Comic Books

BATMAN ANNUAL #2

A special ZERO YEAR tie-in!

Bruce Wayne’s first year as the Dark Knight has just barely begun…and already dangerous elements are coalescing, leading Bruce toward his final destiny.

Written by Scott Snyder
Pencilled by Wes Craig
Inked by Craig Yeung & Drew Geraci
Cover by Jock

Price: $4.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.3%
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  1. Should be interesting…! 🙂

  2. Jock is a master of the composition. He knows how to draw you into the picture and then lays the path for your eyes to travel along. Perfection.

  3. I’m hoping this will be collected with the Zero Year storyline in the eventual trade(s).

    I’ll be reading it then. Hoping it maintains a level of proficiency.

    • I see no reason why it wouldn’t be collected. Along with the upcoming Riddler issue for Villain’s Month, the collection for Zero Year has a lot going for it.

  4. Have a feeling this wont be entirely necessary in the scheme of things so gonna skip it.

  5. Good cover by Jock.

    The last annual didn’t have ANYTHING to do with the Court of Owls story but it was still fun. I expect this to be good even with no Capullo. Wes Craig though, no slouch!

    • It set up Mr. Freeze, who was important to CoO, so it was kind of important.

    • Im hoping this is a better annual because the solicit offers no information and the timing as far as the arc goes doesn’t make sense. Also find it strange that the two main Bat books have their annuals being released the same day. I think I’ll flip through this and decide on Weds.

  6. Here’s an interview with the co-writer and she talks about where it falls in the timeline etc.

    http://www.comicosity.com/interview-marguerite-bennett-plays-the-villains-hand-with-batman/

    • Thanks for the link. Hopefully she is some great new talent. DC can only be held up by Johns, Snyder and Lemire for so long (I think there are other great writers at DC but these three seem to be involved in the majority of higher profile books).

    • @DaninGotham Thanks a bunch. The art looks solid and the story sounds like it has lots of potential. A little one off is exactly what Im looking for.

    • Yeah, I’m really looking forward to this one myself. And I’m curious to see what she does with Lobo during Villains month.

  7. Parri (@pazzatron) says:

    Synder has said that he only helped with story on this, with Marguerite Bennett on writing duties.

  8. I (don’t) like how in the solicitation Marguerite Bennett name isn’t anywhere to be found. Really goes to show how much DC Comics is insecure.

  9. This may not be the right forum but anybody else pissed about last weeks Batman ’66 not having any cool “Magically Changing Art”? No word balloons or sound effects popping into the panels – fucking bullshit! (still a great read but hey, I want some goddamn morphing art!)

    • Well, it’s not like the ad gives us much to talk about other than “awesome Jock cover” or “who the fuck is Wes Craig?” But, I suspect this is the perfect forum to discuss a Batman book. 😉

      I was extremely disappointed. I was in denial at first. Livid for a short period. Then depressed. Most of it’s charm dimmed and faded away. I actually thought there was something wrong with my iPad for a moment. But it was a fill-in artist, right? I still didn’t see why they couldn’t do the word balloons in sequence or contrasting color sound effects.

    • I know dude, I had to double check my comic reader, but then after doing a little research online I saw that it was indeed a digital issue without “Pop-Up Panels”. Sucks cause yeah, a lot of the charm came from that nifty gimmick – but like I said I still enjoyed the story and hey, for 99 cents that’s alright! =)

      And indeed, who the FUCK is Wes Craig? ( Fucking hate annuals )

    • @ ghostmann. No idea what happened with ’66. Guess it was a one-off gimmick?

      And, yeah I have no idea who Wes Craig is… Hopefully somebody good?

    • Wes Craig did an arc in the Legends of the Dark Knight digital series which I personally thought was pretty good. #38-41 digitally.

  10. Is Scott Snyder out there? Don’t particularly feel like dropping $5 on a one-off that’s not directly tied into the story. I thought the Mr. Freeze story last year was fine but it wasn’t blow the doors off awesome and didn’t feel like it was integral to the book moving forward. Can we get a quick pitch why we should grab this?

    The CBR preview was interesting but I’m not sure it looks $5 worth of interesting right now…Sorry if that sounds jerk-ish. I love your work and really dig the book, but I’m trying to be more wise with my time and $$ now.

    • I agree. I practically BREATHE Snyder these days, but I like to make sure that what I’m buying is integral (due to cash restraints, you understand). I didn’t buy the annual last year. I’ve since read it, and while it was okay I don’t regret my decision.

      So if he’s only doing minor plot-work here, I’ll just wait to read it in trade… Unless it somehow gets STELLAR reviews.

    • It’s a mostly contained Arkham Asylum/Anchoress issue.

      I felt the last annual was decent and this one was worse. Not sure how it sits at 25% POTW already but oh well.

