Batman Vol. 4: Zero Year-Secret City (The New 52) (Anglais) Relié – 13 mai 2014
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"This is a book you need to read. Whether you're a fan of comics or not."—Huffington Post
"One of the best Batman runs in the history of the character."—IGN
"A+. The hero's got personality (and is unafraid to release a quip as sharp as a Batarang), a horde of supervillains, gumption to spare and a whole host of high-tech gadgetry to suitably impress longtime fans and those new to the Dark Knight."—USA Today
Présentation de l'éditeur
Before the era of superheroes began—before the Batman spread his wings to protect the innocent and punish evil—Gotham City's prodigal son, Bruce Wayne, had been missing for years. But this was exactly the cover of darkness Bruce needed. Patrolling Gotham's streets, in a series of disguises, he began a career as faceless vigilante.
Collects BATMAN issues #21-#24.
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BATMAN VOL.4: ZERO YEAR - SECRET CITY collects issues #21-23 with backup stories, issue 24 is double-sized, and BATMAN #21 DIRECTORS CUT script. ZERO YEAR is divided into three chapters: Secret City (where volume 4 takes place), Dark City, and Savage City (which volume 5 appears to have both chapters).
******Side Note********(Amazon has the wrong solicitation. It does not include issue #0 and Batman Annual #2).
Taking place 6 years ago from the start of the New 52, Bruce Wayne has returned to Gotham City after all his years training across the globe and has started his war on crime, yet he is unsure of how to accomplish this just yet. He faces a powerful gang leader called the Red Hood as they have been terrorizing Gotham slowly overtaking it and stealing numerous commodities. Bruce is trying numerous methods to combat the Red Hood gang with disguises, hi-tech equipment, and personal insight from Alfred (who doesn't approve of Bruce's methods or career choice of fighting crime like this) and nothing is working. All the while trying to keep his own identity secret from the public that Bruce Wayne has returned to Gotham (the city thinks he is dead), including his uncle Philip Kane, who is in charge of Wayne Corporation, and Philips trusted advisor, Edward Nigma. Bruce see's this war of his is not going to be as straightforward and easy as he thought it was. He needs to be something more. He needs to be a symbol for the city...
Aside from the general description, I will not give any spoilers as what happens. I will say this: it's still an pretty well paced story with action, character building, and the inevitable moment where Bruce finally dons the cape and cowl that Snyder takes the trotted route we all know and love about Bruce and takes the differences done by Miller and makes aspects fans feel familiar, yet different enough. For new fans who never read Year One, this will be stunning spectacle to see before you. It feels like Chris Nolans Batman Begins/Tim Burton's 89'Batman rolled up together with numerous little winks and nods to past Batman lore since his creation. I can hear Hans Zimmer score of "Molossus" during the reading especially issue #24, the double-sized issue where Bruce Wayne finally dons the costume and makes for a thrilling climax.
Miller's Year One was all about Batman slowly getting adjusted to Gotham and fighting crime, he was slow and methodical, the Batman/Alfred angle was already established, Batman fought only at night, using more hand-to-hand fighting, more inter-dialoguing on Bruce's thoughts, and fighting traditional thugs and corrupt cops to the climax. Snyder on the other hand builds a similar narrative but hits different beats to get there. This is about Bruce Wayne running around Gotham wearing disguise of other criminals to blend in, he's angry and impatient, Bruce and Alfred have friction over how to fight crime, Bruce fights in broad daylight, he uses more hi-tech equipment, his thoughts and actions show through with the characters he talks to, and he is fighting the Red Hood Gang. This is enough little differences to make a fun and unique read where even if you know how and why Bruce becomes the Dark Knight, it still is an engaging read none the less.
The further differences is Red Hood, (who most fans already know who he is, or, what he becomes) a genius with a sense of chaos and anonymity that make for a great character study, especially since fans already know his ultimate fate to what's to come, especially since Snyder left some little nods in his last arc from "Death of the Family". The inclusion of an old character Philip Kane as Wayne Corp figurehead adds more emotion and reasoning for Bruce Wayne the character that is needed. And my personal favorite Bat-villain, The Riddler, AKA Edward Nigma, before he ever became the living question mark, gets his time to shine as boarding force of intelligent nature that plays a low key in this volume but it's played perfectly. Not too many writers can actually write Nigma as the intellectual genius he is, and Snyder nails it. Nigma only plays a smart part in this volume, but he'll definitely play a much bigger role in the next arcs.
Additionally, the backup stories tell of Bruce Wayne during his time across the globe training. These stories are not necessary, but enjoyable. Seeing how he learned to drive a vehicle and learn to lose his chasers, to trying to escape for his life in a cube, to fighting hordes of men without resorting to killing are enjoyable. These stories are co-written by Snyder and James Tynion IV.
