By Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
I know this puts me in the minority, but I’m really not enjoying Zero Year. Something is off. This doesn’t feel like Batman. It feels like a crappy Image comic that J. Michael Straczynski would write and thinks brings something new to the superhero wheelhouse but is just retreaded nonsense. Zero Year hasn’t been all bad, though.
This story primarily continues the plot of Doctor Death. It’s understandable to want to use him, since he was one of Batman’s first villains, but there isn’t any characterization for him and certainly no reason to care. He’s just been thrown right in and there hasn’t been any sign of The Riddler. Nigma is the man we want and we’re not getting him. The little clues and foreshadowing have been fun, but it’s time to move on. Doctor Death seems to be a detour, in order to extend an arc that shouldn’t go on any longer.
This issue (and all of Zero Year) feels odd. Batman has a certain tone that is missing from this arc. Bruce Wayne/Batman appears to be a completely different person. Years of being Batman will change a person, sure, but this is such a radical deviation that is hard to accept, especially the scene where he pulls a gun on Gordon. It reminds me of Michael Keaton flipping out on Joker with a fire poker in the first Burton film.
It should come as no surprise that this issue is gorgeous. Capullo continues to master his craft. This is some of the cleanest work that is currently being published in a superhero title. Fco Plascensia’s colors make for an interesting take on the character. It’s not a traditional tone, but it works with what Snyder is attempting to do.
Snyder and Capullo are a great team. Zero Year is not a great event. Hopefully, things will get better as things start to wrap up, but this is taking forever. It’s hard to get me to not care about a Batman story, but DC is sure doing a heck of a job trying.