s not looking very appetizing.
Fortunately, Scott Snyder shows up and takes that cold brown lump of blah with its congealed sauce, reheats it perfectly, slices it, adds a few secret spices and then serves it up on some toasted sourdough bread to give you one damn fine meatloaf sandwich Yeah, it s still leftover meatloaf, but now it doesn t seem like the same thing you ve eaten twice already.
Instead of rehashing the murder of Bruce s parents Snyder smartly realizes that we know that already and there really isn t anything to be gained by once again showing us the Waynes getting gunned down Instead he picks up the story as Bruce, declared legally dead following a long unexplained absence, has secretly returned to Gotham where he plans on waging an underground war on crime using the skills he s picked up traveling around the world He may know how to fight, but he doesn t have a strategy so Bruce s attempts aren t going so well Making things worse is a crime wave started by the Red Hood gang with its leader embarking on a campaign seemingly designed to make life in Gotham worse for everyone One thing that helps this origin reboot out is that it probably was actually time to overhaul it Frank Miller s Year One has stood as the definitive story of how Bruce became Batman for over 25 years now, and Christopher Nolan used it as a template for the Dark Knight movie trilogy However, DC has decided that it s OK for Batman to be a comic book character again so revamping things to tone down the dark troubled vigilante vibe and play up the colorful aspects was probably necessary Snyder himself outlines this in the opening to the script that s included in this volume where he notes that Year One is a comic classic, but that this needs to be something different He still manages to incorporate a nice nod to Miller s story with the sequence of Bruce s bat inspiration though.
Another element breaking from the Miller way of doing Batman is that Bruce Wayne is treated as than just the cover persona Batman uses Here, Bruce originally plans to continue playing dead and doesn t want to reveal himself to the public while fighting crime His eventual realization that Gotham needs than a guy punching criminals in alleys is a large part of the character arc.
This not only gives us a fresh and less grim take on how Bruce decided that wearing a cape and a mask with pointy ears was the way to fight crime, it also does a great job of introducing characters like the Riddler and James Gordon as well as this guy leading the Red Hood gang who seems like he may be important in some way later Oh, and there s also a tease of things going to hell in a major way in Gotham shortly into Batman s career that I can t wait to see play out.
In Zero Year, Snyder is going back to Batman s origin I m sure everybody who s written the Bat wants to do this eventually, so I m not surprised he doing it I am surprised that it s happening in the main Batman title, and will be continuing for quite some time This is just the first part of Zero Year, after all We get Red Hood, the original flavor Those who are relatively well versed in Batman s ancient history will know where this is going, and they won t be disappointed I was surprised, and very pleased, with how intelligent, resourceful, and dangerous Snyder allowed Red Hood to be Edward Nygma shows up, too, and makes a much bigger impact at the end of this collection than I had expected Thinking about it, Flashpoint probably made an official revisit of Batman s origin necessary, and this was a good way of doing it I think readers who know Batman s history will appreciate the way Snyder works with those old stories, and newer readers encountering these elements for the first time will be drawn in Will it stand the test of time Sure, until the next writer decides to take a crack at one of the best known origin stories in comics.
1 2This year I wanted to jump back into reading about some of the superheroes that I loved when I was a kid, one of my favorites being Batman Cause he s awesome At first I was totally confused with where to jump in again, because there are so many damn comics But after some research, I ultimately decided on reading the books from DC s New 52 relaunch as well as their recent relaunch, Rebirth And the New 52 books had a well received origin story arc so I decided to start there Why not, right Most people with even a very pedestrian understanding of the Batman character from the comics, shows, or movies are familiar with the origin of Batman, and it s been revisited many times over Frank Miller s great Batman Year One is considered the definitive classic book on his origin But, here, I like the fact that Scott Snyder decided play with it a bit, not rehash Bruce s family s murder, and start at the point when Bruce is back from his experiences learning overseas and is already awkwardly trying his hand at vigilantism in Gotham fighting the Red Hood Gang He hasn t yet become Batman And I like that, unlike Miller, Snyder barely focuses attention on Jim Gordon, which made Miller s Year One book less of a Batman origin to me.
I love Snyder s idea of showing Bruce using a variety of human costume masks while first trying to fight crime I thought that was a cool visual idea and a believable disguise before Bruce decides that he needs something effective And while I do prefer my Batman stories dark and brooding, I appreciated that the book tried something else and went in a different route with the artwork, leaning towards a colorful look that seemed closer to the animated shows and animated movies And there are some really snazzy short extra tales at the end that provide some greater insight into what Bruce was doing in his world travels that led to his skills as Batman I really wish that Snyder focused a bit on that fascinating stuff Maybe in a future arc Snyder took his cue from a variety of other iterations of Batman stories like Batman The Killing Joke in his depiction of the Red Hood Gang and the fact that the man that would become the Joker was under the mask at some point But I loved the fact that he made it even interesting by making it ambiguous Snyder combines standard ideas from early stories and puts his own stamp on Batman s first time in Gotham.
