The Hero’s Journey, Monomyths and Batman Ascends – Looking at ‘Zero Year’

A quick note before we begin: I think in order to understand what ‘Zero Year’ was trying to accomplish, it’s necessary to talk about everything in it — the plot points, the twists, and the ending. There’s a school of thought saying that the only way a piece of work is finished is when people start talking and engaging with it, and skirting around events in the story doesn’t seem to make any sense. So, just a warning, there will be spoilers all through this.

Also: as much as I wanted to talk about this book on its own, this story was the first time Batman received a major comics canon reboot since “Year One” by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. In a lot of ways it’s a reaction to that book as well. So there are spoilers for that story, too.

With that out of the way, let’s begin.

Throughout ‘Zero Year,’ Bruce Wayne, both in and out of the cowl, is frequently asked, “What do you love about Gotham?” This question comes at him in various forms; from his father and Alfred, from The Riddler, Red Hood One, and his Uncle Philip. Every time he sets out on another adventure, he has to try to figure out exactly why he wants to fight for a city as broken as Gotham. It’s not until he can properly answer that question, until he can properly determine his purpose, that he’s able to justifiably become the hero Gotham needs.

At the same time, through every twist and turn of this giant epic storyline, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (with Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia) seem to ask themselves, and us, “What is it that you love about Batman?” What draws us to this dude who dresses up like Dracula, jumps across rooftops, and battles an enormous array of bad guys with his brawn and wits and flair? There’s plenty Snyder offers us to answer his question. He and Capullo deliver numerous scenes where Batman bursts into a room and punches out a bunch of jerks — certainly, there’s hardly a more satisfying moment than when Batman K.O.s The Riddler, and then face stomps him for good measure. They load him up with boss gadgets and killer vehicles. They give him a big, tangible villain to fight.

More importantly, over the 12 chapters in this book (13, if you count the Zero Issue, but I’m not sure how that fits in with this), they give a sweeping view of the various incarnations of the Bat. Capullo provides images evoking the original detective from Bill Finger (and Bob Kane, I guess); the vengeful social crusader from Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams; and the brutal, militant brawler of Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and David Mazzucchelli. There are even elements from Christopher Nolan and Tim Burton, with maybe a little eye-winking at the Adam West version of the character to boot. Most evident are the family-centered patriarch from Paul Dini and Bruce Timm and the legendary hero of Grant Morrison.

The fact that all these Batman variations come up in Snyder and Capullo’s book should come as no surprise. After all, the entire premise of “Death of the Family” involved the Joker taking a stroll through memory lane. And revisiting the past, or seeing how choices from the past have lingering consequences in the present, is a motif that’s frequently popped up in Snyder’s work.

But by acknowledging all these stories that came before, Snyder and Capullo are able to seriously sit down and think about what makes Batman work. Laying it all out on the table, they push us to wonder: why do we love Batman so much?

The Call to Adventure

Okay, we all know Batman’s basic origin story — and part of the reason it works so well, that the character has been able to survive for 75 years, is the simplicity of it. After his parents are killed in an act of random street violence, Bruce Wayne broods, grows angry, and decides it’s time to punish all criminals. And that scene is definitely in here — though it’s not used as a prologue, but in a moment of pure emotional duress for Bruce. One brilliantly imagined scene in the third issue features the Red Hood Gang attacking Bruce at his townhome. Snyder and Capullo infer the Thomas and Martha murder by having Red Hood One shoot through this portrait of the couple. By teasing the actual murders, by playing to the fact we already know what happens, there’s this stronger impact on the scene — definitely one stronger than the full flashback scene later in the series.

In order to strike fear in that cowardly lot, he dons a suit, becomes a monster (“To fight monsters, he had to create a monster”), and then battles an array of villains for the soul and well-being of his city, in the hopes that no one should have to experience what he felt in that back alley. No secret serums. No alien visitation. Just a straight-up “I’m going to do this” attitude with excellent follow-through. Of course, it helps that Bruce Wayne is super rich and super smart.

If the basic premise stays the same, that cannot also be said of the interpretation of the creative time and the world the story’s taking place in. ‘Zero Year’ isn’t just a story that modernizes Batman’s origins — and these are origins that desperately needed to be brought up to date. Don’t get me wrong, Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s ‘Year One’ is a masterpiece of the medium, and probably the best thing Miller has ever produced, but that world does not exist anymore. ‘Year One’ is a dark book, a gritty, sparse, and brutal book, with Mazzuchelli’s artwork evoking a desperate and hopeless city street, the kind of place Miller was seeing around him. It owes more than its fair share to the New York City of Martin Scorsese or John Carpenter. It’s a product of its place and time and the mental state of its creator.