Where would the power of Snyder's scripts be without the work of Greg Capullo. The man sells a great deal of returning to Batman's origins and yet makes for a cinematic feel that, again, feels like I'm watching Chris Nolan's Batman Begins. The pages riffed with little winks and nods to previous Batman lore, whole page spreads of showcasing a cleaned up Gotham, to Nygma's elaborate lair, to a whole reenactment of Detective Comics #27, to an ode to Frank Miller, and again, the Batman films. There is some gorgeous art and I have no problem with this. While American Vampire artist Rafael Albuquerque does the backup stories wonderfully.
All the while, we get the script to issue #21 in the back of the book.
Now although I enjoyed this book and the Snyder/Capullo team, I'm not giving this a perfect 5 star rating. It's a 4 ½ score, but let me inform you why. As I mentioned before, new fans who may not have ever picked up a Batman comic before, or ever really knew his origins before, or never read Frank Millers Year One will love this. But...for those who know their Batman and have read about it enough, the obvious is still here: it's an origin story. In fact, part 1 of 3 of an origin story. Nothing against it, but as much I enjoyed it, this is still covering old ground just in some different ways. If you're one of those guys burnt out on origin stories, you might not be balled over by this. After what Snyder has done with Court of Owls and Death of the Family, you might not like the idea of going back to an origin tale where you want to see the creative team go somewhere new.
Secondly, and this will sound weird, is the debate of not including #0 issue. This is a weird complaint, but here it is. #0 is/was a teaser of sorts for fans to enticing them for ZERO YEAR. You see it has a part in the story that the city already knows Bruce Wayne is in town and a different reenactment of a select scene in issue #22, collected in this volume. It doesn't necessarily match up with this volume, which explains why is wasn't collected. But here is the kicker: #0 issue still has a story of Red Hood that is quite good, explains more of Bruce's thoughts on Gotham, more Bruce/Alfred conflict talking, show more gadgets, and sets the tone and plot with Lieutenant Gordon. So although it does have some parts that might not have melded well with volume 4, a good deal of #0 is still pretty important and bolds well with parts of Secret City storyline. I'm sure DC will include it somewhere in the future in some odd-ball trade, and it makes sense, but I just cannot feel like DC could of edited parts of #0 and included them into this trade to fill out the book a little better. Seeing as this trade only has 3 issues, issue 24 being double-sized, and the backups make a tad overpriced (again, just a tad).
So, BATMAN VOL.4: ZERO YEAR - SECRET CITY prove Snyder and Capullo have shown they are one of the best creative teams in the industry for a reason. Even being so bold as to retreading old ground, the duo have managed to find some new nuggets for olds fans to gobble up. An enjoyable read, fantastic art, and good backups make for another great collection from Snyder and Capullo. Even though it's obvious trait is that it's an origin tale that has been done too many times before and the questionable debate about the reasoning/exclusion of #0. It's a great, but familiar ride. A 4 ½ star review round down to 4 stars. I want to see where this all ends up in the conclusion of ZERO YEAR, Batman Vol. 5: Zero Year-Dark City (Batman: the New 52)
But as they are all subjective arguments, that did not decrease my overall enjoyment of the story,
I will keep it with a 5/5 instead of the 4/5 I was originally planning on giving it.
(****Quick sidenote, this dose NOT include 'batman #0'or 'batman annual #2' ***)
Overall I really like this retelling of batman for the new 52, the writing is far better then the mess that was 'batman: earth one'.
Scott Snyder takes his dynamic writing, and fresh originally to highs not seen in most batman origin tales.
And it's a much lighter toned story then the other, and a nice relief from the extreme darkness of the 'Death of the family' arch .
-We get to see the story start out with some of Bruce Wayne's Pre-batman exploits, I'm not going to post any spoilers, but from the first few pages, you see a angry, arrogant, slightly childish Bruce take on a gang and save people.
And through the story, you see the character change into the man that serves as host for batman (in a sense.)
-The story dose a good job of showing the different stages of the process, in large contrast to the binary system we see in other hero, (and even some bataman) origin stories, were they go from just average joe, to self sacrificing hero in the matter of a few panels.
-Overall the artwork is very good, great color contrast, and good lighting,
character faces are very expressive, and you can almost read their minds buy just looking at their faces in some panels
-The action is in good moderation,
it dose not feel like one of those, "sit back and watch batman beat people up stories"
the fights have propose to the story, and are shown very well.
-Very engaging story,
once you start reading, you will constantly be wanting to know what happens next.
if you've read any of my other Scott Snyder batman reviews, you'll know this is an issue for me,
The way this book, is set up, and the way the issues are arranged, is much better then some of his other works.
but, after a pretty big event in the story, you see you have quite a few pages left, and expect some sort of clarification,
but instead you get flashbacks, and the rest of that even will be continued later.
