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Anarchy in the US
- Publié sur Amazon.com
After making a huge success in the New 52 with Batman, writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Cappullo are comics dynamic duo with modern day readers for the Caped Crusader. So far Snyder has focused on Gotham's underbelly by making the Court of Owls story and Jokers connection to Batman. But now Snyder and Capullo are turning back the clock in Batman's origins by treading familiar ground, but want to do it a little differently the New 52. And seeing how we already have most revered Batman origin in current memory by Frank Miller, Batman: Year One, it seems a little dubious and odd for Snyder to want to tread ground most people are familiar with in comics and multi-media (thanks to Chris Nolan's Batman Begins). But what is old is new again, as Snyder and Capullo still make familiar ground enjoyable with little differences here and there.
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)