Monday, March 11, 2013

Batman Year Zero

This morning something pretty big was announced.  DC Comics (via Associated Press) announced the next storyline for Scott Snyder's flagship Batman Book.  Batman: The Zero Year.  This is something I'm very excited about.

Snyder, along with artist Greg Capullo, has done a really good job on the book ever since he came on at the start of the New 52 DC Relaunch back in 2011.  He's written two major arcs: The Court of Owls, and Death of The Family.  Both were satisfying for a couple of reasons.

First, they felt big and important.  This was not "Batman fights the riddler.....again."  Snyder has a way of setting the stakes high and getting the reader to buy in.

Capullo's visuals have been top notch and aided the pacing and tone tremendously.  I always hate to see a talented writer paired with an artist that doesn't fit his style.  However, that is not an issue here.

Finally, Snyder is a man who is talented at big arcs.  It has been tremendously rewarding to watch these stories develop over a fairly large timespan, and yet feel not only internally consistent, but infused with a sense of constant forward momentum.

If there is to be any criticism, it simultaneously is not Snyder's fault, but more promisingly, may be alleviated, at least temporarily, by this new arc.  DC needs to sell bat-books, and so you need bat characters.  Although the New 52 was supposed to be a fresh reboot of the entire DC Universe, because of this aforementioned need, the Batman title was saddled with a murky, unclear continuity (analyzed as effectively as is possible here) in which he has a ten year old son conceived while he was Batman (probably), 3-4 Robins, some of which have died and come back to life, and only been operating as Batman for, seemingly, a couple of years.  Because: Comics.

Zero Year ( A clever hat tip to Frank Miller's Batman:Year One...available in movie form on Netflix) has the opportunity to pare all this silliness down by taking us back to Bat Basics. Batman in his simplest form.  No Robins 1-4.  No pre-existing rogue's gallery.  No "Bat Family" to be saddled with.

(Interesting Thought:  In Death of the Family, Joker's point to Batman is this extended Bat Family has made him weak and diluted.  The Joker wants to, in essence, remove him of these burdens so he can go back to being the Batman, Joker loves.  Good writing or Snyder actually BLOWING YOUR MIND WITH META COMMENTARY?)

Let's see what Snyder does.  I, for one, am really looking forward to it.


  1. While I like the idea of a Dark Knight shorn of his Bat-baggage, I disagree with the writer in that I thought both the 'Court of Owls' and 'Death of the Family' arcs were all build-up and no payoff, thus extremely disappointing in the end.


    If they were gonna bump off Damian anyway, THAT should've been the climax of DotF. But, noooooooooo. They had to let Grant Morrison have his full-circle moment. ::eyeroll:: The Heretic? Really??? I'm sorry. If the kid had to go, and it wasn't gonna be at the pasty, white hands of the Joker, it should have been at Talia's directly. Not only would that have been a more powerful story, it would've been more in character. No matter how much of a disappointment she perceived in Damian, Talia's always been a nobody-kills-my-son-but-me kind o' gal.

    My two cents.

    1. Hey Kinravip, Thanks for the comment. I do think that, particularly when it comes to the DotF arc, the ending did lack the pay off that we might have been hoping for. I also think that you point to something a little more satisfying as an alternative with your SPOILERS, but Damian was always Morrison's character so I guess he gets to kill him.

      That being said, I think some of it has to do with what you want to get out of comics. When I read comics, I feel like concrete ideas of continuity, permanence, mortality, etc are all fairly ephemeral, so I guess, ultimately, I put a low premium on pay off, as I feel like, in the grand scheme, it will just be retconned later anywho.

      To me, comics are modern mythology. No one really gives a shit about what happened to mythological figures at the end of the journey, they care about what happens in the middle. The stories are about exploring interactions between man and environment, man and himself, etc. When I read a comic, I don't need a strong resolution, I am looking for a challenging and thought provoking narrative. I feel like Snyder achieved that, so I will defend him thusly. But, like I're still kind of right.

      Either way, thanks for commenting and keep on coming back, hopefully we'll have more stuff you like.