As someone who reads the Volumes (collected works) instead of the issues, that means I'll have to wait 5 months for a conclusion to a story that instead of just cutting off at the Major event, just kinda put it on the back-burner for some back story.
(in my opinion) it would have been better to move the flashbacks from the end of the book, closer to the beginning,
as they would flow better with the Bruce to batman conversion.
-Some of the dialog
Again, very subjective, but I felt some of the dialog did not fit the characters, and situations, even Scott Snyder's interpretation of them. they have a few references to other batman material, even one to the 60's tv show, that I feel really dose not fit with the situation it's shown in.
Some other dialog is thrown in for dramatic effect, that seems a little to thought out to be something said in a quick moment,
and other line kinda feel a bit cheesy.
-There were a few other minor idea's and parts I did really feel worked, or fit with the story,
very minor things I can't really discuss without spoiling, but they were few and far between,
and did not affect my over all enjoyment, but when you read them, you'll be like..."um...alright.. moving on.."
I over all really enjoyed this story,
the minor complaints were really minor, and for the first time, I may actually pick up the issues of 'new 52 Batman' so I can find out the outcome without having to wait for volume #5!
It's a fresh new look on the origins of batman, and Scott Snyder seems fully aware that people have become tired of the constant retelling of batman's origins, and so he crafts a new kind of story, something that set's it's self apart from the 'batman begins' the 'year ones' and the 'earth ones' he makes a 'Bruce Wayne begins' story, the transformation of the Man and the Myth.
As with “Year One,” Snyder’s origin gives us a Bruce Wayne trained and newly returned to Gotham, committed to his war on crime yet unsure of how best to accomplish his mission. Yet instead of the various crime families and corruption of Miller’s work, Snyder’s Wayne funds the Red Hood, a mysterious villain bent on demolishing the city. Since we are at the beginning, we likewise see Bruce and Alfred’s testy relationship as it restarts. Here Alfred doesn’t so much disapprove of Bruce’s goals as he does of his pre-Batman methods, believing that Gotham needs a symbol. Snyder also resurrects certain older characters, such as Batman’s uncle Philip Kane.
Where Snyder best hits his mark, however, is with the villains. Familiar readers know the Red Hood’s ultimate fate and “Zero Year” sets this up brilliantly, the Hood demonstrating both genius and madness as well as a carefully maintained anonymity. Indeed, my major complaint about this book is Snyder’s decision – I presume – to toss the classic Red Hood mask in favor of a tall half mask. Hard to take a master villain seriously, no matter how murderous, when he at best looks like a roller pen. The other stand out villain here is Edward Nigma, not yet become the Riddler, but given his rightful place at the dawning of the Batman legend. While many quite rightly understand the Joker at Batman’s spiritual dark reflection, Snyder recognizes that Nigma is the reflection of Batman’s intellect. I for one was thrilled to see him at last get his due.
A final and excellent bonus are the Batman “training” stories. Again, other readers have looked at this period of Bruce Wayne’s pre-Batman life before, but it makes for some excellent reading here as backup material.
With “Zero Year” Snyder takes a bold step in putting his own mark on the more than half-century old Batman legend. It was a risky move – the writer could have fallen flat. Instead, he mostly soars.
So Zero Year, I think most of you guys know that this is pretty much an origin story. If you are asking "What another origin story?" then this review is for you. I too thought that very same thought. I have been reading Synder's run since #1 and I was pretty annoyed when they released the solicitations and mentioned that this arc after the high of the joker arc was next. Who needs another Batman origin story, if you are a fan like me you know his stories back to front. But out of completeness sake (I want to collect the whole Synder run on TPB) I decided to pick this up. When I started reading however, Boy was I wrong. This book and the story is amazing. At this point I would like to mention that I have not read single issues or read their reviews.
Synder instead of going the route of year one decide to take a very different approach to this origin story. So instead of seeing Bruce Wayne's parents murdered, you start in the action. You see Wayne fighting right off the bat (pun unintended) as a faceless vigilante. And then Synder brilliantly includes flashbacks in the midst. The dialogue is superb and shows how much Synder knows about the source material. You see Bruce Wayne on the road to become Batman, something year one fails to expands (despite how wonderful it was and still is). This is a Batman origins story but it does not neglect the character of Bruce Wayne. All this while the comics have shown Batman and Bruce Wayne as 2 different characters and always point out that Wayne is the mask. But in this story there is no mask, Batman is Bruce Wayne and Bruce Wayne is Batman. This brings a new depth to our beloved Batman that no comic has ever touched before.
I read through the whole book in one seating and am already anticipating the next volume. I would say this, if you liked batman begins then you will feel right at home with this story. If you are a Batman fan DO NOT pass on this story!!! Kudos to Scott Synder for bringing us such a refreshing and engaging take on the batman origin story.