Monday, October 21, 2013

Batman #24

(or Batman: Zero Year part 1)

Batman is one of the few remnants on my DC sublist, and I don’t even get it at the comic store. I subscribe to this book when Tanga puts the mail-order subscriptions on sale, and I have to say, I think I’m making out like a bandit. The newest issue, the closing chapter in the “first phase” of Year Zero, cost $6.99.  I think I paid $8.99 or something like that for the whole year! At that price, I’ll read almost anything!

Fortunately, Scott Snyder has been very consistent on his Batman launch. This comic is still very entertaining. While some details have morphed around, this is still Batman as we know and love him. In fact, I don’t even mind this re-telling of Bats’ origin. I’ve experienced so many origins in comics and film that I seem to have no resistance left to seeing Batman get a new origin.

The opening arc of Zero Year focuses on the Red Hood gang. Led by an unhinged mystery-man in a red hood, we never figure out if this is still the man who becomes the Joker or not. That mystery has always worked well for the clown prince of crime, and Snyder doesn’t shy away from it. He does bulk up the supporting cast with a new uncle for Bruce Wayne, a lost business man who gets a character arc of his own. Edward Nigma and other future problems also show up; content in their mundane criminal lives until they are inspired by Batman?

Isn’t it odd that two of Snyder’s big storylines feature hordes of secret society members in masks? First the Court of Owls, now this…

Greg Capullo hasn’t missed many deadlines either. The book has maintained the same feel since issue one and that’s largely down to Capullo’s art. I really enjoy his take on the “original” bat suit. The red hoods sometimes look a bit odd, but that’s a small complaint.

Best of all, this book is filled with both action and words every month. There is always some sort of physical conflict, but Snyder gives each fight a sense of importance through narration. This is not usually a quick read.

Batman who feels like the character I know and love? That makes this a GOOD comic!

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