So instead of a dark crime drama, Snyder and Capullo provide a very vibrant and bright epic. While ‘Year One’ was a lean and mean 96 pages, ‘Zero Year’ is full almost to bloatation, stuffed into 355 crazy pages. While ‘Year One’ mostly looked at how Batman and Lieutenant Gordon became partners in a corrupt and twisted metropolis, the plot of ‘Zero Year’ involves natural disasters, drones, domestic terrorism and identity theft, in addition to the beginning development of the extended Bat-family. Richmond Lewis filled ‘Year One’ with all these shades of blue and red, while FCO Plascencia throws down brilliant hues of purple and pink.

‘Zero Year’ comes out at a time when DC, as a company, seems to be in that undergraduate mentality that the only stories that are important, the only things worth talking about, have to be dark and gritty. They have to be bleak and depressing and God forbid if anyone dares to crack a smile or a joke. The problem with this company-wide grimness is that none of it is exactly earned. It’s like editorial told their creators, “Make it grim and make it depressing, because that’s the only way we’ll be taken serious.” I mean, when Geoff Johns was talking about “Forever Evil,” he told Dave Finch that “Darkness was [their] thematic.” And I don’t think there’s a problem with stories growing dark and grim or being serious — but that’s when you put emotional stakes into the story. That’s when you know to balance out the intensity with a joke or two. That’s when you figure out that the core conflict can only be engaging if you’re empathizing with the central character.

Think about this: if Luke Skywalker, fresh off Tatooine, had been thrown up against the Emperor in the second Death Star, would it have had the same resonance? Or if Harry Potter immediately went through the Battle of Hogwarts in his First Year? Or if Buffy had faced down the First Evil right when Giles said, “Welcome to Sunnydale”? These moments are dark and intense, but we’ve watched the characters grow and make mistakes and learn and challenge themselves, and the direness of their situation has a far more resounding impact because we’ve invested so much of ourselves in them.

Which is something I think a vast majority of the current DC line is lacking. In many ways, Snyder and Capullo are reacting to the world their Batman is being released in. I know ‘Death of the Family’ got uncomfortable for some readers, and I saw it dismissed as “Dark for the sake of being dark” a couple times, which I feltwas an incredibly lazy criticism. To me, it was a way of saying, “This book was eerie and scary in a way I’m not comfortable with, but I don’t want to think about it or engage with it to understand why, so I’ll dismiss it as being too dark.” But while I thought the darkness was effective in ‘Death of the Family’ (because Snyder and Capullo spent so much time establishing how Bats relates to his family, and giving him moments of true concern and horror as they encounter the Joker), I don’t think the same could be said for “Teen Titans” or the first “Green Arrow” arcs or the Justice League books or, hell, anything with Superman in them. “Wonder Woman,” though, that one earns everything. But I digress.

From a certain point, I could see why DC would say, “Brooding and sad, dark and grim, all the time.” First of all, they’ve been trying to remake The Dark Knight with every superhero they own the license for. And if it’s Batman, it has to have elements of Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” or ‘Year One’, because those were Big and Important and Critically Acclaimed Books that showed “DC Comics Aren’t Just for Kids.” I think the editors have failed to realize how hysterical “Dark Knight Returns” is, how bananas-crazy it gets, and that for as brooding and adult as it comes across, it still has a sense of humor to it. (That animated movie refused to acknowledge this — and that movie is awful.)

Secondly, the world we’re dealing with just seems so hopeless and jacked up. There’s this feeling we can’t do anything about it. In the last act of the story, The Riddler broadcasts himself on this giant TV on the side of a building, and he looks down at the hopeless people of Gotham and laughs at them. He’s the only one living comfortably in Gotham. And though everyone gathers against him, since he has managed to grab all the power for himself he simply waves them off, taunts them. Not too difficult a parallel to make to the 1%, who continue growing and demanding and crippling, but unchecked because everyone’s afraid of what they can do if they decide to quit it all. The Riddler also sends out these weapon-laden drones to patrol in his wake; he’s always watching, and he always seems to know what’s going on in everyone’s lives. It’s a complete invasion of privacy, and he’s playing these games and experiments with people mostly because he can.

