Batman #22 (DC)


Rating: 5/5 – An inexperienced Batman at his best…because of the creative team involved

Batman #22 is the second part of the Zero Year storyline from the creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.  This is yet another outstanding issue in what has been a phenomenal series.  This time the focus,(hence the storyline’s name), is on the early part of Batman’s career.  Snyder is showing us the years where Bruce is still learning what it takes to be Batman, while at the same time exploring Bruce’s childhood, and retelling certain parts of his origin that we’ve seen before, but in a fresh and exciting way.  Snyder is not changing anything that’s come before in telling Bruce’s origin story, instead he’s adding to the myth and respecting what’s come before.

When the New 52 first launched, we were at a point in Batman’s story where he was similar to what had come pre-New 52.  In his first appearance in Justice League #1, we saw a Batman that we were already used to.  So the New 52 wasn’t quite as new when it came to Batman.  Here, Snyder is giving us a Batman that’s different.  We’re seeing an imperfect Batman, which makes him more human and more vulnerable.  It’s seeing this different Batman that’s making this storyline so appealing.

This issue, which starts 6 years prior to current continuity, has Bruce chasing after the Red Hood who continues to terrorize Gotham.  It’s a great action scene that starts the book off on a high note.  After the action slows down we’re treated to to two wonderfully written character sequences.  One between Bruce and Alfred that shows us a younger and more immature Bruce, and one between Bruce and Edward Nigma, better known as the Riddler.  It’s in both of these sequences that we see just how strong Snyder’s writing can be, and how well he can portray these characters.  The Riddler sequence is the highlight of the book and leaves you wanting more, not just from the writing, but also from the art.  You can’t talk about this Batman series without bringing up Greg Capullo’s art.  He continues to deliver what I feel is the best work of his career.  And like the famous issue from the Court of Owls storyline where you had to keep physically rotating the book to read it (like a labyrinth), Capullo pulls off a clever way to incorporate Batman and Riddler’s dialogue into an Oroboros.  It’s a great combination of brilliant writing and stunning art coming together.

In addition to Capullo’s art in the main story, we’re also treated to a 5-page backup by Snyder and American Vampire collaborator, Rafael Albuquerque.  It’s tough to pull off a successful story with a beginning and an end with such few pages, but in this issue they’ve succeeded.  It’s a quick read that shows Bruce learning how to the think of the impossible.  It’s a great little tale with a powerful message.

Overall this issue and this series continues to show why it’s at the top of the sales charts. There’s something special being done with this character by Snyder and Capullo, and this Zero Year storyline is another example why.  This is a Batman who’s not yet at his best, but this issue proves that Snyder and Capullo are.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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