Comic Books

BATMAN #21

Witness The New 52 origin of The Dark Knight in BATMAN: ZERO YEAR!

Twists and turns are around every corner as Bruce Wayne takes the final steps toward his destiny!

And in the backup story, learn more about how different Gotham City was at this dangerous point in time.

Story by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Art by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, & Rafael Albuquerque
Colors by FCO Plascencia & Dave McCaig
Letters by Nick Napolitano & Taylor Esposito
Cover by Greg Capullo & Mikel Janin

Price: $3.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 16.5%

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  1. Yeah Zero Year finally kicks-off! πŸ˜€

    AND, we get two DC comics written by Snyder this week? I’m still expecting to wake up anytime now…

  2. Looking forward to this 12 issue EPIC! It’s about time Batman gets an updated origin. I mean, I am a huge a fan of Miller’s “Year One” story and think it is the 2nd greatest Batman comic ever published (the 1st being Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns of course), but it’s time.

    Year One came out in what? 1987? And since then it’s been the definitive origin story for Batman – for over 25 years. It’s a bit dated.

    So yeah, stoked that the time has come for a re-imaging and that it’s coming from the mind of Scott Snyder.

  3. I’m excited so many people are excited about this. Origin stories don’t do much for me. Will check this out. Snyder has a way with things and Capullo has been doing amazing!

  4. Was on the fence about this book but that was due to my “momentary lack of reason due to my hatred of Harper Row” syndrome.She’s lame, almost made a knee-jerk reaction. Anyways…really glad I stuck around .I thought the last 2 issues with Clayface was a great appetizer for this long story arc and now I’m ready for some meat.

    • You’re not alone, I hate Harper Row as well.

    • Harper is great!

      What don’t you like about her?

    • She’s like every cliche’ for an emo kid all rolled into one. No parents,check. Gets bullied at school so is a loner,check. has a gay sibling who also gets bullied at school and needs older sibling protection,check. I shouldn’t have used the word “hate”, boring and uninspired is probably a more accurate description.

    • I’ll stick with “hate”, every issue she’s in is ruined for me because she usually brings down the story. If I had to express in words I’d say because I find her unoriginal, annoying, and cliched in terms of female Bat characters.

    • @hanson: I’m not sure you know what an “emo kid” is based on that comparison.

    • Having a gay sibling is a prerequisite for being an emo kid? Hmm…
      I would think being too busy writing songs/poems about suicide to actually commit suicide would be on the list somewhere. πŸ˜‰

    • What ever happened to normal people being in comics…. seems like they are trying to change everything….. incorporate gays emo people changing superheroes race

    • Dude, incorporating gays, “emo kids,” and altering the ethnicity of superheroes doesn’t change a damned thing. Superheroes function on an ethos, not some trite surface structure of which gender they romantically engage with or the origin of their family lineage. That’s why we love them.

    • @davetheman1010: Gay people, emo people (whatever the fuck THAT means), and people of various races ARE all “normal people”. I sure hope you’re not suggesting otherwise.

    • @davetheman1010: That’s a pretty scary comment. So are you saying you want all superheros to be straight, white skinned, suburbanites? Because that’s how it sounds.

      And to everyone using the word “emo kid” please stop because no one has done so correctly yet! Emo is a type of music and an “emo kid” is simply a person who enjoys listening to that kind of music. They are all different kinds of people who simply share a taste in music. There was an article on this site just last week about stereotyping “geeks.” Now some of us are stereotyping fans of certain music? And when you say “emo kid” if you are picturing the cast of Garden State you are not even close so just stop.

    • @Conor
      Right on.

      @USPUNX
      jeez, man. No need to get so EMOtional. πŸ˜‰

    • @sitara: Hahaha, well played sir. (Tips imaginary hat)

      It’s just that I used to be an “emo kid” (in that I listened to and enjoyed emo music during high school) and I get a little annoyed when the common and largely untrue emo stereotype is thrown around. But you’re right, no reason to get bent out of shape.

    • I wasn’t trying to start anything about gays or emo kids, I was just responding to why I don’t like Harper Row. She’s very cliche’ and boring imo.Lazy writing.

      @ USPUNX Don’t be so thin skinned man .Relax. I wasn’t putting down emo kids so much as Harper Row herself. If I used the word incorrectly I apologize.

      @ davetheman1010 Thats not what I was saying at all and in the future please don’t defend me.

    • @hanson: Fair enough. I did overreact for sure. I’ve just had that label used on me when all it really means is a fan of the music. People just get this image of a weepy, dyed black haired, emotional unstable, sad person when “emo kid” is used. It’s just a stereotype that irks me but I see know you weren’t necessarily using it in that manner. Apologies for overreacting.

  5. I’m taking a sabbatical from Batman starting now. I still love Snyder, I’m cool with a new origin, but I’m taking a break. Money’s tight, I want to branch out a bit, and this will be going on all year long. Not super worried about missing anything, I’ll be buying the issues eventually just not month in month out.

    • Why buy the issues? If you’re going to wait a year, just pick up the trades πŸ™‚

    • Well for one, won’t DC just divide Zero year into 2 different trades? Another, I like having the original issues to runs. Plus I get a discount at my LCS, I don’t usually buy trades, and if I just buy the issues I can buy alittle here and alittle there instead of all at once. Its just how I am sometimes.

  6. So hyped for this! Batman needs a new origin!

    • I’m curious as to why you think “Batman needs a new origin”?

    • Umm, no he doesn’t. That’s like saying Supes needs a new origin. Maybe and updated version, but there is absolutely no need for a “new” one.

    • Because Year One feels like it was from the 80’s. I expect an updated Origin every couple of decades. Adding to the mythos is always good.

    • I have to disagree. Year One is about as timeless a story as there is, Miller at the height of his powers and gorgeous art from Mazzucchelli! Snyder and Capullo have been doing good work but none of it so far has given me the impression that they will reach the lofty heights of Year One. As for adding to the mythos always being a good thing; I would point you to the Star Wars prequels and the Alien franchise, more is not always better.

    • @slickman83 so you’re saying we should just call it a wrap on decades old superheroes? or should we just keep rehashing Miller stuff?

    • I don’t even understand the hype surrounding Frank Miller’s year one. I thought it was terrible. Earth One was a better origin story; I think Zero year will be even better than that.

    • @TonyyyG I’m saying both! Let’s call it a wrap on the old superheroes and not only rehash Miller but get the man himself back to write all the comics’ss! But seriously, I was just throwing a little love to Year One which IMHO is a timeless masterpiece. I truly hope that Zero Year is fantastic, I am rooting for both Snyder and Capullo, an update to the origin story treated with love and respect is welcome. I was originally questioning the need for a “new origin” which would be ridiculous as Batman has one of the most elegant origin stories in comics.

  7. I’m really torn on this one. On the one hand I love what this creative team has been doing, on the other I think I could sit this one out and be okay with reading it in trade. I’m gonna have to decide at the shelf this week.

    • Why not buy one or two issues and make a truly informed opinion.

    • I’m buying the first one, maybe two, and going from there. I was excited for this when I first heard, but reality set in, and I’m not anymore. That said, I would love it to be great. I’m much more excited about AV this week. That’s where Snyder does it for me.

    • @Scarlet-Batman, I know the gist of the story, and I’m sure Snyder and Capullo will do a good job, I’m just not certain I want to shell out the $48 to get another origin tale. I guess I’m just not that curious about what happened to make Bruce want to be Batman. I’m glad he became Batman, so I can read about his cases/adventures, and that’s really all I need. I’ll come back when the Zero Year is over regardless, but I don’t want to pick up a book out of my completist obligation; I want to get books because I’m interested it the story they are telling.

    • @Turd I’m with you. I want to know what exactly this is doing for a year. Im hoping its a bunch of “pre-Batman” Bruce fighting crime stories that DC is calling an origin for sales sake. Id be interested in that, a lot, but if its a 12 issue origin, then OUCH, that’s a pricey (and drawn out) origin, and I’ll probably wait til it hits my local library. I’m hoping for the earlier idea, or at least 6 issues of it.

    • @TurdSandwich – I’ve had the same tussle and have decided to take a break. I’m motivated by ‘the new’ and as well told as this tale will doubtless be, it isn’t that. DC’s intention to pull other bat-titles into ‘zero year’ was the clincher. I’m really quite happy to dig out ‘The Untold Legend of the Batman’ mini when the mood takes me.

    • @Drumanespic, just want to clear something up; DC didn’t decide to pull the other Bat-titles into Zero Year, their respective writers asked to join in on it http://m.ign.com/articles/2013/06/10/batmans-zero-year-spreads-to-other-bat-books.

