Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Gregg Capullo
Zero Year is still chugging along as Batman decides that the best method for taking down the Riddler is finally using his wits instead of his fists. If you didn’t read Batman #30 (I’m sure very few people haven’t), Bruce wakes up with Edward Nygma taking over Gotham and becoming its self-proclaimed king while killing people who don’t correctly guess his riddles. Edward has thrown the city into chaos; he decides that the city is in its “Zero Year” thus beginning the final act to Snyder and Capullo’s story arc.
The issue begins with Bruce reflecting back on his past, complete with psychedelic imagery about a time in class when he was asked a riddle and the whole class was riding on him to get the right answer. It’s a nice sequence showing how Bruce has evolved as Batman. He can’t just rely on fear and punching the bad guys, but he also can’t just use logic. The flashback scene shows how Bruce made mistakes in the beginning, while using his logic and instincts to learn from them. It also explains why he thinks outside the box for every villain he faces.
One of the things I enjoy most about the Zero Year story arc is how writer Scott Snyder has shown the flaws of Bruce Wayne, and how he eventually becomes the savior of Gotham. Bruce didn’t become the perfect vigilante over night; he made mistakes while realizing that what he does will not please everybody.
The bulk of this issue relies on Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox working together with Bruce to create a jamming signal to stop Edward from keeping an eye on the city. Bruce realizes that Edward is a victim of his own ego, understanding that he must push Edward’s buttons in order to distract him, giving the jammers time to work. Unfortunately, the plan falls to the wayside, but Bruce is dedicated to stopping Edward. Bruce is determined to halt the Riddler’s plans, not for his own satisfaction, but for the safety of the city and its people.
Snyder and Capullo have done a great job during their time on Batman, and might even go down as one of the best teams in comics if they can keep hitting home runs. The only negative here is that you must read prior issues in order to understand the story.
Written by: Cory Robinson