Batman #0

Batman #0 explores an interesting theory about the Bat-Signal

Scott Snyder’s New 52 Batman has done very little but impress me in the first 12 issues, and the title’s zero month installment does not veer from the series’ path of success.

This issue simply tells a story about Bruce Wayne attempting to fight crime before he donned the cowl. He makes several mistakes while under cover with a gang of Red Hoods, but later admits to them and promises improvement like a champion.

I saw this issue as a near sequel to last week’s Detective Comics zero issue, where we saw Wayne’s last stop on his training journey, and his ultimate arrival back to Gotham City. But Batman zero shows Bruce Wayne and Alfred in a high-rise apartment building rather than Wayne Manor, which indicates that some time has certainly passed between these two stories.

In keeping with the style of story telling in zero month, the main story is a flashback, showing us how sad Bruce Wayne really was before he became Batman. But the unusual thing is that at the end of the story, there’s a short note saying that the story will continue in 2013. So now we can assume that after the completion of the death of the family arc, that the main Batman franchise will go back in time and tell a new story about how Batman became who he is today. I think there’s a lot of potential here and who honestly doesn’t love some good ret-con?

The back story in this issue was what really stood out to me though. It shows Gordon and Barbara on the roof of the police building, immediately after lighting the Bat-Signal for the first time. Then it shows each of the three Robins in their lives pre-Batman, doing what we all would assume they’d be doing. Drake’s being a smart ass and getting his principal fired. Grayson is saving a woman’s purse in a generally acrobatic fashion. Todd is robbing a convenience store but is trying to do the right thing. Ultimately they all look up into the sky at the same moment and see the signal. And we are to believe that they each had a short moment of realization when they saw that bright light in the sky and knew that their lives would mean so much more one day. After her dad left the roof, Barbara Gordon also had a short moment, which I chuckled at.

No matter which Robin, the general persona of the character fascinates me, and I revel in any opportunity to see the boy wonder in a book besides Batman and Robin, so I loved this story. I hope to see many more like it soon. Plus, Andy Clark’s art was beyond amazing. He gave each Robin a special look that made each one stand out, even though they each only appeared two or three times in the issue.

–John

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