    • Doesn’t it seem a little suspect that every time the main batman book wants to do something all the other writers just happen to want to jump into a cross over with that book outside of Morrison on Batman Inc. I understand that Higgins and Snyder were planning court of Owls together and they seem to be friends but I don’t believe that every other writer on the Batman titles is like “Fuck yeah let me spend three issues enhancing your story” instead of getting out there own ideas. It seems like every time something big happens in the main Batman book Snyder is just like “Yeah they just all decided to jump on with me” and while I don’t doubt that he may believe that and that may be what editorial is telling him I also don’t think that’s 100% true.

  8. Today is a great week to be a Scott Snyder, Batman and Superman reader.

  9. Wasn’t sure if I was gonna do this in issues but I have been, for the most part, really digging what Snyder’s been doing with the title. Add Rafael Albuquerque on back up story art and I’m in for the first issue.

  10. Really excited for this. A year long, new origin issue is daunting but we all know this creative team can make gold out of anything. I’m expecting this to be really damn good plus we have a Albuquerque art for back up! How can we lose!?

  11. This creative team has been aces. I don’t foresee them faltering in the next year.
    Besides, ENTER: The Riddler. I’m curious to see how Snyder writes him and how he fits into the Zero Year.

  12. JML (@twitter.com/JoshMLabelle) says:

    I’ll check this out. If anyone can revive some very chewed over material, I suppose it would be Snyder.

  13. Doesn’t sound like anyone here read Geoff Johns’ “Earth One.” I thought that “re-telling of Bruce Wayne’s origins” was pretty damn good. But I do love the team of Snyder + Capullo on Batman, so I will definitely be checking this one out. Hope it’s really going to be different and not just Bruce’s parents getting gunned down yet again.

    So Harper Row is going to be in this… she’s a teen in the past issues, so is she supposed to be 7 years old in the Year Zero issues? Bruce does have a 10 year old kid that died, so just trying to do the math…

    • I read “Batman: Earth One” (which Zero Year is starting to sound alot like) and thought it was ok.

      Wait is Harper Row in this issue? Totally skipping this then, can’t stand her.

    • @IthoSapien : Glad I’m not the only one that read that awesome telling of Bruce’s origins. I’m not exactly sure about Harper in this version, will have to wait until it comes out to really know, but according to the buzz on this forum she’s supposed to be. Not my favorite character either, but I wouldn’t skip it just because of her. Snyder + Capullo on Batman is still worth a read IMHO.

    • @illusivex: What buzz are you referring to?

    • @Illusivex, I love Snyder and Capullo but every issue Harper Row is in I hate. To this day I’ve read every issue at least twice except for #13, & #18. I hate those issues and regret buying them (except for that Alex Maleev art in 18’s backup, that was sweet). I’m terra firma on this.

    • @conor : Buzz, as in comments on this page specifically. The comments above lead me to believe she will be in the Zero Year storyline. Maybe I read the comments above wrong. But as mentioned, will have to wait till the issue comes out to really know.

      @IthoSapien : Everyone is free to their opinions, just hope the “maybe / maybe not” presence of Harper doesn’t dissuade u from checking out what could be a great storyline.

    • @illusivex: There’s no one in the comments above who says that she’s going to be in this storyline. There’s talk ABOUT her, but no one who says she’s going to be in it.

      I can tell you she’s definitely not in the first issue.

    • @conor : Ah, my bad, I did read it wrong then. Was wondering where a 7 year old Harper would fit in the storyline.

    • Batman: Earth One was the telling of Bruce/Batman’s origin on Earth One, not Earth Zero which is where the New 52 is on correct? And where this origin story takes place? So they could be two totally different origins. Just like Batman’s origin on Earth 2 could be different.

    • As far as Harper Row goes, I’m wondering if we will see the story where Batman catches Harper’s father and gets him thrown in prison in Year Zero. That was referenced a couple of issues ago.

  14. I’ll be picking this one up tomorrow, I’m interested, but not overjoyed, at the prospect of a ‘new’ origin.

    Personally, I’ve been consistently let down by ‘New 52’ origins, especially in the Bat-Family books. Here are a few examples.

    – Tim Drake was never actually Robin. Only Red Robin.
    – Jason Todd was manipulated by The Joker for his entire life (and up until his death).
    – Mr. Freeze working for Bruce Wayne. No longer has the Wife and now a hastily thrown chair is responsible for his genesis.
    – Black Mask has hypnotic powers (I read that somewhere, dunno if its true).
    – Dick Grayson’s new origin (in Nightwing).
    – Harley Quin’s new origin (in ‘Suicide Squad’)

    On the other hand, I enjoyed Mad Hatter’s origin in ‘The Dark Knight’ despite the fact that it has taken half a year to tell.

    So I’ll give this one a go. I’ll post my thoughts on here after I’ve read it.

    • @Apoetsomeday, I can tell you that the Black Mask mask has hypnotic powers (or unlocks them in the current user, not sure) but the story it’s used in I thought was well-done. Likewise with Mr.Freeze, I love how Snyder tweaked that villain and the Annual it happened in, great story.

    • Glad you liked it mate. However, I think Mr. Freeze has been used horribly in the New 52. Especially his costume, but especially his origin story.

    • I’m with Poet on Mr Freeze. His quest to save his wife made him the perfect anti-villain. Really set him apart. Now he’s just delusional and psychotic like the rest of Batman’s rogues.

    • @Sitara119, hate to burst your bubble but Mr.Freeze has always been psychotic and/or deranged. He hasn’t had a long quest to cure his wife from a cryogenic coma. That was in the cartoons and as far as I know was never woven into the comics. In the comics he tried to cure her, put her into a coma, she died, and he went insane. So the New 52 universe telling me Nora is still frozen, not Mrs.Fres, and Mr.Freeze is delusionaly obsessed with her just strikes me as a great twist. His “wife” is still his weakness, he’s still relentlessly homicidal, but now his psychosis is taken one step further.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love the cartoon version. It’s a brilliant character study, but it’s always been pretty different from the comics.

    • “Hate to burst your bubble”. Wow. How condescending. I disagree with you on how the character should be portrayed. Deal with it without lashing out and coming off like a douchebag.

    • @Sitara I don’t think he was trying to be condescending. There’s no need for name calling.

    • You also don’t think it’s condescending to tell a whole class of people they don’t have the right to marry who they choose. So excuse me for dismissing your comment. This is between me and IthoSapien. Stay out of it.

    • @apoet I haven’t been thrilled with the “new origins” either, but its kinda funny, because if you read the letters section in Batman during and just after Year One, there is a ton of animosity at the story. Fast forward, and it has become THE definitive origin story. This has been happening forever at DC and reader reaction is always mixed at best. That said, I hope its good enough to keep me buying because I’m already pretty burnt out on New 52 Batman in general. On another note, just read Gothic and it kicked MAJOR ass. Prey is next πŸ™‚

    • Whoa, @Sitara119 I wasn’t trying to be condescending. I just wanted to explain to you that Mr.Freeze in the cartoons is not the same as the comics, in fact I think Snyder incorporated some of the appealing aspects of the cartoon version into the New 52 Freeze which is why I like it so much. When I typed “hate to burst youre bubble” I didn’t mean to come off as superior or a “douchebag”, I was just trying to be playful. Anyway I apoligize, I picked a bad turn of phrase and I’m sorry. Can we pretend that didn’t happen and continue with our discussions on the forums in a civil manner?

      Incidentally, I love the cartoon Bruce Timm version of Mr.Freeze. He was a very compelling character despite being so unconcerned if anybody froze to death. That’s my favorite version of the character.

      @theWaci, I know what you’re saying about “Year One”. I found an article last month that reprinted some of the angry fan letters that DC received when that story started and they’re kind of funny because those fans sound just like the angry fans of today. Same sh*t, different era. If you reading classic Batman stories, I recommend Blind Justice. It’s one of my favorites and has some great themes in it about Bruce Wayne and his obessesion to be Batman.

    • @Ithosapien It is funny. Fans were legitimately PISSED, especially about Catwoman, and they HATED the art. You would never guess it by its standing today (except maybe still Catwoman). I’ve definitely been branching out more and more to older stories, in particular LOTDK because my shop has a bunch of them at $1 each, and they’ve mostly been very good. What title is that story under, do you know issue numbers?

    • @theWAC1, I had to google it but Blind Justice is a three issue arc in Detective Comics #598-600. Its written by Sam Hamm, the guy who wrote the screenplay to the 1988 Batman movie.

