With the Dark City story arc wrapping up, we’re seeing the Zero Year plot line really take shape. This issue was extremely action packed and progressed the story quite a bit, while overlaying Bruce’s parent’s murder with aspects of the story, giving a lot of depth where it was lacking. Now I’m definitely not saying that I didn’t enjoy it; it was on a massive scale, a blow-out Batman story with more action, death and drama than most other titles can handle. Sometimes titles need issues like this. They are segueing into the next story arc, so there’s little time for depth (they already did most of the legwork in previous issues i.e. Gordon’s predicament with his commanding officer), this is just, forgive my cliche, a no-holds-barred beat down with countless explosions and an outcome that will have Batman using his brain rather than his fists in the next issue. An issue like this is not only entertaining, it’s necessary.
Back to the explosiveness. I loved the cinematic nature of this issue. Rain coming down in sheets, a fiery battle at 2,000 feet, a full-scale terrorist attack on Gotham City; this issue had everything. One thing I did notice more so than anything else was how destruction was featured so prominently in this story. Everything crashes, burns or blows up. Even Batman. He has always favored destroying himself for the sake of the greater good, but in this issue we see over and over again him beating the living hell out of a dashboard control unit, each panel focusing closer on his fists; we become intimate with his pain and his fury. And he’s not the only character who’s destroyed. I’ll save the details, but one villain meets a particularly grisly end, in what could be called his own making. It was hard to endure but it really rang true with Snyder and Capullo’s style. The team has a certain darkness to them that blends horror and action/adventure in a really unique way. They bring new meaning to Dark City, beyond the literal explanation of “Lights Out;” they are basically saying that there is no hope for anyone in Gotham after this arc concludes. There’s no confirmation that any of our heroes are even alive following the events of this issue. So we have a lot to look forward to as Batman and Gordon will have to work together in an uphill battle in the next few issues.
I mentioned the creative team before, but I left out a few of their key weapons. Danny Miki’s inking and FCO Plascencia’s coloring have done wonders to bring these past couple of issues to life. The extreme coloration indicating the sun setting on GC, the fires, rain and lightning all blending together to form a brilliant landscape of absolute terror. I know that these particular themes are specific to Zero Year, but I hope these two creators will stick around for a while and continue to showcase their talents.
With the explosive ending of this issue, it may be hard for us as readers to believe that things could possibly get worse for our crime-fighting pals, but there was a cliff-hanger ending that indicates things might get a little worse before they get any better. Earlier I wrote that Batman will need to start using his brain in the next issue; it’s because of what we know the Riddler has planned. He’ll give the city an all-too-brief reprieve, but after that it’s open season again as “riddle 2” will be activated after just five minutes.
But I’m not worried. Savage City will be Batman and Gordon’s time to shine, now that they are able to work in the Dark and completely independent of the police force. Stick around.