Zero Year Begins (Batman #21)

I think I can do this one without spoilers and, as of right now, pictures. My torrenting site of choice is down.

Don’t give me that look. I only grab a torrent for issues I already own, and only for when I need a few good scans of panels for a post like this. Seriously. You think I find all those primo shoots on Google Images? Or better yet, scan them in by hand myself? Hardly! But if I understand the law properly, downloading a digital file of something you already paid for and own is not illegal, just considered “digital back-up.” I pay for my comics, feds. Please don’t come after me for that.

As most of you know, the so-called “Zero Year” storyline is an update to the Batman origin, something that has stood throughout the 25 years that has passed since the publishing of Batman #404-407, the sacred cow known as “Batman: Year One.” Now, Frank Miller did a fantastic job of re-establishing Batman’s origins and the first year of his “life.” It’s filled with classic moments that people still cling to, ones seen for years as Gotham gospel.

But, it doesn’t necessarily work as well as people like to act. There are large gaps in timelines and story logic here and there (not just in the New 52, mind you), and DC is working to fix it, so they got long-running Batman creative team of writer Scott Snyder and penciler Greg Capullo to whip up what is understood to be and 11-issue monster of a run that introduces a more uniform and united Batman continuity for the new universe.

Many long-standing fans don’t like the idea of changing it, but I must say it is a necessary evil. If we still stuck by the “Year One” gospel, ages would be really, really off. Commissioner Gordon’s son would be a young lad, not the murderous fully-grown adult we see in “The Black Mirror.” Also, the ages of all the Robins would be so screwed up, way too much to get into right now. It’s actually something that needs done, not some weird publicity stunt, and with Snyder being such a big Batman fan, I think it’s safe to say that he is the right choice for rebooting the origin.

That being said, this issue held a lot of weird chunks that either lay the groundwork for the next 10 issues or start to tie in stuff from past issues. We finally see the continuation of the skirmish with the Red Hood Gang that took place almost a year ago in issue #12. The rest is bits and pieces about Bruce being back in town after his seven or so years of travel and training, chunks with Alfred about continuing the public charade that Bruce Wayne is dead, some weird bit with Batman on a motorcycle and a back-up story about a 19-year-old Bruce running from the cops. The largest piece of the story involves Bruce’s uncle, Phillip Kane, driving Bruce to the new home of Wayne Enterprises and attempting to talk him into taking over as head of the conglomerate.

We find soon enough that Phillip Kane is working with shady-looking man named Edward Nygma, who suggests Kane takes extreme measures to gain the answers to his mysterious problems.

I don’t want to dive too much farther into the issue, to be honest. Just enough to give you a taste of what’s inside. It seems like Snyder is busy laying a lot of foundation for what’s to come, something we won’t understand the full scope of for another 11 months. Saddle up, kiddies, and strap yourself in tight. It’s going to be quite the long ride, and if I know Snyder’s writing as well as I think I do, there’s going to be quite a lot of big things coming down the pipe in the next year.

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