  11. This seemed a bit stretched out for an annual. Could’a been better told in 23 pages – not 38 – and being 38 pages the art suffered as well. Wes Craig’s work started off good but ended shitty. Those last 6 or 7 pages you could tell homeboy was tired of drawing this story.

    Yeah, better served as just a fill-in issue and not an annual. Wanna see how a annual is done properly? Go check out the Animal Man one. Now that is a superb read.

    STORY = 3
    ART = 3

  12. I actually really enjoyed this, probably even more than Batman Inc this week.

  13. Appalling. An issue like this only harms the reputation of the ongoing series. DC should be ashamed for misleading people into thinking this was a Scott Snyder issue.

  14. My LCS saved this one for me. I was excited about it (great cover), but then I saw the price tag.

    I looked inside and found what looked like an interesting story, but nothing essential.

    I don’t usually say this, but the art just wasn’t good. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it was bad, but I found it to be simply competent. This is fine for the odd fill-in, but not for a $4.99 book. For that sort of money, I want Jim Lee or Greg Capullo or Jae Lee or someone really fresh and interesting. I apologize to Mr. Craig (if he happens to be reading), but I found the art in this one to be perfunctory, at best.

    The ‘Zero Year’ tie-in was B/S as well, I had to go through the book twice just to find it. In many respects, Batman Inc 13 tied in to Zero Year in a far more satisfying way.

    In the end, fearing for my wallet, I put it back on the shelf and saved my money. I was curious about the villainess, but not nearly curious enough to shell out £4.00+

  15. This was a fun issue. A nice debut for Snyder’s new protegee with Marguerite Bennett and hopefully we get more work from her. I will say though that this did bog down a bit by the end and the word balloons got massive at points. The real problem with the issue though is the several inkers for Wes Craig’s art. Man, it made this look fugly at best and it’s a shame. Cause there are some nice pages in here but who knows who inked what for him.

    3/5

    • One of the milestones of comics fandom, I feel, is the moment when you realize just how important good inking is to good comics. A talented inker can make bad art good and good art great. It really is a collaboration in the truest sense of the word, symbiosis, if you will. Maybe with one really good inker, the mediocre art in this issue would have looked good.

    • I don’t like the idea of proteges. While in theory it’s good, in practice it’s given us Fawkes and Tynion, whose work I don’t like at all, and now Bennett. But someday somewhere there will a good protege, right?

    • There have been plenty of good ‘proteges’ (who went on to greater fame in their own right), but, until recently, it was just known as ‘learning from the best’.

      Roy Thomas was a ‘protege’ of Stan Lee (sort of), and Roy in turn got Denny O’Neil his start at Marvel. There is a long tradition of artists, writers and especially editors nurturing promising talent, throwing work their way and collaborating with them (although it is usually uncredited), until they are ready to get out there on their own name/merits.

      In Kevin Smith’s delightful ‘Fatman on Batman’ Podcast, Greg Capullo mentioned that he did TONS of uncredited pencil work for Todd McFarlane. I wouldn’t say Greg was a ‘protege’ (he’d done lots of work by then) of Todd, but its a good example of comic book credits not always telling us the whole story.

      Michael Turner was a protege of Marc Silvestri, having met him at a convention. Also, Jim Lee launched a whole load of careers (most of which are still going strong) when he started ‘Wildstorm’.

      It could be also argued that Neal Adams was a protege of Archie Goodwin (in as far as the craft of storytelling is concerned), whilst Steve Ditko was a protege of Jerry Robinson. Mark Millar was a protege of Grant Morrison. Jeph Loeb worked for (and learned a large amount from) Elliot Maggin, Phil Hester was definitely a protege of Bob Shreck (he says as much in the Green Arrow ‘Sounds of Violence’ trade). Away from comics (a little), Geoff Johns was a protege of Richard Donner and I think I read somewhere that Scott Snyder himself was a protege of Stephen King.

      This is how it works in comics, it always has been this way and it probably always will. They just seem to be tying Snyder’s sales and solid reputation to others like Tynion, Bennet and (to some degree) Kyle Higgins as well. Its not a bad strategy, all things considered, although I hope it doesn’t prevent fans from seeing the ‘protege’ as an artist in their own right, or else encourage them to ruthlessly compare younger, less experienced talent against big-time players.

    • @APoet: It’s a shame because 1 of the 6 inkers did a great job with Craig’s pencils. No idea who though….could have been Craig himself! (He was one of the inkers too)

      @BCD/APoet: So far Synder is 2/2 in the protegee department. I’m STILL reading Higgins Nightwing book and while Talon has kinda dropped out for me Tynion IV is more then a capable writer. I’m hoping to see Bennett makes it 3/3 when she gets her own series (“if” that is).

