Love it or hate, there’s no denying Zero Year has been one epic Batman story. Starting with the early days of Batman’s career, we’ve seen him go up agains the Red Hood, Dr. Death and now the Riddler. It’s been a long ride and it’s almost over. Enough gabbing, lets get to the review!
Previously in Batman: The Riddler has taken over Gotham, turning the city into a wasteland and ruling its people with fear. After a brief absence and butt whooping, Batman has returned hell bent on stopping Riddler by beating him at his own game.
IT’S REALLY ALMOST FINALLY HERE!
Zero Year has been stellar since the start. Going and telling Batman’s beginnings yet again could have been redundant and boring, but Scott Snyder has crafted a story with enough original ideas to keep it fresh while also maintaining much of what has come before. It’s been a grand story, increasing the closer it gets to the finish. Batman is being put through the ringer and it’s hard to see how he’s going to get out of this one.
This issue is basically Batman, Gordon and Lucius Fox carrying on with their plan to stop the Riddler from taking control of, and quite possibly destroying, Gotham. All throughout the Savage City part of Zero Year, I’ve had no clue as to what will happen next. Snyder does a wonderful job of leading the reader along then slapping them in the face with a twist. It happens here and was nice to see the ever infallible Batman be one-upped a second time by Edward Nygma. Batman resorting to a last ditch effort, with almost no plan, was refreshing and adds suspense to the story. Sure, he’ll always come out ahead but he’s been so beaten up to now that Batman is at wits end. I’ve never liked Riddler, but Snyder has shown that any villain, no matter how ridiculous, can be a threat when written well.
The issue moves at a quick pace and with this being the second to last chapter of Zero Year, it’s expected. Unlike some previous ones, we get a good chunk of the story without it becoming superfluous. That has been may main gripe with Zero Year. It may just be the length between issues (plus the fake out issue a few back that tied to Batman Eternal) but Zero Year feels like it has gone on forever. Out of the long story, Savage City has the biggest pacing problems and feels slightly bloated. While I’ve enjoyed it, it feels like time to wrap things up and having to wait for the final chapter is frustrating for multiple reasons, good and bad. Just thirty more days! (Hopefully)
I LIKED HIM BEFORE IT WAS COOL
Being an ongoing Spawn reader since the beginning, I’ve loved Greg Capullo’s art from the get go. Yes, I know he did other work before Spawn but that was my first introduction. His progression has been impressive and his work on Batman is the best of his career. From layouts, to figures, to backgrounds, it all works extremely well. Capullo uses close-ups and angles in a cinematic way that helps add to the grandiose story. Detail is amazing, with little space going to waste and his ability to convey emotion in the most subtle of ways is stellar. Some parts feel slightly cramped, but not enough to be bothersome. Miki’s inks work strongly with Capullo’s pencils and the colors pop. That’s not something I would expect from a Batman book, but it’s colorful, looks pretty and is a nice change of pace. Top tier work from everyone involved and it shows.
BOTTOM LINE: DON’T MAKE ME WAIT ANYMORE
Savage City and Zero Year have been an epic story in the making. Snyder, Capullo and team are doing amazing work in telling a Batman “origin” story that is still unique but true to the character’s roots. This issue sees Batman actually outsmarted for a second time by the Riddler and has great action. Capullo’s art continues to be a knockout and makes the book a fun read by itself. The pacing has felt a tad slow but things are picking up and the final chapter is next. I’m tired of waiting for the end. I want it now and I’m dying to see where it leads us next.