By Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV and Andy Clarke
Zero Year may feel like a cheap cash grab (it is) and may have its ups and downs, but credit Snyder for putting together a tale that ties so many elements of Batman together. Batman #25 is the start of a new arc in the overall Zero Year story line. With Gotham an absolute mess and a massive storm on the way, this issue takes an interesting look at the calm before the storm.
Riddler is the main villain in this arc, but is sadly not seen or really heard from the entire issue. As a huge Riddler fan, that’s disappointing. However, Snyder makes up for it with a creepy dose of Dr. Death; a character meant to be a shout out to 1939’s Detective Comics #29. Snyder and Capullo have found a great way to update an old villain and make him modern and terrifying as heck. There are so many references to Batman’s past, I couldn’t possibly list them all, nor would I want to, as that would spoil the fun.
The private moments between Bruce and Alfred can’t be beat. Snyder displays an uncanny ability to find the core of these two characters and brings it out in new and exciting ways. Even when this title is at its worst, you still have proper progressions from Batman and his allies/villains.
Greg Capullo just got better. Yeah, I didn’t believe it either, but it’s true. The man is becoming a legend. Of course, the greatest thing about this issue is the little homage that Capullo pays to Batman’s history. Every time you look at these pages, you find something in the background that you didn’t notice before or see something that is a subtle reference. Danny Miki’s inks add to the story and makes for a colorful and visually appealing read.
Batman #25 is a great example of why Zero Year still matters. Sure, DC will milk this event for all it’s worth, but there’s some solid work being done. If it wasn’t for that $4.99 price tag, this would be one of the best values in comics.