    • I been talking bout inkers for awhile now. It makes the BIGGEST difference having a good inker. I mean the penciler sets the panel, but what we see is the ink. Especially on a dark book like Batman. Mick Gray and Jonathan Glapion have been awesome. This book didnt look so hot.

    • @WAC1 – Inkers deserve more respect from the outer fringes of comics fandom (as well as mainstream media), but good inking is very much loved by long-time fans and true appreciators of the form.

      However, multiple inkers isn’t always a bad thing. The ‘New 52’ ‘Green Lantern’ title had Mahnke’s pencils inked by about 150,000 inkers per panel (actual number may vary) and the art in that book was routinely great to look at.

      You always mention inkers, WAC, you’re definitely someone who appreciates the art of these people.

      To any doubters: Would Jim Lee’s stuff look as great without Scott Williams? I sincerely doubt it.

      PS – Ever seen Mike Royer inking Bruce Timm? That was something.

    • @poet scott williams is jim lee’s (not so secret) weapon. Ive seen him inked by others and it has looked HORRIBLE. I recently read the Mad Love trade and I think he did the Poison Ivy story drawn by Timm. It looked great (as does just about everything by Bruce Timm). And I agree with you, its quality iver quantity when it comes to inking. Craig Yeung is a good inker and he did some work here, not sure where though. Sometimes multiple inkers try to look homogeneous and it just ends up looking bad. Thsts kinda what happened here I think.

    • By “him” I mean Royer not Williams 🙂

    • @WAC1 The ‘Mad Love’ trade is glorious. It was so nicely put together and the quality of the storytelling is amazing.

      Royer didn’t do the Poison Ivy story (as far as I can tell, anyway), but he did ink the cover to the Ra’s Al Ghul/Demon story, giving Timm’s art a Kirby-esque vibe that was soooo perfect I can’t really describe it. I thought Royer did the dream sequence too, but apparently not. In fact, Timm may have inked those pages himself. They even dedicated the story to Jolly Jack – How awesome.

      I have loved the Joker solo story ‘Laughter After Midnight’ by Paul Dini & John Byrne since childood, it pretty much captured Joker’s character perfectly. I loved his encounter with Stan the Doughnut Boy – Hilarious and genuinely scary, just like The Joker should always be!

      We also get art by Klaus Jansen and Matt Wagner in that volume as well!

      DC really put a lot of top talent behind ‘The Batman Adventures’ book, even though it could easily have been a simple TV show tie-in and probably sold pretty well without anything more than simple, child-friendly stories about Batman fighting Joker. It just goes to show that a little effort (and a lot of talent, and Paul Dini as a writer) gets you a long way indeed.

  16. Really loved this issue. I thought the writing was awesome, Bennett tells a really good Batman story. The art was pretty solid as well. This did remind me a bit of Morrison’s Arkham Asylum, with the whole Batman belongs in here with us motif. All in all it was pretty solid!!

  17. This was not good. If that old bitch said “This was my sanctuary!” one more time, I was gonna throw the book out the window. I was as frustrated as Bruce that he couldn’t punch her.

    And every link from Batman’s maneuvers to his villains’ actions and abilities during an escape was wafer thin. All he really proved was that anyone could escape Arkham, as long as they were Batman.

    And “Featuring Zero Year” my ass. He mentioned it what? Once? Shameless.

    2/5 because the art wasn’t half bad.

  18. I didn’t hate this as much as others have, but I didn’t love it either. I agree that the Zero Year thing was rather misleading, which is a shame, as, overall, DC has been doing a better job than Marvel of tying their annuals into the ongoing’s current storyline. Still, in and of itself not bad. The art wasn’t bad, but, like the story, nothing outstanding either. I’m kinda curious whether this new worker at Arkham is being seeded for something further down the road. Snyder does seem to like doing that . . .

  19. This felt like it went a little silly for me.

  20. This is the last annual I buy before I read some reviews. Very misleading Zero Year B.S. and not worth $5.

  21. Jean Paul Sartre is rolling in his grave. This was LAME.

    • LOL – A character heavily based on Sartre (he’s called ‘Sarter’) does indeed commit suicide by hurling himself from the cliffs of Blackgate Prison in the Batman story ‘Madmen Across The Water’ by Alan Grant and Tim Sale. You just reminded me of that! 🙂

    • That story sounds better than this already 🙂 The anchoress literally explains No Escape “Other people are hell”. Im a fan of the play and it made my eyes roll.

    • I’m a huge fan of Sartre. Once more we agree mate! 🙂 I especially like ‘Existentialism is a Humanism’ and his short story collection ‘Intimacy’, but I have most of his major works on my bookshelf (including ‘Being & Nothingness’ and the ‘Roads to Freedom’ trilogy and ‘The Words’). I’m a pretty big fan of existentialist philosophy and French academia as well as classical philosophy and Psychology. Its nice to see that I’m not alone!

  22. A weak story and some average visuals, not worth the price tag

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