Even Bruce, for a little while, uses blimps to keep an eye on Gotham. But they all go down in the storm, shot down by natural forces, and it’s one of the mistakes he makes in trying to figure out his purpose.

Now, while ‘Zero Year’ never gets as dark as ‘Death of the Family,’ it’s not a story that doesn’t have grim overtones. Snyder and Capullo are aware of the world this Batman is climbing into, both in our reality and the current continuity of the DC offices. But the book starts off with a boy exploring his city, and ends with a man who loves his home so much he’s willing to sacrifice himself for it. The book gets dark because we’re invested in Batman’s investment in Gotham. We understand the stakes he’s facing, and how his character so readily associates with the city. His adventure has more to do with him trying to make his home a better, safer place, and goes on to get him to understand why he needs to fight for it.

Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli set Batman out on a vendetta against crime and corruption. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo puts him on a hero’s journey.

The Road of Trials

‘Zero Year’ is a story knowingly steeped in myth. Classic Batman elements already lend themselves to many of the common archetypes. There’s the prodigal son returning home. There’s the wizened mentor who guides him through his obstacles and ordeals. There’s the development of a group of friends who help him out along the way. The character’s own arrogance often stifles and complicates matters at a crucial point in the story. It’s the same stuff we’ve seen from Hercules, Harry Potter, and Luke Skywalker.

For his part, Snyder doesn’t do much to toy with the actual hero’s journey. Yet, by embracing the archetypes and handling Batman’s progression through it without irony, Snyder opens up the myth of Batman, and lays out all the parts on the table. After all, for as flawed and broad as the monomyth is, it basically boils down to a hero fighting for change — generally for the better. It’s about progression and enlightenment and saving the world. And what’s Batman fighting for if not the betterment of Gotham? With this as their launching off point, Snyder and Capullo are able to sneak in plenty of motifs about redemption and rebirth, about questions and answers, and honor and shame.

It’s no accident that Nygma and Bruce first meet at the feet of the Sphinx — or that the climax of the story takes place, again, at the feet of Sphinx. In myth, the Sphinx guarded the city of Thebes, devouring travelers who failed to answer her riddle. She was a teacher of wisdom and her riddle about what has four legs in the morning, two in the day, and three at night was meant to be introspective, so the person being asked the question might look in on themselves and consider their place in the grand scheme of the universe. (This myth, like most stories, became changed dramatically over the years, to paint her as a monstrous villain who makes Oedipus look more badass, rather than someone who challenged him on a level beyond his comprehension.)

The Sphinx first appears in the second issue, in an empty corridor of a museum. Bruce Wayne, freshly returned from his travels abroad, meets Edward Nygma, and they have a little tete-a-tete before Wayne arrogantly escapes. In no uncertain terms, Nygma hints to Bruce that he’s going to cause problems, and though Bruce’s blunt and quick responses to Nygma are technically right, he seems to miss the broader picture. Capullo renders this sequence in this labyrinthine path, which makes Ngyma’s toying with Bruce all the more intense. Essentially, Bruce fails the riddle this first time, doesn’t see what’s threatening Gotham right in front of him — even though Nygma’s basically telling him, “Yo, I’m gonna mess this stuff up.” And so, Gotham is closed to him. He has to continue his journey.

When he encounters the Sphinx again, at the end, he’s been humbled, he’s reached out for help, he’s had experience, and has learned about what it means to be a hero to the city. So when he’s finally ready to answer again, he gets it right. (Metaphorically. In the plot, he waits for his friends to come through and then beats up The Riddler.)

Also, take a look at how Capullo stages each of these sequences. In the first, Bruce walks alongside it, unconcerned, just looking to get out of that party. He’s arrogant. He’s angry. He doesn’t want to be there. In the second part, after his journey is almost over, he’s facing directly at the Sphinx. It’s one more hurdle for him to endure before he can save his city, but he’s as prepared as he’s ever going to be.

Remember when I was talking about Batman having to figure out why he cares about Gotham at every turn? That’s the Sphinx’s question for this book.

But what does this have to do with today? Why is using mythological archetypes the necessary way to reboot Batman’s origin? Why does it help us think about why we like Batman so much?

Consider: The Riddler assumes a throne, the High King role, after he cripples the city. He watches over Gotham with a giant eye from his place in a tower. He has drones patrolling the skies, moving through the sewers, and eking out every nook and cranny, searching for anyone who’s trying to undermine his master plan. The Red Hood Gang is comprised primarily of white-collar people being blackmailed by Red Hood One into carrying out his acts of terrorism. None of them seem in particular to want to help, but they don’t see any other choice. Dr. Death has a miracle cure that, partly due to lack of financial support (but mostly due to him being completely bonkers), has these awful side effects of making his bones distort his entire body and he becomes the monster lingering in the shadows, which hints at these experimental flu tests and pathogens scientists are creating which are leaving even more terrible repercussions.

