Zero Year Event: Batman 26
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
The top book on the shelves (sales wise and talent wise) has finally won me back. The quality of the comic has never been in question, but it’s been quite a while since it’s actually been only Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo in complete control of the story. That being said, some of the backup stories were pretty good (especially during the legendary Death of the Family storyline), but it’ll be nice to have Snyder in Capullo taking up the whole book from this point forward. It’s also nice to see that the price tag is no longer obnoxiously high. Granted, those issues were great as well, but it’s always nice to see that a company like DC Comics has enough faith in their top selling book to not gouge the reader each and every month because, well, they know it’ll sell. Quick cash-grabs are obnoxious, especially with the market (not to mention the economy and the state of print) being the way that it currently is. So, long-winded explanation aside, this is another high quality book from quite possibly the best current team in the industry.
The issue starts off with Bruce Wayne being saved by Lucius Fox. And Dr. Death being completely over-the-top creepy, in all the good ways. It’s always fun to see great creators make lame or outdated (or, in this case, pretty obscure) characters and reinvent them in ways that are not only respectful of the original story or stories they appeared in, but also adding something new and exciting for a fresh batch of readers. His new appearance is enough to justify him as a legitimate Bat-villain. Add that to the fact that he’s actually doing something pretty horrific, and I know I for one am hoping that he survives to return for another current and modern-day tale. It was also interesting to see the almost too-perfect at times Jim Gordon knocked down a peg. Was he a crooked cop at one time? Probably not, but just adding that doubt (and that super powerful scene where Bruce pulls a gun on him) is enough to get any reader, whether they be young or old, veteran or new, into paying attention to the relationship between Gordon and Bruce (and later, Gordon and Batman as well). Then, of course, there’s that pretty sweet cliffhanger with Batman being framed for Dr. Death’s murders and the probably crooked Gotham City Police Department going after him for said crimes. And opening fire, with a majority of their shots actually hitting him. Hopefully he’s wearing armor.
This issue has excellent dialogue. It has nearly perfect artwork. It’s cinematic in its approach to its storytelling. And I can’t wait to see what happens next. Dr. Death. The Riddler. Some crazy stuff going on in the Middle East and some even crazier stuff happening on the streets of Gotham City. Gordon and the rest of the GCPD are about to go through some epic changes. Batman’s not quite the world’s best, well, anything yet. This is amazingly brilliant (not to mention brave) origin-retooling, world-building, and re-branding. I’m just glad the two creators who are making it so are completely back in control of the book. No more crossovers. No more backup stories. And please, for God’s sake, leave the price tag on each issue the same. You know I’ll buy it, but seriously… Four bucks is plenty. Especially for a company supposedly still “drawing the line at 2.99.” Keep up the good characterization, Snyder! And don’t stop reinventing the looks of my favorite characters, Capullo!
My Rating: 5/5