      I wonder if in 10-20 years Year Zero will be the definitive origin and people will say “Why is DC throwing that away?! Thats the best origin dammit, why do we need to hear another Batman origin story?”. As far as I know, people are still mad about how Catwoman is portrayed in Year One. Maybe its my naveite but I actually liked it, it gave a good reason as to why she becomes a thief. I’ve never liked the idea that she just steals because she’s good at it, its boring IMO. Thank Gan Chris Nolan included her in TDKR and made her compelling to me.

      Oh, about LOTDK; I don’t recall the issue number but there’s an issue where Batman is kidnapped and the villain tries to convince him that Batman is just a delusion Bruce Wayne invented to deal with his parents murder. It’s kinda trippy, but if you haven’t read that story yet ask about it. I think Morrison may have used it as inspiration in ‘RIP”.

    • Wow. That escalated quickly.

      @WAC1 – I haven’t read ‘Gothic’ yet, but I really want to. I did get ‘Siege’ by Archie Goodwin, James Robinson & Marshall Rogers and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m getting ‘Tao’ next. ‘Blind Justice’ is a great story, you can find it in Detective 598, 599 & 600. It was written by Sam Hamm (the screenwriter who wrote the 1989 ‘Batman’ movie) and it features the first appearance of Henri Ducard. The art is by the sorely underrated Denys Cowan. I thoroughly recommend it. ‘Prey’ is great too, you’ll love it.

      Also, you’re both absolutely right about the negative reaction to ‘Year One’. I noticed that in many of my comics from that era. In fact, Denny O’Neil’s ‘From The Den’ column actually has to DEFEND it at least once. I remember being very young and reading ‘Year One’ for the first time round my best friend’s house and not liking the art a whole lot (it was the 90’s and I was into Jim Lee’s ‘X-Men’, Michael Turner’s ‘Witchblade’ and Marc Silvestri’s ‘Cyber Force’), now, I love it so, so much. So reactions do change, of course.

      @Ithosapien – Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Mr. Freeze’s backstory from the TAS episode ‘Heart of Ice’ was revisited/tweaked in the comics on a number of occasions. In fact, I think Nora Fries was resurrected as ‘Lazara’ (or something equally dopey) at one point, but I chose to ignore those stories lol.

      The comics never did a straight adaptation of the TAS origin, but Paul Dini’s origin story is the one best known by fans. The ‘Wife story’ is referenced in ‘Dark Victory’, ‘Cold Snap’ (from ‘Legends of the Dark Knight’) as well as the story in (I think) ‘Gotham Knights’ 54. Its pretty frequently mentioned in the 2000’s. It was even used in (shudder) ‘Batman & Robin’…

      As I said elsewhere, the definitive Mr. Freeze comics origin, for me, is ‘Snow’ by Dan Curtis Johnson, JH Williams III and (the sorely missed) Seth Fisher. You’re right that in most versions Nora is already dead, but I agree with Sitara that the character is missing a sense of pathos now.

      There’s something that ties us to the character when his origin is tragic. We hate what he does, but not necessarily who he is, because we’ve all experienced grief, pain and guilt in our lives. When Sitara said that he was now just a delusional not-bag (I’m paraphrasing), he was saying that Freeze is no longer relatable, just one more insane villain.

      He was a crazy motherfungler before, but he was OUR crazy motherfungler (now I’m paraphrasing Black Mask in ‘Under the Red Hood’) lol.

      Oh, did you know that Mike Mignola designed his look/costume for TAS? It blew my mind when I discovered that.

    • @APoetSomeday, yea I knew about Mignola’s involvment thanks to me watching “Heart of Ice” with the commentary on. No idea why I did that but I’m glad I did. It was mind-blowing to learn tho!

      I had to do a quick search on Mr.Freeze before one of my responses, but from my own reading history Freeze just seemed like a trigger happy sociopath. I havent read anything where his wife was in a coma and he tried obessively to cure her, all the stories I’ve read have him working for money or freeze Gotham just because. It’s not as compelling I admit but I don’t know if I’ve read any of the stories you listed. It’s possible, but I’ve never read alot of LOTDK. Didn’t he have a Joker’s Asylum issue? If thats true I know I read that.

      Like I said to my response(s) to @Sitara119, I fully agree with you guys that the TAS version is better. However Snyder’s annual was the first story I’ve read where he incorporated TAS elements to Mr.Freeze (I thought it was long overdue). I feel like its a happy medium, he’s still in love with “Nora” and wants to be with her but he’s still insane and sociopathic and now extra-COLDblooded (couldn’t resist).

      I just want to reiterate one of my points, I love the TAS Mr.Freeze, and agree with you that “We hate what he does, but not necessarily who he is, because we’ve all experienced grief, pain and guilt in our lives.” I just think we can have the best of both worlds with the New 52 version.

      And about him in TAS, I still think he was crazy. I mean he had his wife in a coma but he still tried to freeze Gotham and murder (implied) hundreds of people over and over. I always wondered why he never just asked Bruce Wayne to help his wife, or just mellowed out and sold some patents to get money for his wife’s cure. Dude was definately crazy the whole time, we just looked past it because we felt for the guy.

    • He was at that! lol.

      The New 52 wasn’t the first time his TAS origin was incorporated into his comic book backstory is all I was saying. Elements of Dini’s origin have been floating around in the comics for a couple of decades now, Snyder wasn’t the first to do it. That isn’t to take away from him, I just didn’t care for his particular take on the character is all. Mostly, I love his stuff.

      It just seems really stupid that a chair thrown at Bruce Wayne could even puncture a cryo tank (or whatever it was). Also, I always liked the villains who were ‘normal’ people who went bad. Those guys tend to stick better in reader’s minds. Again, that’s just my opinion. Some examples (but by no means an exhaustive list):

      Joker = Failed comedian falls into vat of chemicals following the murder of his pregnant wife. (Killing Joke)
      Two Face = Do-Gooder District Attorney scarred in court by Mob Boss. (Long Halloween)
      Black Mask = Spoiled rich kid grows up hating his parents and their apparent ‘two facedness’. (Batman 585)
      Poison Ivy = Timid botanist abused by her insane lover and turned into a plant lady. (Hot House)
      Penguin = A weird looking runt who gets bullied by all and sundry. (Pain & Prejudice, amongst many others)
      Maxie Zeus = History teacher who’s wife divorces him. (Not sure TBH, that’s just the version I know of)
      Harley Quinn = Promising psychiatrist who is warped and twisted by The Joker. (Mad Love)
      Firefly = Unloved orphan. (Knightfall)
      Dr. Phosphorus = ‘Murdered’ by Rupert Thorne & co. (Strange Apparitions)
      Bane = Born in prison, had to be a badass in order to survive. (Batman vs Bane)
      Mad Hatter = Took tablets (new version) that made him crazy. (Current run of The Dark Knight)
      Ventriloquist = Slave to his puppet (one of the Showcase comics from the 90’s, I forget which one), but not actually a bad person.
      Clayface (Preston Payne) = Has to kill people or he will die himself.

      As I said earlier, I am legitimately glad you enjoyed the annual, because it’d be a boring world if we all agreed on everything. πŸ™‚ I just prefer my villains to have a bit of pathos. Even Croc & Grundy just want to be left alone, they aren’t purely evil. Its what makes them more interesting, in my opinion.

      We have Zsasz, Riddler, Calendar Man, Cornelius Stirk, The Spook and others who just live to f*ck shit up, but that sense of pathos, I feel, was lost with Freeze during this run. It relegated him, in a sense, from a relatable character to a heartless psychopath. That turned me off. Also that costume was all kinds of stupid.

    • @Itho
      Apologies all around. What u typed really rubbed me the wrong way. Generally when people are being playful on the Internet, they throw a winking smiley face in there for good measure. The absence of that led me to jump the gun and assume the worst. Usually I’m more clever in situations like this and use intellectual discourse to make my points, but sometimes I can be a real hothead. Friends?
      Mr Freeze…
      This being the new 52 , I think they missed a real opportunity to give us the absolute best Freeze they could. The one everyone seems to love the most and yes, he’s always been psychotic and/or deranged, but they missed a chance to make him just a little more than that and instead opted to make him similar to all the other Batman rouges.

      @Deepspace
      Your personal beliefs are not the issue here and it was wrong of me to bring them up in a completely inappropriate fashion. All apologies.

    • @APoetSomeday, I see your points and acknowledge them. I thought I was the only one who remembered Cornelius Stirk! Kudos for the Bat-Bibliography, very impressive. I’ll reread that Annual and see if my view on it changes, I doubt it will but I’ll look for the some of the things you pointed out.