Sure, these are shrouded in fantasy, but what makes them terrifying is that it’s not uncommon to hear about this every time we turn on the news. Myths have a relevancy to them, a way of tying exploiting and exploding these circumstances to make them all the more terrifying and intense — and we start trying to comprehend them by watching a figure like Batman deal with their solutions.

The Magic Flight

Part of Batman’s journey involves learning there needs to be people he can trust.

Snyder has mentioned before that he wanted to deal with a rebirth and fate story for this new origin, and the very opening shot of the book is a dilapidated Wayne Tower — essentially the symbol of royalty — amidst a dying city. There are also numerous scenes where characters are climbing up something: Gordon sneaks up a tower in the ninth issue. Batman has to pull himself out of pits on a nearly regular basis. It’s a literal way to show them overcoming their obstacles and coming out on the other side a different being.

At the start of the book, Bruce refuses help from anyone. He infiltrates the Red Hood Gang by himself and sort of fails at doing anything to stop them. He won’t listen to Alfred or his uncle (who, okay, did have ulterior motives) or Gordon, brushing off their opinions as irrelevant and worthless, even though they’re all telling him the city needs a hero, a figure people can look up to.

I remember when I was first reading this book, and got to the scene where Bruce decides he will become Batman. I was disappointed that Snyder didn’t have him call for Alfred right away, that Bruce just said, “Yes, Father. I shall become a bat,” and then the chapter ended. As Grant Morrison pointed out, and this was something that stuck with me, the first thing Bruce does when he decides to be Batman is call for help. He rings the bell, and Alfred rushes in to patch up his wounds.

However, Snyder holds off on showing Alfred actively helping Bruce again until the end. And I think that had a greater impact on this story.

Batman needs his friends. In fact, his extended family is one of the most endearing elements to his character.  And a good portion of this book deals with Batman developing a friendship with Gordon and Lucius Fox. Those two are just as broken and disheartened by the city as Bruce: Lucius is racked with guilt over helping Dr. Death develop his bone regeneration serum, but like with ‘Year One,’ it’s Gordon’s arc that really shines through here.

Snyder has Gordon introduced to Gotham much earlier — already walking his beat when Bruce was 10. In a flashback scene, Gordon arrests young Bruce Wayne for skipping school. He and his partner continue their beat on the way to the station, with Bruce tagging along in the backseat, and Bruce is kind of awe-struck about being with them, pleased that they seem to be doing good for the city. He’s even a little happy when Gordon gets a coat from a neighborhood store — until he realizes that it was a pay-off. This paints his bitterness to Gordon for a good decade, until he hears the story of how Gordon keeps the coat because it gives him a sense of shame, a reminder he almost fell victim to Gotham’s wiles and gradually starts to accept Gordon as an ally.

(Gordon actually comes around to Batman first, during the blackout sequence, when he notes Batman’s the only one doing anything to help people.)

There’s a sort of satisfying resolution toward the end with that coat: during a dinner, Gordon goes to pick it up from check, but is given a new, identical one. It says he doesn’t have to be ashamed for caring about Gotham any more, and that, because Bruce gave him the costume, he’s an integral part of the Bat-family.

This makes for another crucial difference between ‘Year One’ and ‘Zero Year': I don’t see much optimism between Gordon and Batman when they decide to work together to save Gotham’s soul. There’s a respect there, but I think it’s out of necessity, out of  the fact they have to band together because they’re the only ones not being bought and sold by the mob. In ‘Zero Year,’ the two of them earn a respect and responsibility for each other. Their relationship feels more authentic and hard wrought.

Of course, much of this also hinges on how Frank Miller clearly portrays Batman as a man outside of the law, a vigilante, a madman in his own right. Snyder, as we’ve been talking about, treats him as a mythological hero, and that Batman in the Real World element doesn’t appeal much to him. Those two perspectives are obviously going to change the way the characters approach and interact with each other.

The Master of Two Worlds 

I mentioned earlier that Snyder and Capullo use this book to give an overview to the history of the character, and the allusive quality of it gives us a way to think about our favorite incarnations of the Bat. I also think that the old Batmans are being put into play because Snyder wants to move past those perceptions. It’s his way of acknowledging how each time period has needed Batman to take on different tasks and challenges, but also to show how these don’t really hold up in our current climate.

