By Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, Fco Plascenia, James Tynion IV, Graham Nolan, Gregory Wright
As stated many times before, Zero Year went on for far too long. It feels great to really dig into a new story arc and begin to deconstruct those hidden themes all over again. Once again Snyder is back on top and it’s glorious. Oh, and that Joker guy is back. That’s always nice. The first half of Snyder’s story is the continuation of Batman’s fight with a Joker Toxin-fueled Superman. Throughout the battle, Snyder cleverly throws in references to past Supes/Bats fights, including Hush and that famous scene from The Dark Knight Returns. There’s also some humorous parodying of the “who would really win between Batman and Superman” debate. That ridiculous argument has fueled nerds for years, so it’s nice to have its absurdity called out.
The rest of Snyder’s tale focuses on the search for Joker. In what can only be described as a “holy crap” moment, it appears that Joker has been hiding under all of our noses for a long time. Snyder is starting to tie past storylines and themes together again that is enough to blow the mind of even the most jaded Batman fan.
There’s a backup story written by James Tynion IV, but it’s unfortunately not his best work. Much like the previous backup story, it continues to be convoluted and stops the momentum of the issue. Tynion is capable of writing some really wonderful comics. We’ll call this a mulligan.
Man, we sure love to sing the praises of Greg Capullo. We can’t help it, though. This guy is so freakin’ awesome. Let’s focus on his Superman. Holy crap, when he leaves Batman, he better jump on a Superman title. Not only is his Superman impressive, it’s also terrifying. With that crazy Joker smile on his face, Capullo presents a dangerous Man of Steel that justifies Batman’s paranoia. This guy can do no wrong.
As far as the backup goes, the art is much better than the story. It’s not as stylish as Capullo’s work, but it has a classic tone that’s almost reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke’s work. That’s high praise. It’s also deserved. If it wasn’t for the bumbling story to the backup, this issue would be borderline perfect. Snyder and Capullo are somehow getting better. It’s almost scary how incredible they are.