See the Review Rating Overview page for more information on how I rate each comic.
Secret City: Part One; Where the Hell Did He Learn to Drive?!
Witness The New 52 origin of The Dark Knight in BATMAN: ZERO YEAR! Twists and turns are around every corner as Bruce Wayne takes the final steps toward his destiny! And in the backup story, learn more about how different Gotham City was at this dangerous point in time.
Zero Year has finally arrived, and the atmosphere is ripe with mystery. Snyder (former writer for Detective Comics and Vertigo's American Vampire and current writer of Batman, Superman Unchained and Vertigo's The Wake) and Capullo (former penciler for Image's Spawn and current artist for Batman) have promised that they are going to show people this is not the same old story we've heard a million times starting with page one, and I have to admit that simple tease alone has me intrigued, but there are plenty of other things to consider. How will this issue tie in to Batman's Zero Issue? Will it pick up where the other left off? What villain is under the red hood? How does Riddler fit in? What heroes and villains will we see in this story arc, and just what is a “Zero Year” anyway? It's time for that which is hidden to be revealed.
Is Batman #21 a glorious unveiling or does this issue confirm that the end of days draweth nigh?
In this issue, Bruce returns to Gotham and begins to stake off his territory as the protector of Gotham.
Fodder for the Water CoolerDoes anybody really convene around the water cooler any more? Probably not, and unless you work in an office with a disproportionately high amount of comic book nerds, then you would probably never end up discussing this anyway, but for those who like unpacking comic books and speculating on what is happening and what will happen, this delivers plenty of juicy morsels for long discussions.
However, is it good? That's not so clear to me.Snyder delivered on his promise to make a story that defied expectations, yet I'm not completely sure I liked it. The story jumped around in several different points of Bruce's life, and it simply was not clear when any of these events were taking place. I suppose comparisons to Year One are inevitable, so I may as well begin the comparisons here by saying the jumpy, jumbled nature of this issue stands in stark contrast to the completely chronological and chronicled telling of Miller's (former writer for Daredevil and All-Star Batman and Robin) origin tale. One of the most confusing aspects of this issue is when Bruce first encountered Red Hood. I was under the impression that we saw their first encounter in Zero Issue, but that must not be the case because in this issue Bruce Wayne's return to Gotham is still a secret, and we saw Commissioner Gordon grilling Bruce in Zero Issue, so what happens when again? Overlooking the general lack of a clear timeline, I still feel like I missed a chapter before this issue began. I cannot tell when exactly Bruce is in his career, and quite possibly, we are not yet supposed to know, but I found the lack of clarity a bit off putting.
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 3.9 - (Buy Batman #21) SAVE 10%
Nightwing #21 - Co$t of Living
Desperate to find a ghost from his past, Nightwing turns to The Prankster for help, unaware that they are both targets of The Mask Killer!
The Mask Killer!
I've been loving what Higgins (former writer of Gates of Gotham and current writer of Nightwing) and Booth (former artist on Wildstorm series Backlash and current penciler for Detective Comics and cover artist for Earth 2, Superman Unchained and Justice League of America's Vibe) have been delivering on Nightwing. This is only the third issue in Chicago, and it already feel like Dick has come further as a character than he did in the first nineteen issues of this series. On his ongoing quest to find his parents' killers, Dick ran into trouble with Prankster last issue, and the issue ended with Nightwing in an apparent deathtrap forced to choose between his life and his secret identity. Let's get to it.
Does Nightwing turn the tables on the Prankster and have the last laugh or is the only joke in this book the fact that we all pain three bucks to read it?
In this issue, Nightwing partners with Prankster and we learn more about Chicago crime.
Strange BedfellowsIt is possible I might be falling in love with Kyle Higgins because as this arc continues to get better and better, I find that I have warm fuzzies in my heart when I think of him.
Everything in this issue is awesome! I mean, really, it's just that good. I'm finding it hard to pick things apart because there is almost nothing bad and I don't want to spoil anything that is good, but you came here to read a review, so let's kick it.
In the first few pages, we learn more about why there are no superheroes in Chicago, and it goes in a direction I did not expect. I figured the story would be something along the lines of the corrupt mayor trying to get rid of those rascally heroes who always ruin his plans, but instead, we find that there is a villain who has, it appears, murdered all the heroes one by one. We get a view of the murder of one of these heroes, and I have to say that the fall of this one poor guy, Slipshift, was done amazingly well because I felt much more for his death than I did for the death of Catwoman. In but a few pages, I felt like a sort of knew this guy, and to see so much promise and heroism cut down casually was, well, brutal, yet it fit perfectly for what this story intended.
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 5/5
Story - 5/5
Verdict - 4.6 - (Buy Nightwing #21) SAVE 10%
Batman and Robin #21 - The Bargain
What deal would you make to bring someone back from the dead? And in this issue, it’s Batman vs. Batgirl!
The Balance... Between Life and Death!
Here's a comic with a lot of potential for both good and bad. On the good front, we have Peter J. Tomasi, (former editor of Hitman and current writer for Batman and... and Green Lantern Corps) the expert character writer, portraying the continuing mourning of Bruce as he seeks to resurrect his son. Perhaps most exciting of all, we get to see Bruce interact with a member of the Family he rarely sees, Barbara Gordon. In the bad department, Barbara Gordon is in this story, and she has been annoying in almost every one of her DCNU appearances. I'm a little skeptical that Tomasi can fix this chronically broken character. She might have her spine healed, but her personality is still handicapped. Also a reason for concern, Patrick Gleason (former artist for Robin and cover artist for End Game and current cover artist for Batman and... and Green Lantern) has gone AWOL, fallen down a well, or otherwise gone missing on this issue, and we are left with the less impressive Cliff Richards. (former penciler of The OMAC Project and Huntress: Year One and artist for Dark Horse's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and current penciler for Batman and... and Katana)
Can Tomasi fix the broken Batgirl or is this just one more batarang in the coffin of the old lovable Barbara Gordon?
Quick reminder, today's reviews will be super short since I have to start packing for an upcoming move.
Bargaining for GreatnessOuch! I've never written review this short on comics this big, so this is going to be painful to narrow down to just the big points, but here goes.
Overall, this was a really good issue. We continue to see Bruce grieve, and it's painful. Anybody who can get me to feel intense emotion deserves some major props, and Tomasi and Richards did just that when they revealed how raw Bruce still is. Also, I'm delighted to say that the chemistry between Bats and Babs was great. Having a woman's touch was nice. She tried to reach out in a way the boys would never do, and it was surprisingly nice to see Bruce repay kindness with animosity. Bruce might have moved past this point in the other Bat books, but here, in what I presume is an earlier time frame, he's still on the verge of self-destruct. The way Babs handled things was great. It made me like her as her actions moved the story.
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 3.4 - (Buy Batman and Robin #21) SAVE 20%
|Purchase DC Comics|