      @Sitara119, friends. Sometimes I use phrases which I find funny or witty but are commonly used in other ways I’m unaware of.We’re square. Jeez, now who’s being EMOtional? πŸ™‚

    • @ Sitara – You are a veritable prince among men. πŸ™‚

    • God, I love this forum. We’re all so grown up! lol.

      @Itho – Thanks, I totally respect your take on it as well. You too are a prince.

      …And no, sir. You are not the only one who desperately wants the infallibly polite-yet-brutally-homicidal little troll that is dear old Mr. Stirk back in their reading lives! He’s a cannibal, for god sake! Batman vs a Cannibal is impossibly AWESOME.

      In fact, he’s a cannibal TELEPATH, no less. He’s another great Grant/Breyfogle character (like Zsasz, Amygdala and others of that era). I’m holding my breath for a comeback.

      Did you ever read that issue where the big shot writer was interviewing Stirk in Arkham and Stirk was planning to kill him the entire time? He was just building the writer’s fear level up subtly so that his heart would taste better? Fuck me, that was terrifying.

    • @APoetSomeday, I thank you. You Are A Gentleman And A Scholar!

      In an ideal world, all of Batman’s rogues are awesome. Calender Man, Crazy Quilt, the Rat Catcher, Humpty and Dumpty, Killer Moth; all of them dark, twisted, and compelling in their own way. Calender Man realler shined in Arkham City so hopefully he makes a comeback in the comics in a similar manner.

      I don’t know if I read that specific story, my first experiance with Stirk was during Knightfall but for some reason that interview story sounds familiar. I’ve gone through most of the books at my local library and its hard to keep track what I read where. I’ll look for it tho, it sounds inticing.

    • @apoet Every Batman fan needs to read Gothic like yesterday. Classic shit

    • @Itho
      Now that’s funny and well played, sir. πŸ™‚

      @Poet
      You truly are a gentleman and a scholar. You clearly possess a vast knowledge of the Bat mythos. Your magnanimous commentary is obviously well-thought out and pleasant to absorb. You also recommend great reading material and provide me with the occasional gem that I had no idea existed by various beloved creators. Keep up the good work. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks guys for all the info, commentary, and suggestions. I’ll be checking back in to see who liked the issue.

    • @sitara119 Its fine. I get it.

    • Thanks so much, both of you! I’m actually blushing.

      @Sitara – I’m by no means a Bat-expert, but he is my favorite superhero and I have worked hard to track down as many of his classic adventures as possible. If I can turn people on to some forgotten classics occasionally, then I’m only too happy to do so (just don’t go outbidding me on eBay! lol).

      Seriously, DC are quite bad when it comes to archives of great runs, so tracking these things down on eBay or whatever is the best way. Batman has been generally good throughout his history and there are a lot of great stories there.

      @Itho – You’re absolutely right – when written correctly, most of Batman’s enemies are great. Calendar Man was beautifully twisted in ‘Long Halloween’ & ‘Dark Victory’, but he was used well before then also. Doug Moench did a great job with him in the 80’s, for example. Then again, Doug Moench did a great job with everybody he wrote.

      Crazy Quilt was a bad dude in the 80’s as well. There’s an issue (its Detective 535 – after Dick Grayson permanently blinds him) that he goes after Robin (Jason Todd) and very nearly kills him! I used to think that Crazy Quilt was a stupid villain, but then I had this great idea for a story about him and all of a sudden the character made perfect sense to me. He’s an acquired taste is all. I drew a mean fanart of him a few weeks back.

      Oh, I double checked, The Cornelius Stirk story I mentioned takes place in ‘Shadow of the Bat’ 46 – 47. Its by Alan Grant.

      The sad truth is that ever since I was a little boy I’ve always wanted to write comics. I work as a professional writer, but its freelance stuff that rarely enables me to stretch out my creative muscles. I’m going to submit a spec script to a couple of companies once my current workload dies down a bit, though. One of my lifelong dreams is to take a shot at The Dark Knight Detective one day. It is, therefore, in my best interests to be as expert as I can make myself.

      I’ve really dug the hell out of this thread. iFanboy is a great site and you are all great people.

  15. I love Harper Row. yup said it. I hope she becomes Robin. you guys with your cool to hate edginess lol

    • I would love Harper to be Robin too. I don’t get this stereotyping her as an “emo” or anything of the sort. We don’t know enough about her to classify her as anything. Scott Snyder is a fantastic writer and I think we’d get some rich character development. Tomasi would strike gold with her too.

    • I like Harper too. Batman’s always been full of orphans, Harper adds a little diversity. I think she might come off annoying because she’s a little bit of a mess. She’s smart and acts older than she is but still has the inevitable naivete of a kid without guidance. The way she is overconfident, even bratty at times reminds me of Damian, and how people didn’t like him at first. She also reminds me of Izabel in Saga, who is another great character. People also get annoyed with Harper in Batman because they get annoyed whenever Batman isn’t just running around doing Batman stuff. Harper’s not a show-stoppa, but she’s a good supporting character.

    • I do really like Harper too. I don’t know, I think she is cool. I love how smart she is with tech stuff.

  16. JML (@twitter.com/JoshMLabelle) says:

    Genuinely do not know what to make of this. It was alright. Don’t know if I’ll pick up the next one.

    • If Snyder and Capoullo didn’t have the track record that they normally do I probably wouldn’t continue on this.

    • Comics and books are treated very differently. I remember reading Justice League #1 (my first monthly comic) and seeing fans say they’d drop the book after that one issue. I was so confused, how could they know the story was going to be good or bad based off of the first issue in a story arc? It seemed like reading a single chapter in a book and judging the entire book based off of that small amount they’ve read. Not saying you can’t do that, but like the court of owls, the story took more than a single issue to get off the ground.

    • @deepspace 1. The first issue of the Court was better then this and more intriguing. Obviously part of that is because it was the first issue of a new series but also because it was more intriguing. Same the first issue of Death of the Family and the Clayface Arc.
      2. Comic books cost between 2.99-3.99 per issue. If I was going to pay that per chapter in a book I would never read them. Most of my favorite books would cost between $60-$80 and dude I love Cormac McCarthy and Jonathan Frazen but there is no way in hell I’m paying that much for one of there books.
      3. Maybe this is just me but as someone that has read there fair share of books (English Minor) I can pretty much tell if I want to read it after the first chapter based on the writing style. In fact I get pretty mad if I don’t pick up and that until later on in the book.

    • JML (@twitter.com/JoshMLabelle) says:

      Yeah, you can kind of get the vibe or spirit of a story from the first issue. With a lot of the Marvel Now titles, for example, it wasn’t until the second issue that they really kicked into gear and found an identity. (New Avengers being the best example.) I suppose that could be the case here. I’ll give it another issue so long as it doesn’t come out on a particularly heavy week.

    • @phess1 thanks for the input. I’m a big book reader too, and I’ll admit the four dollar comic can hurt considering I can get a full paperback novel for around eight bucks. I always felt like the four buck is worth it for Capullo’s art alone. I believe the art is one of the big reasons why I’m willing to spend money on expensive comics. I also enjoy the big stories, and while four bucks a chapter seems steep, its always been worth the price for Snyder’s big stories.

  17. I thought this was a wonderful set up. Everything I want out of a first issue of a big story. The pacing was good and the art was beautiful! Capullo and Albuquerque tore it up!

  18. Pretty good story, kind of wish I hadn’t read the previews on the various sites. Love how Snyder is interweaving the Riddler now, very cool.

    Art 5/5
    Story 5/5

  19. I’ve read this issue twice now and I genuinely really enjoyed it both times.

    I loved the idea of the flooded subway, as well as the triumphant return of Batman’s purple gloves! (Bat-historians amongst you — exalt!). Phillip Kane is an interesting character as well. I also liked the various nods to Morrison’s ‘Return of Bruce Wayne’ series, as well as the ‘Batman Begins-isms’ that were peppered throughout.

    The artwork was (as usual) superb and Snyder’s dense captions and overall ‘wordiness’ (something I’ve been slightly critical of in the past) were eschewed in favor of a more fluid visual storytelling style. All of this is positive.

    Now, the area I was most worried about was ‘Zero Year’s effect on continuity. I know, I know, but it matters to me. In that respect, we’re actually fine so far. Lucius Fox worked for Thomas Wayne? OK, why not? Young Bruce meets him in Paris (as seen in ‘Haunted Knight’), but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have worked for Thomas first.

