“It must have been the worst day of your life, the day (your parents) died. Well, I mean, besides today, of course.” – Leader of the Red Hood Gang to Bruce Wayne

SUMMARY

Pros
This updating of Batman’s origin is sure to be popular for decades to come!
The scripts and art are as powerful as ever!
Cons

You won’t get nearly as much out of this book if you haven’t read the last several issues, so get out there and pick them up ASAP!

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.38 out of 5)
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BATMAN #23
Writer: Scott Snyder
Backup Writers: Scott Snyder
, James Tynion IV
Artists: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki
Backup Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Cover: Greg Capullo
Editor: Mike Marts

Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in BATMAN: Bruce Wayne feels he’s failing as a crime fighter. In particular, the Red Hood Gang, a crime syndicate on the rise, seems to be a step ahead of him all the time. In fact, they just blew up his living space in Gotham and are continuing to threaten to kill him. Then there’s also trouble at Wayne Enterprises as Philip Kane confronts his advisor – Edward Nigma, who also wants Bruce dead!

DO SLEEPLESS NIGHTS EQUAL GREAT READING?

I was recently watching a video interview with Scott Snyder, and he was talking about launching “Zero Year” a couple of months back. He said he wasn’t getting much sleep, being concerned as he was with how this updating of Batman’s origin would be received by the fans.

I imagine that this issue was the one that he was worried about most, because he’s making some significant changes to how Bruce decided to become Batman.

You likely remember this scene from the past, with Bruce sitting in his robe, chin in hand, saying, “Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot … .” The next thing we know, a bat crashes through the window near him, and Bruce takes it as a sign that he will strike fear in the villains of Gotham by becoming … a bat.

A lot of superhero origins back in the day took place with a serious dose of coincidence. Why did a bat choose that exact moment to fly through the window? (According to Frank Miller’s take, the bat was a kind of “spirit guide” that had been drawing Bruce to him for years.)

The Flash gets splashed by chemicals just struck by lightning. Superman’s rocket lands in Middle America, where the Kents will teach him the values he will live by the rest of his life. You know how these things go.

What Snyder and the Bat-family have done is move the Dark Knight’s origin into a more plausible, less far-fetched way for Bruce to create the Batman. I would never spoil it here because you should buy this issue and read it, but I think you’ll find this a satisfying and more realistic creation of the Cape and Cowl Crusader, as he used to be called. When I first read it, I said out loud, “Yeah, that makes a LOT more sense!” See if you feel the same way!

What’s also interesting to me is how nasty Edward Nigma, who Phillip calls “an empty question mark,” is. He uses the fact that Mr. Kane had a metal plate inserted into his head to disable him, and I immediately hoped that E. Nigma would get his just desserts before long! What a piece of scum! (And it left me wondering – instead of the Joker being under that Red Hood, could it be Nigma? THAT would be a surprise!)

I also really enjoyed the first several pages where parallel storylines are taking place. In one, The Red Hood Gang is taunting Bruce while in the other, Bruce is obviously trying to break into what we later find out to be Wayne Manor. I thought this was terrific writing because it kept us focused on both, but the worst part was the leader of the Gang shooting Bruce through a painting by discharging the gun through the heads of both parents. Man, that’s cold!

In the backup story called “The Pit,” Bruce is getting closer to his return to Gotham, as shown during a death match that has been going on for 28 hours straight! Great short story there!

THE TITLE’S ART CONTINUES TO SHINE!

It bears repeating that Capullo’s art (with Miki’s inks) continues to be a perfect match for Snyder’s story, as it has since the two started working together when the New 52 began.

One thing I really liked this month was that Mr. Capullo uses much larger panels that have a stronger impact when the dialogue isn’t as critical. This specifically happens once Bruce has found his way into what will become the Batcave. It’s a powerful and significant time in the evolution of the hero, and the art tells it so very well!

Also, Albuquerque’s art again fits the backup story. We’re back to an action-packed tale. I like it, and the art is making me look forward to this artist’s debut on Animal Man, coming soon!

BOTTOM LINE: “ZERO YEAR” IS SOON TO BE ANOTHER CLASSIC BATMAN TALE!

I don’t wish anyone sleepless nights, but every time I hear that Mr. Snyder is spending every single moment he can to make something great, it vastly exceeds my already incredibly high expectations.

During the video interview I watched, Snyder said he’d stay on the title for as long as the fans wanted him to. Well, since he’s had the top two highest-selling comics the past two months (Superman Unchained and Batman), I hope he’ll be bringing both to life for a long time to come! Five out of five stars!

Rating: ★★★★★

The Author

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. Each episode also includes reviews, news and previews. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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1 Comment

  1. David
    August 17, 2013 at 12:38 pm — Reply

    “I would never spoil it here….”

    Isn’t that what this site used to be all about?

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