In ‘Zero Year,’ Batman quickly learns that acting out a sense of vengeance doesn’t work. Acting out of pure anger and spite more often than not leaves him as a crumpled heap on the ground. He spends some time as the crime-fighting detective, but that gets set aside when he fails to save Red Hood One and gets the cops all angry at him. (Of course.) He goes on his vendetta mission as the storm comes in closing, but he misses anything with Dr. Death, and easily falls into a trap Dr. Death and The Riddler have set up. He tries running on pure anger, but that blinds him to even bigger plots and motivations from The Riddler.

I think because we spend so much time moving past the earlier references to the Batman, by the time the ending comes up, Batman’s purpose seems so much more, well, heroic.

The penultimate issue features Batman willing to sacrifice himself. In total Harry Potter heading toward Voldemort style, he goes to invade the villain’s lair and confront him, and it’s here that he finally realizes what his purpose is to the city. He answers the question, to an imaginary Alfred (another monomyth trope: atonement with the father), but knows he’s going to delete the recording, so really he’s talking to himself. I’m going to post part of the monologue here:

And then he sacrifices himself. The Riddler has the entire electrical power of the city running off his heartbeat and he warns Batman that to dislodge it would be to finally send Gotham into total darkness, and that it would take something like 10,000 volts to reboot the system. Without even a thought, without a moment to even consider what he’s doing, Batman straps himself in and saves everyone. Of course. Because he’s Batman.

Snyder and Capullo hit the conclusion that we don’t love Batman because he’s human, because we get this sense that with a lot of exercise and studying and resources we can achieve something like him. We love Batman, or at least these guys loves Batman, because he never stops. He never gives up.

In the end, when he’s answering the question to why Gotham needs Batman, Bruce realizes it’s not so much about being a guardian to the city, or going on some personal vendetta against this unstoppable evil, but to be an inspiration to the city, to be the kind of role model people see who falls — and who falls a whole hell of a lot of the time — but picks himself right back up again and continues to fight. It’s not like with Superman, who’s problems are more grandiose and moral, or Wonder Woman, whose issues are more ethical and compassionate and egalitarian.  Batman is probably more about perseverance and determination and trying and trying even past the point of failure. And it’s that characteristic which defines the character, which makes us go, “Jeez, Batman is crazy,” but still root for him, still empathize with him, and still hope that we have something of him in ourselves.

Freedom to Live

Now all this wouldn’t work if ‘Zero Year’ didn’t feature expert, exceptional production. Capullo definitely brings it for all 355 pages, not just with visceral and vibrant framings and compositions, but with clever transitions and his own set of inevitably classic images. Check out that sequence in the warehouse, where Batman plows through some goons on the back of another goon, and then turns around and runs on top of their heads back to his starting position.

Or when Batman faces off a bunch of lions.

One of my favorite transitions comes at the start of issue #30/Chapter 8, where a bad guy points a gun directly at us, but in the next panel, we pull out to realize that it’s a poster on the wall of the police station, hanging above Thomas, Martha, and Bruce Wayne’s head just hours before their eventual murder.

Capullo also digs reflections for this book — I’m talking a Spielbergian level of reflective imagery — from the Red Hood’s helmet to Gordon’s glasses. And it’s all distorted reflections, so the fact he pulls it off beautifully makes it all the more intriguing. He likes object-to-object transitions, especially with eyes. This gives the book a fluid movement through the narratives, making it difficult to pause reading until the end of the chapter. And while his layouts may be a little standard and never stray far into the experimental or radical (like P. Craig Russell or J. H. Williams III or David Aja), the man knows how to build up to a splash or a full spread, because you turn those pages and it’s like a visceral knock-out.

I think Greg Capullo is doing some exceptional work on Batman across the board. You can see him challenging himself with every image, every panel, doing whatever he can to get it just right. I admit, I never knew who he was before this, and I went back after I started reading “Batman” to look at his older stuff, the growth he’s made, the way he’s pushed himself to be better. His sense of staging and action almost always retains its intensity and terror while remaining coherent and practical. Think about the scene where Gordon and the SWAT guys are cornered by The Riddler and he plays a dominoes game with several buildings. Or when Batman faces off with Dr. Death on that rigged weather balloon.

