Nearly two months ago Batman #24 was released and readers were treated to the first crescendo of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Zero Year arc. This astounding bumper double issue must have left many readers wondering where do we go from here? Also, could anything top not only that issue but also all that has lead up to that issue's events? This past month saw the release of Batman #25 and the continuation of this epic saga. Though I admit a certain sense of subjectivity, the narrative looks like it still finds fresh new ways to perpetuate itself, building upon and definitely upping the odds of what has gone before. A prior article of mine spoke of Snyder's writing in comparison to his predecessor; Grant Morrison. Zero Year may quite possibly exemplify the maturation of and therefore stand as a defining moment in Snyder's work as a Batman writer. I would argue that this arc firmly places Snyder in the same arena as other writers who have defined Batman. Perhaps even superseding Morrison in that respect. You see, Morrison by the nature of much of his work; both his style and working within pre-existing canon, only essentially revised Batman. Snyder, having been handed what has since evolved into entirely new continuity seems able therefore to not only revise but define a new permutation of what Morrison happily informed us was an eternal archetype. Furthermore whereas the prior article discussed Snyder's and Capullo's previous arcs, exploring weaknesses as well as strengths Zero Year appears almost flawless. The Owls arc, for all it's espionage and action was let down by a degree of absurdity and Death of a Family though cleverly reverent to pre-existing canon seemed almost anti-climatic. At the time of writing that article I stated that the Joker's return to the New 52 was my favourite arc. However I also stated that was entirely dependent on how Zero Year played out. In case you haven't guessed by now Zero Year in the two main issues and plethora of tie ins released since that article has indeed changed everything. Enough though of me writing about how much I love Zero Year, let me instead share with you why I love Zero Year, and if you don't already why you should love it too. As with many of my list articles these following reasons are ranked in no particular order, each is an intrinsic part of an overall idea, and again I would like to start us off with an honorable mention.
Honorable Mention - The Tie Ins
Tie ins can be a very hit and miss affair, most of the time their link's to the core narrative can be tenuous. Not so with Zero Year. Each one revolves around the consequences of the Batman's first appearance, an approaching mega storm and Gotham's city wide power outage. Some even deal with all three including a cameo from the Caped Crusader. A cameo which doesn't seem in anyway forced or out of place. Nor does Batman's appearance take the focus away from the story's main protagonist, instead essentially enriching their character. Of the tie ins thus far the one I recommend most highly is Detective Comics with its' focus on Lieutenant Gordon. This issue plays out like a refreshing homage to the future Commissioner's narrative from Frank Miller's Year One, which up until now has been the de facto Batman origin story. Another favourite is the Jon Stewart helmed Green Lantern tie in. I don't know too much about the Green Lantern , for my sins, but Jon comes across as a pretty righteous brother. The villain of the piece, who I am somewhat familiar with also gets a decent treatment, coming across as slightly more mature in their polemic if ultimately flawed. As a Joker fan(atic) one can't discount the Red Hood and the Outlaws crossover either, which not only ties back into that title's zero issue, but also adds to the new spin on how Jason and the Joker's fates are intertwined and thus making Zero Year as much about their origin as Batman's. Speaking of which...
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