After Court of Owls and Death of the Family, the New 52 Batman has solidified itself as a must read. With such great story lines behind them, both Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo seem like they can do no wrong.
Zero Year is beginning to prove otherwise. I can’t say that I haven’t been disappointed with this arc so far. Mired in too much mystery for its own good, Zero Year is proving to be more bark and less bite. I understand Scott Snyder’s desire to retell the Batman origin in a way that hasn’t been done before, but when that means that I am reading issue after issue that seems to be hiding from itself, it is hard to swallow.
This issue continues with Bruce’s fight agains the Red Hood. Getting pummeled into oblivion, Bruce is broken. Why let Bruce live? Who knows. The Red Hood left him for some odd reason while the house was burning down around them. We also begin to see some insight as to what the gang is really about, but not enough to know exactly.
We also get to visit Bruce’s uncle in a confrontation with Edward Nigma. Again, why are these two in cahoots and to what end? We don’t know yet.
We end up with the “moment of clarity”; where Bruce finally figures out who he has to be: a bat. Underwhelming, this revelation simply felt flat and shallow. There just wasn’t enough pretext for me to buy this revelation even though the issue tried to set it up.
Instead of getting a lucid and coherent story line, I am reading what appears to be a disjointed telling of a story that will ultimately come together late in the arc. As a whole, Zero Year may end up great, but as of now I am finding it hard to read.
The saving grace of this book is the art. Capullo is a beast. His pencils continue to be nothing short of amazing while Danny Mikki’s inks are spot on. That aside, the best part of this issue was FCO Plascencia’s colors. Bright and bold where they need to be, the colors are a feast for the eyes. Juxtaposed to the dark and brooding tones we see in other places, this issue is better for it.