    My only real problems (so far) are:

    a) If The Red Hood turns out to be The Joker, then we could be effectively seeing the removal of ‘Year One’ ‘The Killing Joke’ and ‘The Man Who Laughs’ from continuity (and that would just be wrong).
    b) No way would Alfred allow Wayne Manor to fall into disrepair, unless he’s been away…And if so, where has he been? (Presumably not to London to visit the Queen). He even cleaned up there during the Penthouse years, if you remember.
    c) If Harvey Dent becomes ‘Two Face’ during this story, then ‘Long Halloween’ and ‘Dark Victory’ are out as well. I’ll actually get mad about that. These are quality books that new readers are reading, it’ll turn people off if they don’t matter anymore.

    So far, both chapters fit comfortably between the pages of ‘Year One’. So far, I’m happy. Roll on next issue.

    • Everyone else (save GLs) were forced to do a total reboot and the Bat-World should be no exception. In fact of all the DC families that needed a reboot, it was the Bat World. Very little makes sense given the 5 year time frame. Given the 5 (now 6) year time frame, it’s still ridiculous to think Batman fostered 3 “real” Robins and a Red one, at least not without significant overlap between all of them.

      Since we know most of the other Bat Family titles will be doing cross-overs, this now sounds like we’re going to be firmly establishing the New 52’s Bat Continuity.

      We know the Joker shot and paralyzed Barbra, that’s stated in her comic and the TPB has been out for a long time (so DC can’t ex post facto retcon anything (at least not easily)).

      Those stories that you love still matter. They matter to YOU. You love and enjoy them. Just because they aren’t canon any more doesn’t mean they are worthless or meaningless. They are still apart of the rich tapestry that was the Post-Crisis Continuity.

    • The thing is, on a personal level, I don’t feel that Batman does need a reboot. Synder said as much in September of 2011. In fact, he’s escaped most reboots almost completely unscathed. The character is truly timeless.

      There are minor changes, background changes, character changes and so on, but the essential history of the character still remains intact. This is one reason why his sales are always strong. Readers always know where they stand with Batman. In fact, its one reason why I stopped reading Marvel, because if I missed three months of Marvel’s books I’d be completely lost and have no idea what was going on.

      My overall point, Scarlet, is this:

      DC made a big bru ha ha before ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ movie came out, saying: “If you liked the movie, go read ‘Batman: Year One’ ‘The Killing Joke’ ‘The Long Halloween’ ‘The Man Who Laughs’ and ‘Knightfall’ (amongst others)”, all were explicitly referred to in the Nolan film series. Fans will find a synergy between those books and the movies that may well keep the characters familiar. When I started reading Batman as a child, I was totally familiar with the characters due to their appearances in TAS and the 60’s Batman series. Familiarity is very, very important for gaining new readers.

      In addition, several of the works I mentioned are books that I hold up to comics skeptics as great examples of graphic literature. We comics readers can point to ‘Watchmen’ ‘Dark Knight Returns’ ‘Year One’ & ‘Killing Joke’ et al as examples of great art. However, imagine now trying to turn a potential fan onto them by saying “Yeah, go read Killing Joke, its great, but it didn’t happen anymore”. Then you have to explain why and the whole argument topples. Comics come across as dense and complicated, which is something ‘The New 52’ has tried desperately hard to avoid.

      Finally, whilst I’m not having a go at you, I really hate the phrase “If it matters to you, then it still matters” it is remarkably condescending. I am aware that my Wally West Flash stories didn’t shimmer and disappear like a McFly family photo with the onset of ‘The New 52’ and Barry’s return. Really, I am. Please give me some credit.

      I appreciate what you’re saying and I agree that personal continuity is important to all comics readers, but I think the landmark books need to be left in place.

      If only from a sales perspective, replacing all those big selling trades with one story is a bad move.

    • I agree with APoetSomeday about every point made.

      What’s frustrating is the “five year” conceit doesn’t need to exist and seems to only confuse matters further. Court of Owls and Death OF the Family are actually much better stories WITHOUT the conceit.

    • I ignore the five year thing as well. There’s no way Bats had a 10-year-old son in five years. He’s been at this a very long time and DC editorial just needs to deal with it.

    • DC made a big bru ha ha because they wanted to generate sales of products that they knew would sell very well. All those stories have always sold well and will continue to do so into the future because they are, as you say, works of art.

      You yourself claim that when you got into comics, you knew who the character of Batman was based on The Animated Series and the 60β€²s Batman show yet those are not canon by any stretch of the imagination. Yes they helped familiarize you with the basic lore but they are completely worthless to your knowledge of the Post-Crisis Batman character. Yet you treasure those memories, right? Reading old comics is the same. They enrich your personal experience even though they are not canon.

      A neophyte to the world of comics isn’t going to care about canon. All he wants are the best stories. He’s already very familiar with the reboot conceit as the 60’s show is separate from the Super Friends, which is separate from the four 90’s Live Action movies, which are separate from the Timmverse, which is separate from The Batman, which is separate from Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which is separate from the Nolan Bat flicks, which are separate from the Arkham games, which are separate than the new DC animated movies, which are separate from Young Justice, which is separate from Injustice: Gods Among Us, which is separate from the (yet to be announced) new Batman films.

      In fact, I think the neophyte would be far more accustomed to the idea of different stories being delineated by separate (yet similar) universes than we avid comic book fans are. The new comic book reader isn’t going to assign value to what is and isn’t currently considered canon, all he cares about is finding the best Batman stories out there because they all contribute to the zeitgeist of Batman that runs around in his head.

      To the VAST majority of the populace, Year One, The Long Halloween and the Killing Joke contribute nothing to the Batman lore because they are completely unknown to them. Batman is what comes out on TV and in Film. The comic version of Batman is silly, obtuse, contradictory and very strange.

      Personally, I have never understood why people cling to Year One. It is a great story, yes, but it is not the original story. It is a facsimile invented after Crisis on Infinite Earths. It blends parts of the original Batman (from Earth Two) and the newer Silver Age Batman (from Earth One). It is a complete construct, taking the best of what came before to create something unique. Zero Year is absolutely the same. The difference is that the majority of fans got over the Crisis reboot decades ago, while fans of this era are still coming to terms with the Flashpoint reboot.

      You can posit that the 5 year construct does not exist but regardless, it does. DC owns the character and DC makes up the rules when it comes to official canon. Your own construct of who and what Batman is, does not have to be limited by what DC says. In fact it shouldn’t (I know mine isn’t). Batman is who you believe him to be. However, the stories we are going to be reading from this point on will adhere to DC’s vision of canon (whether we like it or not). Those stories are not going to be as enjoyable if we constantly dag all the baggage from the past with us. At some point we need to make a mental break and just read these Batman stories for what they are – Batman in a new universe. This is no different than watching a new Batman movie or playing a new Batman game. New universe, slightly altered history, same great character.

      To me, Batman is everything I’ve enjoyed over the years, from Year One, to No Man’s Land, to the Killing Joke, to the Timmverse, to the Adam West Batman show, to the New 52, to comics from the 50’s and 60’s. My Batman is who I say he is, even if the journey I took with him skipped around a hundred different similar-but-different universes.

    • This is Batman and its like the Bible: sure make a new translation, says mostly the same thing, a few changes, basic story and timeline are the same, PEOPLE ARE INFATUATED with what it says…but when it gets changed and the pieces don’t fit anymore and you’re throwing out epistles or proverbs because they no longer fit because of an edit, then we all lose. We no longer talk about the same Batman: its your Batman vs mine, and a lot of us dont like that, we like the history. We can agree to fudge around with the changes, but when Damian doesn’t fit?? Or Barbara never gets shot?? Tim was never Robin? And then creators pick and choose?? It all gets pretty lame. Batman didn’t need a reboot, look at the sales, and everyone knows the basic story already anyhow from said games, movies, shows, ect. There has always been plenty to add on to the cornerstone that is Batman, they’ve been doing it for YEARS.

    • @Scarlet. I appreciate the point you are making. I even agree to some extent. However, I would say that the comics carry with them a sense of heritage and prestige that the TV shows, movies and games do not. Comics are the definitive Batman stories and everybody, comics fan or not, knows that.

      As a child, I understood that the TV show differed from the comics, but that the story was always essentially the same. The origin gives you all you need to know, now go enjoy the story. In that sense, you can read ‘The Batman Adventures’ TAS tie-in comic alongside any other books of that era and they work fine. TAS works fine when read with the books and The 60’s show is a straight adaptation of that era’s comics.

