Author: John Bierly (Follow @JOHNBIERLY)
March 14, 2014

SYNOPSIS: The “DARK CITY” chapter of “ZERO YEAR” reaches its conclusion in this amazing, extra-sized issue! Now, the next chapter of Zero Year is almost upon us, and we’ve saved the best for last! What corners of Batman’s past will be revealed? And how will they impact his very near future? Find out here!

“ZERO YEAR” continues to give us zero chance of catching our collective breath in BATMAN #29, with huge thrills, scary chills, and plenty of heart punctuating its proceedings.

As Edward Nygma remains hellbent on sending Gotham back to the Stone Age, Jim Gordon tries to control the situation on the ground as waters rise all around. High above Gotham, the Batman soars in a new piece of technology that looks like it came straight out of Lockheed Martin's "Skunk Works" notebooks for a quiet but fast aerial surveillance platform... but all the technology in the world may not win this battle. Can Gordon outwit Nygma on the ground while Batman faces Dr. Death in the raging skies above... with Alfred's voice his only lifeline?

The issue begins with writer Scott Snyder adding his own take on the Wayne Murders, giving young Bruce Wayne a lifetime of guilt from wondering if things might have happened differently if he'd resisted a single brash action that set his family on its ultimate collision course with fate. We've seen other versions where Bruce blames himself, and this one is particularly well done.

What excites me most is Batman's burgeoning acceptance of Gordon as an ally, and how Gordon doesn't need gadgets to have the courage to face an obviously dangerous protagonist.

BATMAN #29 Cover by Gregg Capullo

All of it is rendered with big, bold, cinematic flair by art god Greg Capullo, from Gordon's determination to Batman's physical and emotional desperation to Nygma's smugness to Dr. Death's nastiness and all the massive action and brutal emotion in between. We've seen cool visual nods from Capullo to other artists like Frank Miller, but in this issue Capullo goes utterly iconic all on his own for a huge page showing Batman's black form (thanks to Danny Miki's precise inks) in a death-defying feat of derring-do against an outrageous blast of FCO Plascencia's colors (that bleed just enough into the form of Batman to put us right in the moment with him). And, as I've said in almost every review I've written of this arc, I wish Capullo's version here was the New 52 Batsuit. I'll be really sad to see this one go when we eventually catch back up to the present.

How can yet another origin story be so surprising and so thrilling and so fresh? I don't know how these guys do it, and I don't care. I'm just glad we're lucky enough to be along for the ride. And how perfectly devastating is that final page?

Whew! - John Bierly


John Bierly still can't believe he
gets to write for BOF.
Check out JOHNBIERLY.COM to read about the other things he writes about.

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