Rating: 4/5 – Guest Creators Bring Batman Back Into the Present After Zero Year.
by guest reviewer Kevyn Knox.
Now that the long-running Zero Year story arc is finally over, we are handed a one-and-done issue with Batman #34 – and a story by a whole new creative team at that. Well, almost entirely new. The writing duties for this issue are taken up by Deadpool’s Gerry Duggan, though regular Bat-writer Scott Snyder does plot the thing, while Greg Capullo’s artistic spot is being temporarily filled by Matteo Scallera, whose work on Bedlam and Black Science are quite remarkable, indeed. But then one can hardly blame Snyder and Capullo for wanting to take a break after devoting the past year to the retelling of the Dark Knight’s first year on the job. After such a brilliant tale, one of my favorite story arcs from DC’s New 52, they deserve a break.
Meanwhile, this issue, about a serial killer who doesn’t want the limelight that is so often sought out by Gotham’s more egocentric rogue’s gallery, is meant as a mere filler story, just making time before the Future’s End tie-in, in September, and the start of a brand new story line coming in October. But even so, Batman #34 comes off much stronger than one would often expect from a filler issue. Granted, Duggan is no Snyder, and his Batman seems a bit more conventional than Snyder’s does, but he still manages to get the so-called job done here. And that job is to bring the Zero Year Caped Crusader back into the present day fold of Batman Eternal and the rest of the current Bat-titles. Making mention of Jim Gordon’s trials and tribulations and Selina Kyle’s new position as underworld queenpin, Duggan sets up the title for the Endgame storyline coming from Snyder and Capullo in October.
What really keeps this issue from being typical filler is Matteo Scalera’s wonderfully visceral artwork. Bringing the sharp ramshackle style we have come to know and love in Rick Remender’s Black Science over at Image Comics. Scalera’s Batman, and his Gotham City, is a thing to behold, indeed. In fact, as much as I love Capullo’s Batman, I would be more than okay with Scalera sticking around a bit longer. But Capullo’s art and Scott Snyder’s words will be back after next month’s Future’s End sideline, for a brand new adventure. But in the meantime, Batman #34 is a solid bridge to the future of the title.
Reviewed by: Kevyn Knox