COMIC REVIEW: Batman #23 review
- Cover & Pencils by Greg Capullo
- Written by Scott Snyder
- Inks by Danny Miki
- Coloured by FCO Plascencia
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!
‘Zero Year’ returns this month with its closest issue to Frank Millers ‘Year One’ yet.
Lets start by addressing the comparisons: both tales ‘Zero’ and ‘One’ were clearly always going to have story beats which would need to cross-over. Snyder is doing an amazing job of scripting a story that doesn’t just follow the same story that Miller made famous but there are unavoidable moments in that history which have to be touched upon.
Batman wouldn’t be Batman if the Wayne murder had been changed but more so there’s the moment in this issue where Bruce is in the study in Wayne Manor, almost at his lowest point when the bat enters that room. It’s in that moment that Batman is really born and so it was important the Snyder and his team touched on that in this series,
The twist on the scene this time around? A holographic projector ball which turns the study in to a 360 degree hologram of the cave which attracts the attention of a bat who then flies in through an open window. In the past it’s been an open window or the iconic panel of a bat crashing through the glass of a closed window.
It’s an interesting update and it certainly modernises the scene for a contemporary audience but it did feel a little unexpected in the scene. It does feel a little out of place as this book hasn’t relied as heavily on technology at this stage but at this point I put my reaction down to seeing such an iconic moment in Batman history updated.
Outside of huge piece of Batman mythology the story is continuing to pick up the pace. We learn in this issue that Edward Nygma hired the Red Hood gang to murder Bruce against the wishes of Philip Kane.
Synder is creating a neat origin story for The Riddler in this story which has taken me by surprise as I had not expected him to have such a crucial role at this stage of Bruce’s vigilante career. He is the standout character in his scenes so I hope he’s given more material over the coming months.
Bruce takes quite a beating in this issue which has landed some criticism from fans but in most representations of this stage of his career there’s at least one moment where he takes quite a beating, it’s that crucial moment which brings him to that low in the study when the bat enters.
As always in this arc the scene between Bruce and Alfred are the emotional centre of the story. Last month saw their relationship breaking down and that scene is very much left hanging over the story. Having been severely beaten by the Red Hood gang Bruce drags himself back to Wayne Manor and wakes up having been patched together by Alfred for the first of what will be many many times. There’s a quote from Alfred which packs some serious emotional punch here:
‘… what I’m trying to say is that we might disagree, we might fight. But no matter what… no matter what, I’ll always be here to patch you up. That much I promise.’
It’s lines like that which prove why Snyder is the undisputed king of all the Batman series right now. His understanding of these characters is limitless and it’s all on show in this series month-to-month.
There’s some brilliant artistry and colour work going on in this issue. The cold blues of the opening pages and as Bruce pulls himself back to the manor are contract heavily against the reds of the scenes in Bruce’s apartment as it burns to the ground. There are echoes of the present day world which came before this arc and the creative team are continuing to play with how this world transitions from shining city of the past to the shadowy city of the present.
Another solid entry in to the ‘Batman’ series.