Comic Vine Review

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Batman #21 - Zero Year: Secret City, Part One; Where the Hell Did He Learn to Drive?!

5

Zero Year is here. Think you know the full story of how Batman started out? There's a lot more going on than you realized.

The Good

Page 1 - Blam!! This is the way you start out a massive Batman 'event.'

Taking place six years ago, you'll find your jaw on the floor as you look over the first few pages. As soon as you start reading, you'll find yourself muttering to yourself, "Scott Snyder…what the heck have you done?"

Zero Year is like a grand adventure. It's amazing that a Batman book that doesn't fully focus on or contain "Batman" can be so compelling. We're looking at the man behind the cowl - Bruce Wayne. Gotham City clearly was a different place before Batman made a name for himself. That doesn't mean we won't see some crazy over-the-top action.

Snyder makes it clear right away this isn't the Batman we're used to. It's only six years but we know or assume a lot has happened in that time. Bruce is a little green around the edges but that doesn't mean he is incapable of handling all the chaos and action Snyder will be throwing at him. His interaction with Alfred is interesting and not what we're used to.

There is an almost soothing effect in reading a Batman story with this isolated feel. The idea of exploring Bruce's early days is one I've been longing for since the New 52 started. The fact is, we do not know the whole story. Despite most of his continuity remaining in tact, things around him have changed. But this isn't simply a matter of iron out any wrinkles. Snyder is going full force in delivering a new story. As we start to hear the details of what's been going on in Bruce's absence, you get pulled in deeper and deeper.

Greg Capullo and Danny Miki go all out in terms of the art. It's only six years but Bruce does subtly look different. FCO Plascencia's really shine as a lot of the story actually takes place during the day, rather than the normal dark settings we usually see Batman in. It's such an amazing contrast to the normal Batman story.

If that wasn't enough, Snyder, James Tynion IV and Rafael Albuquerque take us to Brazil where we see a nineteen-year-old Bruce Wayne. It's a great and fun look even further back in Bruce's life.

The Bad

I am strapped in and ready to enjoy the ride. I'm all for seeing new adventures with Batman but I am completely on board with exploring more of his past in the New 52 Universe.

As if Zero Year wasn't enough, now we're going to want to see more of Albuquerque's nineteen-year-old Bruce Wayne!

The Verdict

If there was any doubt that pulling Batman out of modern continuity and exploring his early days could work, this issue immediately proves it does. Seeing Bruce Wayne starting his career, going up against the Red Hood Gang and just the fact that some crazy stuff is going down, I can easily see this lasting eleven issues. Zero Year is off to a great start and right away, I don't want it to end. There's a deep mystery bubbling on the surface and the glimpses we get into Gotham in this time period is fascinating. Capullo, Miki and Plascencia make the visuals shine. This is not your typical Batman story and it shows. We get a great backup by Snyder, Tynion IV and Albuquerque that is highly enjoyable and makes the issue fun. Zero Year may be a visit to the past but I am on board with this being an extended stay. Snyder may have taken a risk by setting a long story in the past but it completely works. It's comics like this that make me excited to be a Batman fan.

55 Comments

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the_stegman

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Edited By the_stegman  Moderator

Man, Snyder is knocking it out of the park!

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longbowhunter

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I know some people have a sense of dread about this, but I'm beyond excited. Definitely top of the stack tomorrow.

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doordoor123

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Edited By doordoor123

I hope this is good. It's going to be hard for me to read nineteen-year old Bruce. I can only imagine Bruce as an eight year-old (or whenever his parents were killed) and as a full-grown adult (in his 30s). I can't imagine Bruce being a few years younger than me. But maybe that'll make for new and interesting stories. The fact that I haven't seen a Bruce like that could mean a lot to the mythology.

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martyyy15

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I don't know why they didn't make this storyline into a graphic novel instead. I mean cause there are events going on in gotham currently. I'll prob wait till its over and just buy it all as a collected editon. GIves me time to catch up on aquaman and green lantern ( geoff johns run)

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Deranged Midget

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Another gem from Snyder huh? Can't wait to pick this up!

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Trevel8182

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Tony please stop saying most of the Batman Continuity has stayed in tact because it didnt.

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MuyJingo

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Edited By MuyJingo

So much Snyder love on this site...

I'll have to wait and see, but Snyder is definitely someone who has a lot of hype and doesn't live up to it that often. Let's see if his effort to put his stamp on the new universe results in a quality story.

I can't trust G-Man's review because he think Snyder is one of the best Batman writers, while I see him as mediocre at best.

Tony please stop saying most of the Batman Continuity has stayed in tact because it didnt.

Yeah, it's bizarre. I have no idea why he says such a silly thing. He has been saying this since the New 52 launched, when it clearly isn't true. Bruce was away for significantly less time, red hood origin is different, Barb is no longer Oracle, the robins fiasco, Dick was never adopted....there's more I'm sure.

