Batman: Volume 4: Zero Year – Secret City [The New 52] by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Danny Miki (graphic novel review).

After the Joker’s demise, it did seem a bit weird to jump back six years and see Bruce Wayne returning to Gotham City. His uncle, Philip Kane, declared him dead to ensure the continued existence of Wayne Industries. You would have to wonder about that because Bruce Wayne was travelling the world, getting experience, training, and knowledge, so he must have been spending some money that could have been traced.

Anyway, he’s back in Gotham, a master of disguise, and out to stop the Red Mask criminal gang. He also gets a sharp reminder from Alfred Pennyworth that he’s not perfect and is making a lot of mistakes. All of this culminates in him adopting the persona of the Bat or Batman and gradually regaining control over Wayne Industries, particularly after he discovers that the Red Mask gang has been pilfering its weapons. Without giving too much away, it’s worth noting that you might be a member of the Red Mask gang. However, why you choose to hide behind that helmet is a mystery to me, especially considering the height of their leader’s helmet.

Some elements are common to all of the Batman myths over the years, but this time we get to see the big coin on display outside of the Wayne Industries building. We also get to see characters such as the Riddler and Penguin before they gain their more well-known identities. It’s interesting to see a more fallible Bruce Wayne, but it makes sense that he couldn’t have been perfect from the start.

The inclusion of the Batman origin further into the series defies tradition, with the only significant difference being that he doesn’t see a bat come through his lounge window, but is more aware of them below in the batcaves beneath Wayne Manor.

GF Willmetts

May 2024

(pub: DC Comics, 2014. page graphic novel softcover. Price: varies. ISBN: 978-1-4012-4508-5)

check out website: www.dc.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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