      Don’t get me wrong, I understand that revisions are constantly necessary in the comics world. Comics readers, retailers, publishers and creators are in completely uncharted territory when it comes to the crafting of these modern myths. There have never been characters in continual publication, month in, month out, for the 70+ year timespan that we’re now dealing with for certain DC comics characters. These characters and their stories need to stay fresh and relatable to a contemporary audience. New things need to happen to the cast, new villains need to be created to challenge and perplex the audience. New generations need to be reflected and their interests/obsessions catered for. I believe in all of these things. If you read my other comments elsewhere on this site you’ll see that I, like you, am a fan of multiple eras and incarnations of The Batman and that I understand them as such.

      BUT:

      So far, almost all of those changes have been made respectfully (and while we’re at it, I’m not suggesting that Snyder is not respectful). Also: don’t explain how the Silver Age of comics or ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ works to me. Please. Read my other comments, I know my Batman. Anyway, WAC1 is absolutely right, if you change too much over too short a time period, it’ll need rebooting with every other issue. If you remove the ‘custodian’ element from the comics, the link in the grand chain, as it were, then every single writer/artist will just do their own, singular interpretation of the character. That sounds good in the short term, but it will fail us all in the long term because people simply won’t care when all is said and done. A serial depends on the episodes that came before it, that’s how they work. They are snapshots.

      Why do you think the ‘Amazing Spider Man’ movie got such a mixed reaction? People were no longer invested in it, that’s why. They now know it’ll be rebooted in a couple of years and that the story simply won’t matter anymore. It’ll likely be the same with the next ‘Batman’ movie, I’m sorry to say.

      The landmark stories (Death in the Family, Killing Joke, Knightfall, Batman Reborn et al) are all important because something monumental happened in them. Something big, exciting and ultimately lasting. People read them to see HOW it happened, not just because they are great books.

      If you can always just ‘reboot your problems away’ then writers will just keep killing off major characters, turning good guys bad and wrecking the sense of heritage that I spoke of earlier. The end result is that nobody will ultimately care. No story will have any gravitas to it. Put our heroes in jeopardy with no threat of death, for example, and there’s no sense of danger, no risk and therefore no interest.

      Finally, I do not hate ‘Zero Year’, nor do I hate ‘The New 52’ and I will not hate this story it if it fails to fit with the rest of my comics collection (although I will be annoyed that even the comics I have from the 1950’s do actually fit, yet the ones from 2013 don’t. Yes, that will annoy me and I have the right to be annoyed about it if it happens). Like ‘Year One’ perhaps ‘Zero Year’ is a “necessary revision” (to quote Denny O’Neil), but if too much is altered, then there won’t be as much to go back to next time.

      Now, I believe this whole thread started when I said that continuity matters to me. It doesn’t have to matter to you. In fact, you wrote that if it matters to me, then that’s all that matters (or words to that effect). So yeah, it matters to me. If personal opinion is all that ultimately counts, then why are you upset that I’m worried this story won’t fit in canon? Surely that’s my concern? Also: If all we ever need these days is our own personal canon and this story doesn’t fit in MY personal canon…Do I not have a right to be annoyed?

      On Chuck Dixon’s website, he has this whole blog about not doing any permanent damage to the characters you write. He likens it to playing with toys. You play with your toys, have your fun, then put them back the way you found them for the next kid to play with. That sums up exactly how I feel on this issue.

      I respect where you’re coming from, but, if I may be so bold, perhaps you should consider the bigger picture here. There is a legacy to maintain. People who are concerned are not just luddites stuck in the past, they care for and love the character and his world. People who cheer the new (regardless of its actual merits) are not the street smart, early adopting hipsters who ‘know the score’, there is more at stake in both camps. Both viewpoints are necessary, moderation is key. There is, as ever, a delicate balance to keep. Peace.

    • @apoet Would you feel differently about Zero Year if it ended up being better then Year One? I recently got married and I have been thinking about becoming a father lately and as with all things that I think about that intersected with comic’s (the look on my bosses face two years ago when he saw a 25+ person list that me and my co-worker and I had done representing NBA players and there archetype to superhero’s might have been a low point) and if they do decide to go over my collection how will they approach continuity. My thoughts on New 52 are similar to some of the Ultimate Marvel stuff in that it’s a great starting point and you can look at that as the beginning with all the other stuff taking place after Ultimate and/or New 52 but this a little bit more difficult with Batman now that we have Zero Year. More over another thing that struck me was how Morrison’s run on Batman seems to take place within New 52 continuity but then if that’s the case how much further back does that go? Am I rambling? I think I am but I’m normally in the “fuck continuity” camp, most of the time emphatically, but you make some excellent points. I guess I would go back to my original question? If this is in fact better then Year One (and for many it might be depending on how you feel about Frank Miller. I will not be one those many) does that make it better for you and do you look at the idea of continuity differently?

    • That’s a very good question. I thought I was done with this thread, but I really wanted to answer you and tell you a story (as long as you don’t mind, that is).

      In my lifetime (I was born in ’85), ‘Year One’ has been the definitive origin. However, that’s not why I rate the book so highly. I just happen to feel that ‘Year One’ is the best Batman origin I’ve read. If ‘Zero Year’ did turn out to be better, then maybe I’d replace it in my continuity. I’d still be annoyed if it eliminated the other books I’ve mentioned, for the reasons stated above.

      As we all know, the original origin made no mention of Alfred or the Batcave, two elements that are now indispensable parts of Batman’s creation myth. The origin can be improved upon, like anything else. But, at this point, it would take a minor miracle to do so. Anyway, by the looks of things, ‘Zero Year’ will be covering (mostly) different ground than ‘Year One’ and that will work fine for me. But it was a very good question. I hope I answered it.

      Now, the story: The other day my girlfriend and I were in our local comics store. She was going away for the weekend and so I was treating myself to a few new books to keep myself out of trouble while she was away (I picked up some back issues of ‘Manhattan Projects’ ‘It Girl’ and ‘Detective Comics’ – Just in case you were interested). Anyway, there was this stoned, washed-out looking loser plodding around the comics, just staring into space. This is actually pretty unusual as my LCS is a fashionable high street chain and not a dingy comics dungeon (the kind I’ve always been embarrassed to enter).

      Anyway, the tragic thing about this man was not his own lack of personality, but the presence of his son. This boy, who couldn’t have been older than 8 years old, was constantly badgering his dope-addled Dad, clearly excited by all the comics around him. He was bright and articulate, a really nice kid. “Dad, is this one any good?” he’d yell from the other side of the store. “Look, Dad! Batman!” He’d gleam, smiling and pointing. “Dad, remember the X-Men from the cinema!? They have a Wolverine comic here!” The boy was so enthusiastic and bright-eyed that I almost went up to him and helped him choose some books. I’d have even bought them for him if there wasn’t a social stigma against doing things like that these days.

      His Dad, for his part, simply grunted, or else ignored the boy completely. The bloated pothead picked up a slew of books and shuffled upstairs to pay, his child got nothing. The boy’s disappointment was obvious, but he held it in like a pro.

      My girlfriend and I looked at each other and we both shook our heads. “If I had a kid like that who dug the X-Men and wanted to come to the comics store with me, I’d be the happiest man in the world” I said. We’ve talked about having kids off and on, but we’re not in that place yet, (and I’m convinced I’d make a lousy father) but at that moment, the thought of picking my boy (or girl) up from school on Wednesday afternoon and flocking to the comics store with them in tow made me feel very happy indeed. It was a really nice thought and it made me think differently about fatherhood.

      Anyway, that’s the story I wanted to share with you. There’s no real moral to it other than ‘I’m 99% certain you wouldn’t be a dick like that guy was”. So yeah, I dunno what you think about all that, but as somebody who is thinking of being a parent someday soon, I thought it may strike a chord or two. Draw whatever conclusion from it you wish. Personally, when I think about fatherhood and weigh up the Pros and Cons, that memory always sits firmly in the ‘Pros’ section.

    • That’s kind of a sad story, and but for the grace of God, could be mine (and there’s still time) my son is 3 and loves nothing more than Batman. I have my books all collected for him for when he’s older, read lots of them to him, and give him some doubles he can step on/ destroy what have you. @phess1 your question was interesting, and actually one I’ve thought of. I just want him to enjoy whatever I have and give him the largest possible library to peruse (ironically mostly Batman and X-Men, anything Alan Moore-I was born in 83 what do you expect.) Anyways its great and everytime he calls me “Joker” and hits me, or says I’m Robin and he’s Batman, it reminds me how fun comic books really are. Thank you for the story Poet, I needed that.

    • Wow! These discussions take days, but its amazing where they go. It has been very enjoyable and thought provoking on so many levels. Thank you all and I hope you enjoy your weekends.

