Batman #0
Batman #0
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Greg Capullo

The origin of Batman has become pretty well mined territory. It's difficult to find a new spin on that time period or to present it in a way that feels fresh and engaging. Leave it to Scott Snyder to make it work.

The story begins with a vicious bank robbery perpetrated by, if the old continuity is anything to go by, the man who would one day become the Joker. Snyder delivers a Bruce Wayne who has yet to take on the identify of the Batman. He is developing his weapons, methods, and fighting skills. He's good, but he is still learning, still making mistakes. He is not the thorough, almost insanely intensive planner that he will become, and almost loses his life as a result. The exchanges between Bruce and Alfred and Bruce and Commissioner Gordon evoke the dynamics and interplay of Batman Begins, high praise indeed, but should be no surprise as Snyder and Nolan have given audiences two of the most definitive interpretations of the character in recent memory.

Greg Capullo's action scenes are both kinetic and vicious. He nicely distinguishes the age difference between Bruce, Alfred, and Gordon given the six year time lapse, something other artists tend to struggle with. His renditions of Gotham are just as gritty and grungy as we have come to expect. And I always appreciate an artist who mixes up panels and angles during a very static conversation scene such as the one between Bruce and Commissioner Gordon.

The backup story by Snyder and Tynion IV answer more questions about the altered Bat continuity (specifically as pertains to the Robins) in eight pages, than the entire New Fifty Two has in 12 months. Snyder and Tynion capture the unique voice of each Robin and showcase the key events and personality traits that will set them on a collision course with the Batman. If Snyder and Tynion were to choose to devote all future back-ups to a year one-esque detailing of Bruce's early days and the histories of Gordon and the Robins, I don't think I would complain.

Snyder and Capullo weave an engaging tale set around early moment's of Bruce's career that might sound mundane on paper. Leave it to this creative team to craft an engrossing story about Bruce beta-testing the batarang and meeting Commisioner Gordon (then lieutenant Gordon) for the first time. This issue is definitely a win for the zero month initiative.

Grade: A-

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