A year ago, DC Comics rebooted their franchise in a series of comic books labeled the new 52. Familiar favorites (as well as new characters) were introduced to brand new story lines while still staying true to the DC lore that has been previously built. While overall the re-launch has proved to be successful, many series have wavered. However, one series that continues to be in the forefront month to month is Batman (Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo). The caped crusader has been the most widespread selling DC comic on a regular basis due to its unique storyline and awe-inspiring artwork. Issue #0 does not disappoint.
[MAJOR SPOILERS] Coming off the Court of Owls story arc, Batman #0 explores Bruce Wayne’s origin story. It takes place six years prior to the Court of Owls events as the reader finds himself or herself at a new bank opening. All seems well until the Red Hood gang shows up. Most new readers are not going to realize the significance of “Red Hood,” but long time Batman fans know exactly Red Hood’s significance. For those not in the know, Red Hood is the identity of the Joker before he fell into a vat of acid and became the madman that everyone knows and loves. Immediately, I assume this was going to be an origin story for the Joker (especially since next month’s issue #13 reintroduces the Joker after a year long departure). From there, the boss of the Red Hood gang (assumed to be the Joker but never confirmed) commands his minions to proceed to rob the bank. After a minion chooses to punch a man instead of shoot, the boss suspects that this man is working undercover, so the boss forces the man to shoot himself. Before going any further, the man thinks to himself “Stupid, Bruce. Stupid” and proceeds to fight his way out of the bank with the Red Hood gang chasing closely behind. Bruce makes it to the sewers, rips off the mask and hightails for home. There, Bruce reveals to Alfred that he has been tracking the gang to learn about their criminal habits. The discussion is interrupted by a visit from Commissioner Gordon to try to get Wayne’s cooperation in getting a new “vigilante” (Batman) behind bars. The story ends with the Red Hood gang showing up at Wayne Manor with destruction on their minds. [SPOILERS END]
This story was very intriguing but it left me with more questions than anything. It is referenced a few times that Bruce Wayne has been gone for a while and just recently came back into town. I can only assume that the circumstances are similar to that of Batman Begins, where Bruce leaves to train and come back as Batman. Another thing that puzzled me was whether or not the Red Hood gang leader was Joker or someone pretending to be the Joker. When he is introducing himself he states, “Who’s there? HISTORY. History? Wh—Bang. You’re DEAD, you idiot. Because you FORGOT me.” Is someone reviving and reliving Joker’s old persona of Red Hood. Is this actually the Joker committing another crime? Does that mean Batman existed beforehand? These questions seem like they will get answered in upcoming issues, and I certainly hope so, just to clear the confusion..
Overall, I really enjoyed Batman’s origin story. It was nice to see a throwback reference to the Joker as well as see Bruce Wayne get his feet ewet in crimefighting. I even enjoyed the Robin origin story (James Tynion IV) at the back of the issue. Batman’s artwork was solid once again. Capullo’s uniquely simple, yet asyounding beautiful artwork was a wonder to look at. Teamed up with Snyder’s masterful, intriguing, storytelling left me well prepared for next month’s start of the Death of the Family story arc. Batman #0 is a definite buy for all comic fans.
Rating: 4 (out of 5)