New 52 – Batman #0 review

The main story by Snyder and Capullo was very good, but much like Detective Comics #0, it was rushed and even worse, ended in a “To Be Continued in 2013” which left me pretty disappointed. It took a great story and turned it into one big tease. However, this comic didn’t stop there. And if you can look past the fact that DC has squeezed all Robins into a time frame of 6 years then the backup story “Tomorrow” by James Tynion IV and Andy Clarke will have you grinning from ear to ear.

First there’s the opening story “Bright New Yesterday” which I found very thrilling but it was ultimately cut short. As much as I enjoyed the artwork last month it’s definitely great to see Capullo back at the pencil. He and inker Glapion rock this issue. The action is explosive, the environments are beautiful (and perfectly colored by FCO), and these characters, especially Gordon, are highly expressive and just come to life! Study those panels with Gordon. Gordon is always gesturing with his hand, puffing on his cigarette, and changing his posture according to what is being said or unsaid in the scene. I appreciate the level of detail this art team brings to each character and each setting in this series. My only nitpicks with the art would be the tron-style bike that Bruce drives and something else a bit spoilerish.

I didn’t really like the Red Hood’s helmet. Having it stand that tall and only come down over 3/4 of his head didn’t look right to me.

The lettering side of the story could’ve used as much attention to detail as the art. Lettering isn’t something that’s never brought up until it’s done wrong. Letterers are the unsung heroes of comics, really. Here, there were a couple things that stood out: #1 a character’s speech bubble is assigned to the wrong person. #2 the word “little” is misspelled “litle”. I want to point out these technical issues in case somebody in charge of the future TPB wants to take note and fix it before it goes to print.

As for the story, like I said it was great fun and it’s exactly the sort of Batman story I want to see…I just want to see more of it. It’s clear that Snyder has some cool ideas for a Year One Batman and the book promises to bring us more in 2013 but I felt kind of (I actually started to write the word gypped here but I had never written the word down before and when I looked at it I was like…wow, is that a racist term? It is.) cheated when I saw that the whole thing was ending on a cliffhanger. It didn’t satisfy me, but it definitely left me wanting more.

“Tomorrow” by James Tynion IV and Andy Clarke was the real star here. This glimpse into the lives of Batman’s closest allies on the night when the bat signal was first lit is magnificent. And when you read the great moment with Tim Drake (remember him?) you’re immediately going to demand that DC put Tynion on a Red Robin series. In just a few pages “Tomorrow” answered questions many have had regarding the New 52 continuity, showed us what the lives of several characters were like way back before the Batman changed everything, and most importantly it concluded in a satisfying way. This is what I wanted from the zero issues. Done-in-One stories that both provide answers and get new readers excited about the mythology. The cross-hatching artwork of Andy Clarke when colored by FCO is the perfect complement to Capullo’s work. I found it weird that Tim, Dick, and Jason all appeared to be almost the same age, but i guess they sort of have to be in this New 52 continuity with its small 6 year window. Whatever, I can look past that. One thing I couldn’t get past is spoilerish:

Jason Todd is an accomplice in an armed robbery, but turns on his partner who kills an innocent woman. He’s found beating the partner up when the police arrive and the cops let Jason go scott-free. How does that make sense? How was Jason Todd not arrested.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Tomorrow” but again, don’t think too much on the whole 6 years, 3 Robins thing. It’s not worth the stress. If you want to spend a few hours figuring out history, your time is better spent watching videos at Khan Academy.

The cliffhanger aggravated me and something in the backup definitely left me scratching my head, but I know I’ll find myself going back to closely examine all of the early tech Bruce had lying around his original base of operations, I’ll be reading what is one of the best Tim Drake moments in years–without a doubt this past year– again, and there are a lot of really great character moments that I know I’ll revisit. Issue #0 even with its flaws is an immensely fun and re-readable issue for Batman fans.

SCORE: 9/10