Wednesday, November 13, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman #25

The city has gone dark, and is in total chaos, but naturally, the GCPD feels it is more necessary to focus on the crazy man dressed like a Bat instead, and even more naturally, Batman makes a fool out of them by jumping his car over their blockade.

With a blackout, a storm approaching, and Batman trolling the GCPD, Commissioner Loeb checks in on another problem across town, and it's a murder scene, where the victim's bones have grown like tree branches outside of the victim's body. It's the second victim found like this in short period of time, both of whom Batman had investigated, and both of whom were WayneTech scientists. There was a witness this time, a young Pamela Isley, who is more concerned with the plants in the lab, but mentions seeing a large skeletal looking man in the building.

In the meager Batcave, Bruce finishes work on a signal jammer which he hopes will help prevent the Riddler from possibly wreaking more havoc not he grid once it comes back online, then turns his focus on the blood samples from the two boney victims found recently. Turns out the compound used ended up being developed by WayneTech, under the supervision of one Dr. Karl Helfern, who gained a reputation of "Dr. Death" after many of his illegal experiments were discovered, causing him to go off the grid. Bruce has a lead on who he could possibly get info about Helfern from, but Alfred suggests he maybe get the police involved, something Bruce doesn't take kindly to, as he emerges from a rope ladder, to find James Gordon waiting for him at the edge of the hole.

Gordon welcomes Bruce back into town, and commends him on the bravery he had shown at ACE Chemicals, but Bruce doesn't seem to want to speak with Gordon, after his parents are brought up. Gordon mentions something about the night the Waynes died and how Bruce is probably angry at him for his part, which, yep, he is, and triggers Bruce to get angry about something we don't quite know yet. So Gordon cuts the personal chit chat and gets down to business, and brings up the scientists, but Bruce doesn't engage. So Gordon has one more question, and that's what's in the hole he just came out of. Bruce tells him to look for himself, and once Gordon does, Bruce hits a button that triggers a sonic signal to have all the Bats fly out at once, into Gordon's face, then tells him that the manor's generators attracts the bats.

That night, Bruce pays a visit to Lucius Fox who is happy to see him. The two speak about Helfern, and Lucius confirms to Bruce that he had been working on the formula, which was very unstable. Fox then continues to tell Bruce that Helfern had become very unstable as well, and last he heard, was working in underground labs for private, unregulated clients. There was one more thing Lucius forgot to mention... the compound was equally his as well, and he injects Bruce with a syringe to the neck, telling him that Dr. Death is coming, and none one can stop him. Sure enough, Dr. Death shows up besides Lucius saying he's just getting started.

Then we got a back-up of Harper and Cullen Row in the dark. Their dad is a still a dirtbag drunk, who leaves them in the dark, which Cullen is afraid of. But Harper puts Cullen to bed, trying to comfort him in the dark. She tells him that i's not just him who is afraid, everyone is, but there are special people who stand up against all the fear. This of course is cut with images of everyone from Batman to Luke Fox, taking part in their various adventures. Harper manages to wire up a lamp to a battery for Cullen, and which his fears being settled, he says it's okay to turn it off, and the two go to bed.


The Good:

My not reading any interviews has paid off! I did not expect to see Dr. Death coming! We all knew Riddler was going to be here, I knew Ivy was going to show up too, but Dr. Death was a surprise. What was an even bigger surprise was the fact that Dr. Death seemed to be the main antagonist of this issue, Riddler just showed up on computer screen once. So, that said, the book definitely kept me on my toes, and like with most of Zero Year, it's hard to know what to expect, in a good way. I mean, that Lucius Fox moment? Truly WTF. That's why I like Zero Year, folks.

The Bad:

Zero Year is a lot like The Black Mirror, one large arc, broken up into smaller arcs, something Snyder hasn't really done since The Black Mirror. I like the format, because it breaks things up into more digestible segments, but it comes at a price. Last issue was fucking great. Fast paced, heavy on the action, and even heavier on the crazy, but with a new arc within the larger one, this felt like the foot was taken off the gas pedal a bit. You can't go barreling in through turns, that's for sure, but there's still a little part of me that was just bummed in the slightest that things slowed back down.

The Bottom Line:

With the start of a new arc, despite the pace slowing down a bit, Zero Year continues to remain surprising, to say the least. Expecting more Riddler? Well, joke's on you, because this issue does what Zero Year does best, and completely screws with any expectations one may have gong in, and screws with them in the best way possible.



  1. Indeed a strange but expected change of pace. I was betting months ago, the old villain would be the mad monk and Snyder managed to surprise me though Doctor Death has already been featured in recent pre-52 continuity (Dini and others) but he manages to give him an original and utterly vreepy treatment. And that Lucius Fox ? Totally unexpected. Zero Year is a fan's mind f**k but of the best kind ! :D Also, military ?

  2. I liked that this issue was slowed down, it let Snyder room to really set the mood and villain of the next few issues, Dr. Death

  3. Somewhat related: I know you don't want to read the interviews, but there was a comment Snyder made at CBR about the Red Hood/Joker thing that I found hilarious.

    At this point he's pretty much just saying "Red Hood is the proto-Joker. Though he's not necessarily the Joker. Although he absolutely is. But he may not be. Though he is. Depending on how you see it. But it is the Joker!"

    I don't mind giving the Clown Prince of Crime a new "actual" origin, to be honest - I think he did it well enough by not giving him an actual name, not even showing his face or what he ever did besides being Red Hood One. I like that.

  4. I'm betting that Riddler doesn't come to the forefront until the final arc. They're gonna keep teasing him until then. I hope Catwoman shows up for the final arc, too. She's so important to the mythos and her involvement in Batman's origin story is one thing I'd definitely like to keep from Year One. We'll see.

  5. its not luke fox that the cut away is for, its john stewart

    1. No, it is. John is bottom left, Luke is middle right.