Green Lantern is really the only book where it's continuity stayed intact. With Batman it's a huge guessing game. Did NML happen? Did wargames? Did Stephanie Brown ever die, was she ever a Robin, did she even exist? Did Bane break Batman's back? Year one is no longer valid, that much we've known for a while.

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ULTRAstarkiller

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Edited By ULTRAstarkiller

How old is Batman in this one?

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Mucklefluga

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5 stars. Just what i expected. Cannot wait to read a story set in the past!!

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JamDamage

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#

@muyjingo:

I just don't see how the revamp actually made things easier for new readers. Batman and Green Lantern obviously have their problems with what has happened and what has not happened. I don't read all the Bat titles, or even the Bat related titles so I just don't know. I read Snyders Batman, and I read Batman and Robin and so far it seems like almost everything IS in tact. I used to read Redhood so I know his origin is differant. I also don't like how G-Man gives out 5 stars way to easily. 4 stars should be good enough. 4 stars means must read. 5 stars should mean classic, and timeless. I'm a product of the Siskel and Ebert age of a 4 star rating and it worked so damn well. Before On-Demand you had to open this small weekly magazine that let you know when anything was going to be playing and what the rating was. 4 stars was EPIC, classic,The Godfather worthy. 3 stars meant must see, 2 thumbs up. 2 and half stars meant "I thought it was great, you might not." 2 stars meant "It's a risk to watch", and 1 star meant "You're an idiot if you even consider this. Still. In Snyders Batman, to us readers who don't read Batgirl or Nightwing, things seem unchanged.

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BR_Havoc

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Edited By BR_Havoc

I am not really interested in this event. I do wonder how long before you think we will see Nightwing,Batgirl,Batman and Robin Zero Years ?

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batmannflash

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oh my goodness i can't wait!

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xthumper32x

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I'm getting this but I'm not sure how I feel about it. Both the Court of Owls and Death of the Family started really strong and fell flat on their faces imo. I wish Snyder would have done a few more smaller stories like the 2 issue Clayface arc. Hopefully this one's ending isn't bad like the last two long arcs.

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MuyJingo

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Edited By MuyJingo


In Snyders Batman, to us readers who don't read Batgirl or Nightwing, things seem unchanged.

Not sure how you can say that. The stuff I listed in my previous post was all made apparent in Snyders Batman. That's where most of the changes have been seen. A lot of them cannot be attributed to him....and yet a lot can.

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TheUnN4med

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Edited By TheUnN4med

In Snyder I trust!!

I will pick this up!

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Battle_Forum_Junkie

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Man, Snyder is knocking it out of the park!

My sentiments exactly.

Can't wait to pick this one up tomorrow!

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V_Scarlotte_Rose

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@muyjingo: For what it's worth, Batwomans' continuity is still intact.

@br_havoc said:

I am not really interested in this event. I do wonder how long before you think we will see Nightwing,Batgirl,Batman and Robin Zero Years ?

Perhaps sooner than you think. There's going to be tie-in issues in other titles.

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gmanfromheck

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@trevel8182: Please stop telling me what I can or can't say ;)

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FastestBlender

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Edited By FastestBlender

@g_man

Trevel8182 is trying to inform you that the corporate line about Batman continuity is a fallacy and Muyjingo backs up his statement with facts:

"He has been saying this since the New 52 launched, when it clearly isn't true. Bruce was away for significantly less time, red hood origin is different, Barb is no longer Oracle, the robins fiasco, Dick was never adopted....there's more I'm sure."

You can say whatever you want, but there's evidence that it just isn't a correct statement.

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gmanfromheck

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@fastestblender: There's also a lot that hasn't been flat out denied. We know Bruce 'died,' Black Mirror happened, etc. I like to believe that most of that stuff could have happened. Maybe Barbara was Oracle for a tiny period of time. Not likely but who knows. Did they ever say she absolutely hadn't? I love how people get on my case for nit-picking about continuity issues yet will also jump on me for the way I see the history possibly being. Just seems there's better things to do with your time.

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Zeeguy91

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Tony please stop saying most of the Batman Continuity has stayed in tact because it didnt.

It...did, though. A lot of the Batman continuity did stay intact. Killing Joke, Death in the Family, Black Mirror, Grant Morrion's run on Batman, etc. All of those stories (or at least portions of them) are still canon.

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BR_Havoc

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Edited By BR_Havoc

@v_scarlotte_rose: Sigh....God forbid there is a Batman story were there was not full line cross over.

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Deakhead

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Would this be a good place to jump on Batman then? Similar to where #21 was a good place to jump on the Green Lantern comics..

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V_Scarlotte_Rose

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@br_havoc said:

@v_scarlotte_rose: Sigh....God forbid there is a Batman story were there was not full line cross over.

It makes money, so I wouldn't be surprised if all Batman stories are like this from now on.

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BR_Havoc

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@br_havoc said:

@v_scarlotte_rose: Sigh....God forbid there is a Batman story were there was not full line cross over.

It makes money, so I wouldn't be surprised if all Batman stories are like this from now on.

True it does and I guess DC is really grasping at anything that will bring them money. I just think with all these grand cross overs and tie ins there is going to be another collapse.

