“They want to be transported to a world where bigger truths are at work, and anything– anything can happen. A world where the impossible is possible.”
-Alfred Pennyworth, Zero Year
Today at Comic Corner I’m brining you a review for Batman Zero Year Pt.1, which collects issues #21-26 of the comic, by Scott Snyder and a slew of illustrators like Andy Kubert, Tim Sale, Neal Adams, and Greg Capullo.
As with all of my reviews, this review will be SPOILER FREE, so please read on!
What do I need to read before reading this?
Nothing! Like Miller’s Year One, Zero Year is a Batman origin story so feel free to go into it completely blind.
What do I need to KNOW before reading this?
Again, literally nothing! New to Batman, then jump straight in! New to DC, then jump straight in! New to comic books, then jump straight in! Zero Year could be your door to the comic book world, if you want it to be.
Year One or Zero Year
I feel like this is the obvious question, and as soon as I realised what Zero Year was, the story it was going to tell, then I couldn’t help but compare it to Year One. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Year One, it’s a very highly regarded Batman origin story from Frank Miller, and something that get’s recommended a lot. Published in 1980s it was the cannon Batman origin, until DC revamped their universe, something they do every now and then, and got a brand new origin story from Snyder, and other writers. At their core, the story is the same, it’s Bruce Wayne, there’s not really much you can change, however one isn’t a carbon copy of the other. I preferred the art in Year One, and the colouring, I’m going to talk about this some more in a bit, but the colouring Zero Year was not for me. And as a whole Year One is a lot more contained, however I felt like Zero Year gave Bruce more depth, and made him more compelling of a character. In my mind Year One is the film that wins the Oscar, but Zero Year is the one you enjoyed more.
An art critic I am not…
Since I’ve already mentioned it once, let’s juts get the art over and done with, and let’s jump straight into the positives. I love the look of Bruce Wayne, he’d a lot younger, a lot cooler, and still looks how Bruce should look. The colouring, overall, is a lot brighter than other Batman books I’ve read, and that’s fine, it’s reminiscent of the 60s live action show, which I like. But, if felt to me as though there are two colourists, one who was pretty sensible in his choices, still bright and eye catching but with a restraint, and the other who was just balls to the wall crazy. There is so much magenta in this book you wouldn’t believe. I was trying to rationalise it, and argue that maybe it’s the villains who are bringing this colour, suggesting that they add colour, add the crazy, to Gotham, but then I just admitted to myself that I didn’t like it. So, there you are, I’m not going to justify it, and it just didn’t appeal to me.
I am Batman
There are a whole load of subplots, but it’s plain that the main plot is an origin story, as I have said a million times already. So, you’re probably wondering what it’s like, and the answer is simple. Its good. I already e,ntioned that Bruce is a lot younger, more in his early to mid twenties, and that’s a really interesting choice. By making him younger, you’re not just making his physically younger, (and he does look great), but also mentally. He’s much more of a hot head as Bruce Wayne, and that’s really cool to see. You can sympathise with him because you get to actually see his emotions for a changer ate than the cool, calm and collected Bruce we usually see.
You know by now that I can not talk about Bruce Wayne without talking about his relationship with Alfred, pretty much his sole relationship with anyone, particularly in this book. At the very beginning we learn that Bruce had been gone from Gotham for so long that he’s been presumed dead, and it becomes apparent that within this time he’s been stoking his anger over the death of his parents. Because of this simmering anger we get to se this amazing tension between Alfred and Bruce, which gives the former a little more to his character than just a sassy, but helpful, butler. Why is this important? Simple, it’s because the relationship between the two, particularly with this younger Bruce, becomes more of a father-son relationship. He’s not overstepping the mark, but you can see that he just want’s bruce to be happy, and when it becomes apparent that he’s wishing in vain, he does the only thing he can do; helps Bruce.
All’s well that ends well…
Well, not so much. I have the collectible edition of Zero year, which is split into two books, so I have yet to read the second and find out what’s going to happen. Overall I’m excited, there are a lot of balls in the air at the moment, with Gotham appearing to be teeming this maniacs, and Batman in a very sticky situation. I have a couple of theories, mainly based not he Dark Knight trilogy, about where we’re going, but who knows! See you on the other side…
Questions for you guys… Have you read Zero Year, and if so what did you think? If not, what’s your favourite origins story?
Thanks for reading