I review Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman #25, published by DC Comics.
Story: Scott Snyder (Backup: James Tynion IV) | Art: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki | Cover: Greg Capullo | Publisher: DC Comics
BATMAN: ZERO YEAR reaches a new level as The Riddler sends Gotham City into total darkness! “Dark City” begins in this issue that features an embossed cover.
And the ZERO YEAR blackout spreads into other titles this month, affecting heroes across the DC Universe!
Like all the $2.99 books have gone up to $3.99 for Zero Year, so too has Batman #25 gone up in price – to $4.99. The book doesn’t really deliver in terms of those of us who had been expecting a confrontation between the Riddler and Batman that the book teased at the end of last issue when Gotham was plunged into darkness – but it provides a pretty solid read nonetheless with some great artwork from Capullo as well as a solid backup storyline from James Tynion IV that looks at what Harper and Cullen Row got up to in Zero Year.
The story opens up in a way that will no doubt surprise the reader – it doesn’t take place in Gotham, but in the deserts of Nigeria, where a military convoy stumbles upon an unusual hatch lying there in the middle of nowhere. It’s unpredictable and we don’t get many answers before we’re back in Gotham City, the titular “Dark City” of this issue. We get to see several early nods to Batman’s backstory here – if you’ve ever wanted to wonder what the first Batmobile looked like in the New 52, then look no further than this issue.
I also enjoyed how the Batmobile was used – in this issue, the reaction of the GCPD being priceless as they watched the hot-rod driving circles around the Police – and it goes some way to prove that Bruce is very clearly not yet the Batman that we know in the present New 52 continuity. However, the design of the Batmobile doesn’t really work for me – it just feels too out of place which is a shame as I thought it could have been pulled off a lot better than what it was here.
There are problems though. I didn’t like the lengthy conversations that Bruce had between Alfred and Lucius respectively. Although saying that, I couldn’t help reading the words that Lucius said in the voice of Morgan Freeman – because at least in my opinion anyway, Freeman is the definitive Lucius for me and he just captures the man so well, and I’m glad that we get to see him take up a role in this issue.
Also, there’s plenty of cameos in this issue. We get a pre-Two Face Harvey Dent, a pre-Poison Ivy Pamela Ivy – and a much larger role for James Gordon – who comes close to discovering the Batcave when he pays a visit to Wayne Manor only to be foiled by Bruce in one of the best moments of the issue. The first major continuity error that I’ve encountered was the portrayal of Bullock in this issue – he’s drawn by Capullo as a man more in tune with the current era rather than his portrayal in Detective Comics #25 – as a younger man that’s more athletic. However – another important thing to note is that we actually get the reintroduction of Batman’s very first supervillain – something that will no doubt please hardcore fans.
Batman #25 then is another very strong issue despite what problems it suffers. I enjoyed the Harper Row backup story as well – even if it added little to the overall storyline of Zero Year – but it gives an interesting 2-page design of what is taking place elsewhere in the event for readers to get a full clarification of what’s happening elsewhere.