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Dabee

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Edited By Dabee

If they wouldn't have had that whole zero issue thing after issues 12 of all the New52 books, this would be an awesomely coincidental time to start it with Zero Year and all. Still can't wait to read it!

Great review, too. Thanks!

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knightofthechronicle

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@g_man said:

@trevel8182: Please stop telling me what I can or can't say ;)

Tony's channeling his inner John Locke LOL

Anyway, thanks for the review, can't wait to pick this up.

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dreamfall31

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I hate that cover, but I'm looking forward to that!

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Shallbecomeabattoo

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Finally! I wanted to read a story that focuses on Batmans training for ages! And thats the thing about it... all the naysayers are completely wrong... this is no rehash... we NEVER had a comic book where we actually saw Bruce really train. One or two panels here and there, butnever like this. Batman Begins did it before the comics did it. Now Snyder goes back and I love it.

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reignmaker

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Will have to pick this up late because I'm strapped for cash at the moment. Definitely going to be fun though. Keep an open mind, people.

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ElectroComics

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Edited By ElectroComics

Zero year is going to awesome batman Is my Favorite character and Snyder, capullo and plascencia is the best comic book team out thier right now!

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GraniteSoldier

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I haven't gotten a Batman book in awhile but I just got a rank promotion and was looking for a new title to pull, this sounds like a good one I'll be checking it out.

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MadeinBangladesh

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Yet again, not suprised. WOOOOO!!!

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DanteTheRedKnight

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Wooow! This review has gotten me so excited for tomorrow!!! XDD

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KnightofSteel

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Gonna be awesome! Can't wait!

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jaytiz27

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Edited By jaytiz27

Ha ha! Page 1 - Blam! I like that, I can't wait to read this. I like to think most of batmans stories still stand, it doesn't really bother me tho because a good story is a good story, am I right?

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owie

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owie  Moderator

Very cool issue, had me going all the way through. I'm definitely excited for what's coming up.

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the_tree

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I'm surprised at how much I liked the issue, seeing as I haven't been a big fan of most of Snyder's work lately. I was also worried about how the art style would be affected by it taking place in the daylight (I wasn't liking how it looked during the Clayface arc), but it seems they've found the right style for it, it looked phenomenal, especially the colors.

I'd go as far as giving it a 5/5 as well. The only thing I didn't really like about it was one panel where Bruce felt out of character. Where he flipped off the Red Hood Gang, that just didn't feel like something Bruce would do.

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The_Vein

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Edited By The_Vein

@the_tree: Well, he was younger, wasn't even in a costume yet. Maybe that's even why he did it, to throw them off of who he really was.

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the_tree

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@the_vein: I know, and it's only a very minuscule gripe, especially considering it was for exactly one panel.

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Booster_Bronze

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Edited By Booster_Bronze

@deakhead:

This would be a good place to jump on, but get your hands on last September's Batman #0 if you can as it introduces the Red Hood Gang and sets up where this issue starts.

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BatWatch

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I enjoyed the issue, but my jury is still out. The idea that Gotham will be in shambles akin to No Man's Land in a few months of the Red Hood's shenanigans is a bit hard to handle, and it makes this a more epic story than it really needs to be. Batman's origin does not need to be larger than life, but I'm digressing to minor points. My main concern is that this does not seem like a reasonable destination for this arc, and it would be nearly impossible to get things right after they've descended to this level of chaos.

Also, the time frame skips around a lot without much warning, and I found this disconcerting.

Don't get me wrong, I still thought this was a good issue, but I'm not yet sold on this being a great story. Time will tell.

The BatWatch Review is up.

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Gray_Star

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Wow, this feel like a different book, Snyder is THE man. I look forward to seeing the differents side-storys of a young Bruce.

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xblah_blahx

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Edited By xblah_blahx

Is there a better writer right now than Snyder?! Don't even answer, it's a rhetorical question. Superman: Unchained and Batman killed it this week!

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Deakhead

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Edited By Deakhead

@booster_bronze

Thanks for the tip! I managed to find the Batman #0 after a good few minutes scouring the internet and purchased myself a copy. I'm really looking forward to reading that now, and of course entering the world of Zero Year.

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KnightRise

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Edited By KnightRise

First few pages: "WHAT THE FRAG??"

Rest of the book: "Man, that was awesome! I almost forgot about...*turns back to page three* ...."

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SavageDragon

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Just read it. Pretty darn cool.

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dernman

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There were some things I liked and others I didn't.

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deactivated-5c6600594117e

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I'm not a huge fan of Snyder's work but this was pretty interesting. Not sure how I feel about this lasting 11 issues but there are definitely some questions I want answered. The state of Gotham in this issue was pretty shocking and it seems like some sort of flood or natural disaster had taken place. The Pre-52 Bat costume and Bat-Mobile are pretty awesome.

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mickeymayhew

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can I just say...The Riddler!! finally Capullo does my fave Batman villain, although I'm not too sure about the mutton-chops...

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