Batman: Volume 5: Zero Year – Dark City [The New 52] by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and Fco Plasscencia (graphic novel review)

‘Batman: Volume 5: Zero Year – Dark City’ is a big book, reprinting Batman # 25-27; 29-23. Quite what happened to # 28, beats me if it’s a filler.

Now in costume, Bruce Wayne as the Batman has multiple problems. The Riddler has disrupted Gotham City’s electrical supplies once and is planning to do it again. He also has to evade Commissioner Loeb and his police force out for his blood and work out whether Lieutenant Jim Gordon is bent or not. There’s also a little matter of dead bodies of Wayne Enterprises scientists being discovered with extended bones, although that gets a little better when the killer gets the moniker Dr. Death. You do have to wonder where Wayne finds the time to build his equipment and various transport.

Really, its Edward Nigma aka the Riddler pulling strings and using this as a smokescreen for when he takes over Gotham City’s electricity supply and uses Pamela Isley’s plants to clog the city and keep the city closed down, promising to only release it if someone can give him a riddle he can’t solve. He also declares this is now Zero Year.

Bruce Wayne has also been unconscious over a month but kept on a drip by a family who took him in and has to co-ordinate the attack on the Riddler while bomber jets have been set from outside to attack.

That’s the gist of the plot and it is intense. The Riddler is even more megalomaniacal than the Joker, really raising the game and nearly succeeding. Don’t forget, Bruce Wayne as the Batman is still only starting up, relying on determination and luck to pull through. He’s a fast learner but the story works simply because you don’t know whether he’ll win in this New 52 reality. I can see why it attracted readers. No matter the reality, we need to see fallible heroes, even in continuing series, having to learn from their mistakes than endlessly getting the upper hand.

GF Willmetts

June 2024

(pub: DC Comics, 2013. page graphic novel softcover. Price: varies. ISBN: 978-1-4012-5335-6)

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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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