    • They really are very enjoyable discussions. I love how people can have opposing viewpoints and still be respectful on here. It is actually very rare.

      WAC, your story about your son was much better and more affecting than my story about a stranger’s kid. Bless and damn you in equal measure (lol). I often think of letting my kid go nuts on a complete collection of comics one day (when she or he is old enough to appreciate them, that is). I also have a vast array of classic albums that I’d love to introduce a little’un to one day, the same way my Dad got me into a lot of music.

      In a funny way, my Dad got me into comics as well, because he was always talking to me about the comics he read as a kid and always nicking my books and reading them. His childhood fave was ‘Superboy’ or ‘Superman’ he liked both. He even had the very first issue of ‘Daredevil’ if you can believe that. Occasionally, just to be a dick, I look up how much that comic is worth and remind him that my Nan gave it away. Nyuk Nyuk. I’m giving him my free ‘All Star Superman’ one-shot as an extra Father’s Day gift because I think he’ll enjoy the ‘Silver Age’ feel of it (and also because I have the trade).

      When I was a kid, every Saturday morning my Dad, my brother and I would refuse to leave the house until we’d watched the ‘X-Men’ and ‘Spider Man’ cartoons together. Good times. Comics brings (good) parents closer to their kids and (smart) kids closer to their parents. πŸ™‚

      I won’t enjoy my weekend too much, I’m afraid. I have a pretty big writing workload to get through because in the middle of the week I am going (with my Dad and brother) to see Springsteen. Rock n Roll, bringing kids closer to their parents and blah blah blah.

    • PS – You’re welcome πŸ˜€

    • @apoet: That story is fucked up. I hate people that have kids and truly shouldn’t be a father. My advice; next time buy the issues for the kid. At my old job I used to give away single issues and trades I didn’t want to a single mom that had a kid with Asbergers. Made me feel great every time I gave them up. Speaking of Fathers day gifts my dad was never into comics. Always more of a sports guy which is where I get that from. (instead giving away Daredevil my grandma thought out the Mikey Mantle Rookie card) But we both love dog and with that I was able to get him the “My Dog the Paradox” hardcover comic from the Oatmeal that he loved so there’s always a way for the medium to reach different people.
      @thewac: I think you are my twin brother that got taken from the hospital by accident or something. Where you born in Columbus Ohio?

    • Haha πŸ™‚ I was born in Columbus Ohio! Just kidding :). I’m from this town of about 100k right between San Francisco and Sacramento CA. I got a cousin out there though in Cleveland. It’s been nice being knowing theres people on this site who can relate and are interested in some of the same comics. Congrats on the marriage and good luck with the baby making, I’m sure I’ll be talking with you soon.

    • You too my dude although I left Ohio when before I turned one so you’ve probably been there more than I have. Great rap scene out there in the Bay Area.

    • Wow, well, I’ve already wasted about an hour reading through this thread at work drinking coffee so I might as well spend a little longer.

      I can see both sides of the continuity discussion. I felt the same way @poet does when the reboot was announced in 2011. I was outraged. All of my favorite Bat titles were ending and it would all be different in September. Stephanie Brown was no longer Batgirl? And Babs could walk again? What!? I was really mad about that one. But…..eventually I got over it.

      Now I agree more with @Scarlett-Batman. I just learned to enjoy the stories. Stephanie Brown still was Batgirl in my collection. And she was Robin. Despite DC saying they never happened. They do still exist to me.

      These reboots are going to happen every so many years. And I can kind of see why they do it. I mean imagine having to write a new Joker story when no reboots ever happened. So I would need to read every single Joker appearance dating back to the 1930s before I start to make sure I don’t screw anything up? I mean how much freedom as a writer would I have? That would be nearly impossible. Now they really only need to go back to every Joker appearance since 2011. And some key stories like The Killing Joke.

      Even stories like the Batman Annual which retold Mr.Freeze’s origin I enjoyed. Yeah, it wasn’t the same old Mr.Freeze origin that we all know, but how much fun would that be to read anyway? We have all read it already. This one was different. And surprising!! Holy cow, when I read it and saw how different his origin was with his ‘wife’ I had to turn to MY wife and tell her all about it. Very cool. The thing is, these stories are real and they will exist, forever. Even in 20-40 years when they reboot again and create a completely different Mr. Freeze origin for a new generation. I will still enjoy my Batman Annal Mr.Freeze origin from the New 52. Just like I still enjoy my old Mr.Freeze stories from years past. And yes DC, I will enjoy my Stephanie Brown Batgirl series. And Cassandra Cain Batgirl series.

      What I really enjoy is good stories and story arcs. I was able to get over the whole continuity problem. If I hadn’t I would already be locked away in an insane asylum from trying to make sense of continuity in comic books. I’d rather spend my free time enjoying the good stories than wasting my precious free time trying to figure out continuity. But that’s just me.

    • @Dan – With respect. The “same old Mr. Freeze origin” as you call it, is actually a product of Paul Dini’s tenure as writer on the 90’s ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ TV show. It was never 100% incorporated into comics continuity. The story is arguably best referenced in LOTDK’s ‘Snow’ by Dan Curtis Johnson, J.H Williams III and Seth Fisher, but was never reproduced entirely.

      Mr. Freeze actually began life as ‘Mr. Zero’, but had a name change after he appeared in the 1960’s ‘Batman’ TV series. Originally, he’s just a nutter with an ice gun. Hopefully, you see my problems with what you just wrote and how they relate to your argument as a whole.

      1) A revision should only be implemented if it ADDS TO the existing continuity. The Paul Dini origin greatly improved Mr. Freeze as a character, therefore it was a good thing. I would argue that the new origin was more about tying the character in to the ‘Court of Owls’ storyline as opposed to actually bringing anything fresh to his motivations as a villain. You liked it. I didn’t – and that’s fine. We can disagree about it and that’s a healthy thing.
      2) I’m sorry, but yes, if you are writing about something, you need to do your research. I am a professional writer and I make my living this way. Trust me. All writers who write a character like Batman should have a sense of the character’s history and place within our culture. Most do. Go back and read that shit. That is what it is there for. You don’t have to follow it, but you do need to know it. Writers like Mark Waid and Grant Morrison have forgotten more about these characters than you or I will ever know. Its a matter of professionalism.

      If writer A gets the job doing a Mr. Freeze story and doesn’t know what’s gone before, who wrote what and why, he/she will quite possibly just repeat older stories, jumble continuity and tell a story that doesn’t make much sense. That’s what ‘Elseworlds’ or ‘All Star’ was for, that way you can tell a story unencumbered by continuity, should you need to.

      Without continuity, a serial medium WILL NOT WORK.

      Once more, just to reiterate. I do not hate the reboot. In fact, it re-ignited my interest in many characters that I thought I was done with (Aquaman, for example). I do not hate Snyder. In fact, I have defended him several times when others have bashed him. I do not hate ‘Zero Year’ – how can I? Its one issue old.

      All I’m saying is that a sense of continuity and legacy is VITAL to comics if they are to survive. Also, yeah, it enhances MY personal enjoyment of a story. I LIKE figuring out continuity. Maybe that means that I’m “wasting my precious free time” or maybe I just enjoy it.

      The New 52 continuity, admittedly, isn’t very strong, but they do have one and it influences the stories we read. Hopefully, ZY will strengthen that continuity a little bit, but please understand that I am talking from my own personal viewpoint as a fan when I say that I will be disappointed in the story IF it doesn’t fit.

      As a fan of comics in general, I think it would be a disaster to replace several key GNs with one volume. Its my opinion.

      I respect where you and others are coming from, but I don’t happen to agree. Can we leave it there?

    • PS – I’m sorry if this comes off as cranky (I just read it back to myself and it does a little bit). It is not my intention to offend. I’m just tired of defending myself for the crime of caring about continuity in comics. Maybe its all in my head, but that’s how it feels right now. Honestly, I respect where you are all coming from. Sorry if I caused any offense.

    • @Poet: Not offended at all. Just happy somebody actually read what I wrote. πŸ˜‰ I’m usually pretty late posting on my comics that I get as I get my comics in monthly shipments the first week of the month AFTER they come out. And I try and avoid posting on here until after I’ve read it just to prevent me hearing spoilers.

      I totally understand why you would get upset about continuity. I used to feel that way too befrore the new 52 too. But then I just realized there was nothing I could do about it. So I didn’t want to waste anymore energy being upset about it and just decided to enjoy the stories. Especially if they do this kind of reboot every so many years. It will happen again so I choose not to be upset about it. But I do understand where you are coming from and really respect your passion for it.