Before The Batman there was Bruce Wayne This collected edition features 21 24 from the comic book Batman , including Batman Zero Year Director s Cut 1.
Creative Team Writers Scott Snyder James Tynion IVIllustrators Greg Capullo, Danny Miki Rafael Albuquerque WHERE ARE THOSE MISSING ISSUES First of all, if you care to read the explanation of what comic book issues are collected in this edition, you may found odd that it s beginning on 21, when previous TPB ended on 17 There isn t anything wrong, it s just that DC Comics decided to collect certain stand alone stories in the Volume 6 Graveyard Shift BEFORE THE COWL, THE MISSION HAD ALREADY STARTED In this Volume 4 Zero Year Secret City, Scott Snyder is getting back on track after his non consequential storyline of Death of the Family at least in my very personal opinion , and he is telling the origin behind the origin.
Frank Miller told the first exploits of The Batman in Batman Year One along with the struggles of James Gordon to fit in the very corrupted GCPD.
But even before The Batman, there was Bruce Wayne and here you will read what happened when he arrived to Gotham City after his training around the world, BUT before of deciding to become something else.
Bruce Wayne still isn t a costumed crime fighter and even the very idea hasn t crossed his mind.
However, his mission is clear To avoid that anyone else would suffer the same pain that he endured when he lost his parents at the hands of a robbery.
Even he is keeping in secret that he got back to Gotham City that in my opinion is a very smart move since if Gotham s Favorite Son is back and at the same time some mysterious vigilante appears, well somebody must do the math eventually And don t worry when The Batman is appearing in the scene, since Snyder is already in mind how to keep any doubts between Bruce Wayne and The Batman Definitely one of the strongest developed points in the story.
So, Bruce Wayne is using all the knowledge adquired about disguising and acting to become a faceless or even accurate with thousand faces vigilante And you will be amazed of how versatile is Bruce s habilities in the matter PAINT RED THE TOWN Bruce Wayne is returning to Gotham City just to find his beloved city in the hands of the gang of The Red Hood A mysterious gangster with a crimson large helmet with a vast army of minions Red Hood One as the gang s leader is named has been using blackmailing, death threats, etc to people around the whole Gotham City, in all the spectrum of social levels, working positions, etc So Red Hood One has sleeper agents at hand whenever he may need them ANYONE can be a Red Hood QUESTIONABLE EMPLOYMENT Philip Kane is Bruce s uncle and after a merging between Kane Chemicals and Wayne Enterprises, he is now in control of the company.
And whaddayaknow Good ol Philip has certain Edward Nygma ring any bells, folks as a strategist consultant for Wayne Enterprises GENERATIONS OF LEGACY Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo between dialogues and images, they are able to give a respectful tribute to the varied generations of the legacy of Batman, like his first appearance in comics but addecuate updated a bit to become functional in a modern age , along with the live action appearance of the characters in projects like Batman 66 TV series, Tim Burton s Batman and Nolan s Dark Knight but also even Batman Animated.
And the brilliant job is that while keeping the most basic expectations about The Batman s origin, Snyder is able to insert his own contributions to the story along with some concepts introduced in other formats to set the definite origin before the origin.
You ll really feel that there is a real man inside of the Bat suit and that man is Bruce Wayne.
This one made me waffle.
Is it 4 stars or 5 stars It didn t quite punch me in the gut like Batman, Vol 3 Death of the Family, but I still loved it.
5 stars, it is.
Zero Year is the New 52 origin story for Batman, and Snyder does not disappoint Gather round Nocenti DC writers, cuz this is how it s doneThe idea behind it according to the afterword was to lean away from Miller s Batman Year One He praises Miller s work for changing the tone of the Dark Knight, while explaining that his goal was to bring back a lighter version of Batman Not that this was done in a campy Adam West style, but this New Batman took a few baby steps back from Miller s older, darker, and quite a bit grim, incarnation.
My personal opinion The pendulum needed to swing back At some point, Miller must have taken a long ride on the Crazy Train Because when he finally decided to get off, he subjected readers to All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, Vol 1.
Dark and Gritty That s one way to put it.
Massive Steaming Pile of Warm Gooey Shit That would be another.
Let s all say a prayer that Snyder remains in charge of Batman for a little while longer, m kay It s a bit early to call it, but I m betting Zero Year is eventually going to be required reading for Batfans.
And I also think Snyder s name is going to become synonymous with Batman, in the same way Brubaker s is with Captain America.
Or Geoff Johns with Green Lantern That s right I said it Johns brought Hal back from the dead, in ways than one So Pbhhht Sesana mentioned this in her review, but since I think it s a high point in the story, I can t help pointing it out, too.
Not Jason Todd The original guy.
The one who wore what looked like a red test tube on his noggin Yeah.
If you ve been reading this stuff for years, you re going to see the twist coming from a mile away, but I think you ll like it anyway.
And newer readers, who aren t familiar with the way this character has been played with in the past, are going to get the surprise of their lives.
Good stuff No question about it, this is another Must read