Since issue 21, which went on sale in June of last year, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been treating us to their New 52 exploration of Batman’s start as a crime fighting vigilante. From his return to Gotham, his decision to dawn the cape and cowl and his first crime fighting success against the Red Hood gang, we’ve seen Scott Snyder’s account of what makes Batman into who he is today. Issue 30 makes the transition into the last of the three-arc Zero Year story, and introduces us to exactly why this story is called Zero Year. After his first confrontation with the Riddler ended in defeat, Bruce wakes to a very different city, cut off from the outside and left to fester and rot. Edward Nygma holds control over the city and promises to relinquish his control only if someone can challenge him to a riddle that he cannot solve. Unsurprisingly, no one can come up with a riddle that stumps the Riddler, and now after his suspected death Bruce must come up with a plan to take down the man who out-thought him before.
Scott Snyder proves yet again this issue that he knows Batman like few others do. I appreciate greatly how he manages to explore the psychology of Bruce Wayne, while at the same time building up the challenge to create amazing action sequences that always push the envelope. Honestly, I wondered how he could make Batman’s origin fresh after so many repeated treatments, but somehow Snyder has done it again. He also deserves recognition for showing just how powerful and intelligent the Riddler is, despite the lack of appreciation he is often plagued with as a villain. Not only does Snyder prove he knows a thing or two about Bruce’s psyche, he also gets into Riddler’s head and gives a great explanation of his motivations that makes him a little deeper than some maniacal city destroying force. Snyder also shows how to properly build tension and suspense. During the sequence where Riddler topples some buildings and surrounds Gordon with some drones, there was a genuine feeling of anxiety over the resolution of that conflict. The pressure mounts and Batman comes in with the answer in the nick of time. Finally Snyder has also shown in Zero Year that he is very adept at teasing the audience. The opening sequence raises questions that the reader is certainly yearning to have resolved.
Greg Capullo Never ceases to amaze me with his skill at art. Zero Year has been especially good at showcasing the man’s immense talent, and this issue is no exception. There’s nothing quite like seeing for the first time a large two-page spread of an overgrown and torn down Gotham City. Capullo rises to this challenge and shows his attention to detail and artistic flexibility. He also shows that he’s pretty darn good at drawing a sweet beard. I happen to think Jim Gordon pulls it off pretty well. Capullo also shows great skill when he draws the “dominoes” scene, and the ensuing destruction and chaos that comes from that situation.
This issue is a great read that I’d recommend to anyone. Of course, I’d recommend that you look into the back issues of Zero Year, but if you’re going to jump into the arc, this is the start of a third act, so with a little background information you’d probably be fine. Snyder and Capullo show yet again that they are the dream team when it comes to telling Batman stories, and this issue is excellent.
What did you think of this issue? Are you loving the Snyder-Capullo take on Batman? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.