    • Thanks, that actually means a lot.

      πŸ™‚

    • You bet Poet. πŸ˜‰

  20. Anyone care to chip in a reason as to why Bruce Wayne was keeping himself declared as dead and is in total disregard to his own identity and his fathers legacy?

    • Bruce Wayne is a great name, and with great names comes great power, and with great power comes great responsibility… oh no wait, that’s Spider-man. Nevermind. I have no idea…

      MAYBE SPOILER: Guessing probably has something to do with the conversation he has with his dad, Gotham is a place “where you can be anyone.” Especially not Bruce Wayne. Think he got picked on in school. He’s got some issues…

    • You’re probably right on that one. Bruce Wayne doesn’t have many friends at all at this time.

      Tommy Elliot, Roman Sionis and Lew Moxon’s daughter Mallory are three of his only friends…You’re damn right he has issues! The majority of BW’s childhood friends grew up bad.

  21. Just about dropped everything, and thinking of “starting over” with Batman and Superman yet again.

    This may be a perfect jumping-on point.

  22. Fan-fucking-tastic issue!

    Loved the tiny changes in Bruce’s life and how he starts off his vigilante career. There’s a great intro with Batman rocking the Purple gloves! That’s twice Snyder starts off a new story this month with a bizarre, yet intriguing opening. Gets a tiny bit wordy with Bruce’s Uncle later on but still a great read all around. Then the art by Capullo! He is tearing it up with this run and I think the change to Danny Miki as inker helped him a lot. Loved how he paced the opening sequence with Batman and then the beginning flashback with the Red Hood.

    The back up by Tynion and Albuquerque shouldn’t be ignored either. Great way to give us how Bruce learned to avoid police and then the art caps it off with some really beautiful looking vistas.

    What a way to start this year long journey. I hope we’re gonna get this kind of effort for the entire story and I’m sure we will with this team on board.

    5/5 (POTW)

  23. I’m all for an entirely new origin, with Year One, Killing Joke, etc no longer in continuity. Those books will always remain on my shelves, but trying to shoehorn them into the new 52 just bogs it down.

  24. tripleneck tripleneck (@tripleneck) says:

    I guess I really don’t care anymore how Bruce became Batman. I feel like I’ve read too many of those kind of stories already and I’d really rather read more of his adventures in the current continuity.

    • Amen. I’m really bummed out. With this going for a year, and Inc ending, Tec is the only alternative and I’ve been on the fence with it. Maybe its just me, but sort of a bad time to be a Batman fan. Lots of good X-Men books though πŸ™‚

  25. A decent opening issue but that back up was unnecessary and tacky. I’d much prefer just an extended issue of the main story.

    • I actually liked the back up better but mostly for Albuquerque drawing Brazil.

    • I think all of the backups in Zero Year are going to be used to showcase where Bruce learned his skills.

    • Yeah that sounds like a really cool idea. One aspect of Batman Mythology that I haven’t explored but would certainly find interesting. In fact I would get a whole trade pb of just that if it was Snyder and Albuquerque

    • @phess did you read the first arc of New 52 Batman and Robin? It deals a lot with Bruce learning from Henry(?) Ducard and is very good.

    • That’s actually one of my favorite stories of the new 52. I did like the Ducard stuff a lot but what really stuck out to me about that arc was how Damien was still this child that was walking a very thin line between becoming a sociopath or a human that can feel empathy for other living things. I think that’s actually a very real thing for some kids in there early life that rarely if ever gets explored. I’m pretty bitter about how that series has been crossing over after that arc. The issue dealing with Damiens death is amazing but I think there was a lot more to explore about that aspect of Damien that I mentioned above and his relationship to Bruce and that whole idea has been basically abandoned to accommodate stories in Batman and Batman Inc. In short thanks Bob Harras

    • It’s one of mine too, and it was sad to see that series go downhill after that arc. All the dynamics were perfect, excellent tension among all the players, and you’re right when you talk about how the sociopathy of young kids is rarely ever explored, but a very real part of life. The more this new 52 goes the more I’m disappointed in how its panning out. There is so much squandered potential.

    • I do think some of the stuff has gotten better as of late. Giving Lemire Green Arrow and Snyder a Superman book while taking a chance with Ales Kot on Suicide Squad and Jim Starlin on StormWatch has been pretty cool in it’s limited sample size. There’s also some other new names getting shots like Vendetti and Soule so I respect that. With that said it’s come with a bunch of Grade A level fuckery. After reading Marvel the Untold Story I am guessing this has as much to do with Harras and his style of editing and Warner Bro’s taking a greater control of the comics to try and make them more profitable. It’s kind of a shame that while Marvel, Image and Darkhorse are putting out some of the best work they have done in years DC (who for my money was putting out more quality material then all those companies were combined a few years ago) has seemed to go the other way.

    • I heard about the Bob Harras comic syndrome and its tragic. Suicide Squad is getting a shot (thanks for telling me where to start), and Soule’s Swamp Thing too. Snyder’s Swamp Thing lost me fast after he started looking like an armored-out Superhero and then Rotworld…this new run seems like its gotten back to the roots ( πŸ™‚ ). Hopefully things turn around because Vertigo is the only thing keeping DC’s hand in my piggy bank and that’s a sad state if affairs.

    • Loved Snyders Swamp Thing at first as well but Rot World really killed that and Animal Man for a while. I’ve been liking what Lemire has done on Animal Man post Rot World. What are you reading from Vertigo?

    • I’ve been reading American Vampire since the jump, really liked Wake, giving Astro City a few issues, and will be trying out Trillium…I think that’s it, so not really much there either I guess. Back when there were more titles, I read more, but it seems the creators have always had more freedom to tell deeper, more intelligent stories under Vertigo.

    • Yeah I’m kind of afraid that Vertigo maybe going the way of the Dinosaur but who knows. They have another one coming out in the fall that looks kind of cool as well.

  26. Spoilers. spoilers spoilers spoilers. Spoilers
    Did I miss something? The intro almost made me put the book down it was so WTF?! Mad Max Wayne I thought I was reading Wake again (which I loved by the way). The whole “I don’t want another child having a night like I did” was cliche and didnt speak to the Batman I know and love: I see him more as a guardian than the way that came out. The dialogue and flashbacks were used to set tone and relationship but the flashbacks seemed pointless and were VERY wordy. Whole issue jumped around a lot and pacing felt off. Alfred was written wonderfully though, probably my favorite ever, but then Riddler shows up and I’m left scratching my head. The art of course was out of this world (the ages looked great). I’m sure it will get better, but there was enough of the stuff that I haven’t liked in there plus some to more than outweigh my hope. I know many people will write it off as, “well he’s different because he’s young,” but Miller pulled it off (figured Is throw it in) As much as it pains me, I will not be pulling this monthly. 12 months of this is too much.

  27. Have a lot of faith in this project! Snyder loves slow build-ups, so I guess we just have to wait a little longer for the real sweet stuff.

  28. Read this last night (man was it great) but I’m a little confused…

    At the beginning of the issue, it stated “Six years ago” with what looked like a post-apocalyptic Gotham City, so a year before the New 52 reboot (??). Then the flashback with the Red Hood and his gang stated “Six Months before…”, so, six and a half-years ago? Also, that flashback happened just after the #0 issue, right?

    Can somebody clarify it for me as I’m scratching my head right now?

    • At the time The New 52 started they said that there had been superheroes for about five years, but that Batman had been around a little bit longer in secret. It’s been almost two years since The New 52 started so at this point superheroes have been around for 6 or 7 years which would put this story right about in line with the rough* timeline that DC has established.

      *”Rough” being the operative term because timelines in comic books don’t make any sense, really.

    • Okay. That’s what I thought. What screwed me up a bit was the Batman on a dirt bike roaming in what looked like a post-apocalyptic-straight-out-of-Escape-From-New-York Gotham City, but I trust Snyder and Capullo will develop on that in upcoming issues.

      Thanks for the reply, Conor!

  29. This was great. That’s all I could really think to say.

  30. Bought the first two HCs of Snyder’s run, just based on the good buzz around it.

    Might even buy Tomasi’s first B&R book in TPB.

    Went into the store thinking maybe I’d jump in either Batman or B&R in issues.

    I’ll wait until the public library buys the trade of this next year, because maybe by then I’ll want to read it.

    So… many… words….

    It’ll be great on those long winter nights.

  31. This was really awesome I thought. I’m curious as to what happened or how they fix what is shown in the first few pages. Batman’s dirt bike was pretty cool too. πŸ˜‰

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