Batman #25

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Scott Snyder depicts a dark city

Batman has spent its last few issues redesigning the framework of the Dark Knight’s early years of fighting crime within Gotham City. For a few good reasons, this issue has the subtitle “Dark City,” not only because the Riddler has cut the power all across the city, but also because the soul of Gotham City is black. Snyder is playing with the concept of darkness in many ways by showcasing his talent of spinning horrifying tales, including characters that are dear to us all and creating all-new terrible additions to the cast.

One thing that stands out to me is that despite the darkness of the title and subject material of this and the first few issues of Batman Zero Year, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and Fco Plascencia work together to include these amazingly colored pages throughout the issue that are usually mixes of vibrant purple, pink and orange, mimicking a wonderful sunset. Here’s an example of this:

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I think what the creative team is going for is to show that the sun is setting on Gotham. The time of the criminal is over and night is approaching. The Dark Knight. The time has come for Batman to come and claim the city, to bring darkness upon the crime lords and super villains. No matter my interpretation, the art looks good. That leads me to another point about Snyder and Capullo’s run on Batman. Apart from back stories, annuals, specials and such, Capullo has drawn the whole series so far, bringing a style unlike any I’ve ever seen. His character designs have a distinct look to them, reminiscent of Quitely and Romita Jr. I hope this trend continues because Snyder and Capullo’s styles really lend themselves to each other, working together to achieve perfect darkness and expressing the humanity (or lack thereof) of their cast.

Another note about the picture above–the Batmobile. I mean, wow. I never would have visualized a past version of the batmobile to be so…retro, let’s say? I don’t know much about classic cars but the old batmobile has separated wheels from the body, a classic beast of a grill and so many mods that make it a novelty. It can jump and drive on the ceiling. What will they think of next? It must have been so fun for the creative team to come up with things like the redefined batmobile and the bat cave, both of which we got a great look at in this issue.

Zero Year is aptly named because the story is placed within issues coming out within the span of an entire year. Twelve parts. The longevity of the story and the arc structure both remind me of Snyder’s “The Black Mirror,” that took place in his run on Detective Comics a few years ago. That story was split into a few different sub arcs, with a few different villains, ultimately leading to a single great villain. So far we have seen a lot of variance in Zero Year as far as villains go, and I hope that we continue to see it in the coming months, while becoming more and more focused on a single villain/event that will bring about the climax of the story. I really enjoyed the art from The Black Mirror also, provided by Jock and Francavilla. I think both of their styles lent themselves to Snyder’s writing in that story, and having multiple artists really worked for the story, and ironically, the single artist approach is one of my favorite aspects of Zero Year/New 52 Batman as a whole.

Batman and Tie-Ins go hand in hand. Batman RIP. Batman INC. Night of the Owls. Death of the Family. Zero Year. For each of those I bought quite a few of the tie-ins, and this month when all the other Zero Year books are coming out, I’ve been tempted by all of them, but the only one I picked up so far was Green Arrow, just because it’s the only one in my box. Others that I really wanted were Action, Detective, and Batwing and there will be others that I will eventually end up getting at some point. But either way, I like that aspect of the story, but only if it really works with the primary story. So I will have to read Green Arrow and the others and report back if they were meaningful or not.

In addition to the money and marketing of Zero Year, the issues are getting bigger and bolder, literally. 24 was massive and wore a cover price of 6.99. Now 25 has the same cover as the first Zero Year but was emboldened in all black and looked amazing. Well worth the 4.99 cover price. They are making us pay out the nose, but this is by far the best DC title being written right now.

Lastly, one thing about reading comics monthly is that sometimes I cannot remember details from previous issues. This is a big hindrance to me, as I read my comics monthly and rarely in trade unless I’m catching up. This happened in this issue when Gordon and Wayne were talking about what happened to Bruce’s parents on the night of their death, and they made a reference that I wasn’t sure if it was the first mention or if it was something that I missed before or just didn’t remember.. I will have to reread and find out! Oh well, not the worst solution ever.

I hope you enjoy this issue and this story as much as I do.

John Cole

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