I also really dig how bright the whole book is. The colors Plascencia pulls out are vibrant and almost trippy, and I think they truly balance the far more supernatural elements with the realistic situations. This is especially evident at the end of the book, when Gotham is a wasteland disaster. His palette has this neon sheen to it, and that gives the book this slightly disjointed atmosphere, this hallucinogenic tone. And while Plascencia’s work in the wasteland sections is definitely strong, check out the storm from issue #29/Chapter 7. The explosive, purple and pink colors and non-normal storm palette provide an unsettling intensity, because Plascencia knows even moderately funky colors can make an almost typical scene of the Bat-zeppelin getting a jump on the police blimps distinctive and a new experience. I think it makes the scene feel more dangerous and intense because it’s not visuals we’re used to seeing.

And Plascencia manages to keep that up throughout this entire event!

One of the reasons “Batman” works, and is consistently in the top mainstream comics being released right now, is because Snyder and Capullo have developed a bond akin to, well, Batman and Gordon. They understand each other. They’ve figured out which sequences might require additional narration and which ones can exist on simply images. They’ve figured out each other’s weaknesses and strengths and have managed to play to that. Take a look back at their opening story, ‘The Court of Owls,’ and you’ll see how far the two of them have come since starting out.

Therefore, it’s their relationship, their collaboration, their desire to continue pressing and challenging each other in telling these stories that help make them so enjoyable.

‘Zero Year’ is another strong entry into the Snyder/Capullo Batman run. It’s long and bombastic, bizarre and twisted.

Sure, there are moments that are rough (his dazed decision to become Batman didn’t really connect with me), or parts that are meandering (see: the first three issues), and even sometimes fall into saccharine schmaltz (Gordon saving Batman in the bay; though I realize I talked at length about the importance of this scene, I don’t think it quite hit the right emotional note). And there’s not much room for any female characters either — which is actually sort of odd as I look through Snyder’s bibliography.

But for the vast majority of the book, it’s a fast, fun, bonkers, and interesting look at Batman’s origins. And I think Snyder and Capullo have been successful at building on all the stories that have come before them. By acknowledging and playing homage to the various incarnations of the Bat, they’ve been able to help put him into this mythical realm, to make him mean something more than just another superhero fighting bad guys.

The DC Trinity all give us something to aspire toward — you have Superman with Hope and Optimism; Wonder Woman with Love, Compassion, Justice, and Equality; and Batman, with Determination and Inspiration. There’s a certain relevancy to that true grit Batman possesses that we look for today — that sense that even though everything is falling apart, even though we’re failing left and right, even though all these big, greedy people are gaining more and more power for themselves, there’s still someone out there who will continually pick himself up and keep fighting.

He’s not on a vendetta mission anymore, he’s not out for strict vengeance or to be the God of Justice. Batman realizes, and Snyder and Capullo realize, that he needs to show he will be willing to keep going till the very end.

Isn’t that what we look for in our heroes? Isn’t that why we’re so drawn to Buffy, Harry, Luke, Jason, and Perseus? These people who continue fighting on and on, even when everything has been turned to absolute garbage and there’s little hope left in the world? The people who are here not necessarily to lead us or save us, but to inspire us to persevere?

For all the awesome situations Snyder, Capullo, Miki, and Plascencia have put him through, I think there’s something a bit more gripping about Batman.

We completed the Hero’s Journey with the Bat, and not only has Gotham changed, but so has our greatest detective, which helps bring him into a new world.

About The AuthorMatthew GarciaMatt hails from Colorado. He can be found on Twitter as @MattSG or over on his Tumblr.

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User's Comments
  • eyeballs & ears

    Absolutely fantastic deep analysis, really well done. More of these.

    Zero Year has been a great read month by month and I am defiantly looking forward to the long read. The art team has hit its stride with this arc, creating a district and dynamic book that stands toe to toe with the masterpieces that came before it. One hopes things can only continue to improve going forward.

  • Julio Jimenez

    Snyder and Capullo will go down in history as one of the best teams to ever do Batman. Zero Year was brilliant and a joy to read each month. Thanks for this amazing in depth analysis!

  • Sean

    Great analysis!

    Something that surprised me about Zero Year is, as you’ve very eloquently pointed out, that it’s lighter in tone than the bulk of Snyder’s and Capullo’s run so far, and that it developed to be a bit lighter towards the end.

    Also, thank you for pointing out the contributions of Greg Capullo and Plascencia. I’ve read a couple of analysis for the story arc that either didn’t give enough weight to their contributions or didn’t mention them at all.

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