Zero Year Event: Batman 24
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV, Rafael Albuquerque
Zero Year Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Let me get my gripe out of the way first and foremost… Way too much for a single issue. Yes, I get that it was a double-sized one and yes, it was pretty good. But still. That’s just asking an awful lot of your readers, even loyal ones like me. Okay. That’s out of the way. Now let’s get to the good stuff. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (joined in the backup story by James Tynion IV and Rafael Albuquerque) are continuing to tell the “untold” origin of Batman in what is quite possibly one of the most consistently good books on the stands today. Period. I honestly can’t think of a single person who doesn’t at least respect what they’re trying to do each and every month, whether it’s reinventing the Joker, making Clayface a legitimate threat, or simply building a better Batman. It’s stellar work, each and every issue. And once you get past the initial shock of the insane cover price for this one, you’ll be quick to realize that you are truly reading a piece of history in the making.
The issue gives us what we finally were waiting for, albeit in a mysterious and not-quite how we expected way: The creation of the Joker. We all knew Batman pushed/didn’t save/accidentally knocked him into a vat of acid at A. C. E. Chemicals at the beginning of both of their careers. But did we know that Joker was actually a bad guy before he became, well, the Joker? And do we still know that? The death of Bruce’s uncle Philip was expected, but it was done in such a way that it not only seemed realistic, but almost cinematic. Capullo shines in this scene in particular, but to be real, he’s pretty much amazing in every single frame of the book. So when we see him die, Bruce become Batman, and Red Hood One (the presumed leader, unless that was a trick, too) of the Red Hood Gang fall into the acid and become the Joker (or am I again making too many assumptions?), we know that history is being made. Just a little different. I like the fact that Snyder respects those who came before him and is “retooling,” rather than rebooting the characters in this beloved universe, one story at a time. It shows not only grace and dignity, but talent… A word that I don’t like to throw around a whole lot in this industry. I’ve always been a firm believer that the characters of these books sell themselves. It’s just a bonus when the readers, in bulk no less, actually enjoy their purchases.
So getting over the initial shock of the double-sized (yet double-priced) issue, it’s still fantastic work. The backup story might have been something that could have been trimmed down to cut the cost, but there wasn’t a single frame wasted in the main story. A few big hiccups in the editing and marketing department kept this from being my book of the week. But when it’s all said and done, this is going to be one of the highlights of the overall storyline. And like I said before, this is going to be the storyline to watch. All five of you not reading it, take note.
My Rating: 4.5/5