This is it. Over one year later, we have reached it. This is the finale for Scott Snyder’s Zero Year. It’s been one hell of a roller-coaster ride from beginning to end, with lots of twists and turns. Batman faced down the Red Hood Gang, Dr. Death, and now he gets ready to stop the Riddler. Who will win? …Well… it’s obvious who will win since this is a prequel/origin story and stuff. However, how will it all go down? Is it good?
Batman #33 (DC Comics)
The Riddler springs his final trap on Batman, a set of riddles that he must answer if he wants to finally stop everything and turn power back on in the city, and also stop the military jets from blowing the place up to kingdom come. The riddles are complex and Batman is set up in a situation where all he can do is use his brains. Can Batman win?!
Lasers make every game better.
Like I said at the start, this has been a long time coming. At 14 issues long (I’m including the Villain’s Month issue in this as well), Zero Year was exciting, thrilling, and sometimes tiring and a bit boring. Most of the time though, the story was very enjoyable. As far as the finale goes, I would say it was solid and very well done. It did not end as strongly as say Secret City (the first third of the book) did, but I found it to be a highly enjoyable and wonderful finale.
The story was very tense and engaging, watching Batman match wits with the Riddler as Gordon and Lucius in background try to figure out how to stop the jets and make contact with them. Nothing about it felt slow or drawn out like in some previous issues. It was dialogue-heavy at some points, but the dialogue didn’t feel dull or empty. It felt like it had personality and emotion, especially with the Riddler and Alfred talking to Batman, making it feel important and making you want to read it. The only part that I can say may raise some eyebrows or seem questionable is a scene during the epilogue where Bruce talks about something in his past. I can see how people might not like that, but considering how messed up Bruce has always been and combined with some of the glimpses we’ve seen, it sort of makes sense.
How were the characters in this big finale? The characterization here was consistently solid and worked very well here. Bruce Wayne’s development and progression throughout the run has been fantastic, and seeing it get capped off here worked very well in my opinion, watching him slowly become the Batman we all know and love. He definitely feels like he has really changed since the beginning of the entire storyline and seeing him at the end was great (only some minor problems towards the middle of the story with his characterization). Riddler was fantastic, capturing his egotism and personality very well. It’s a bit weird to see him become such a super villain with all of these robots, weather balloons, and such, but it worked. Jim Gordon, Alfred, and Lucius were all great here as well throughout the story, lots of great moments and scenes that really helped defined them.
Snyder’s writing is, as always, very well done. The pacing was solid, much better in previous issues, with it really not having any slow moments until the end. All the big action scenes and the intensity was over by then, so it was fine to slow down and let the audience take everything in. The dialogue was actually pretty good this time (save a few moments or two); even some of the speeches characters made felt like they had emotion or personality to them, not just dry monologues about certain things. There were plenty of great scenes and moments throughout that can make you cheer and feel excited as they happen. It also ended on a great note that really made me smile and should make you feel happy. It all came together very well in the end with the writing here.
And now we come to the artwork by Greg Capullo. What is there left for me to say about it? It was fantastic! The characters look great, with a lot of personality in the way they looked and acted. The layouts were solid and well put together, minus the occasionally waste of page space around the panels (like in the opening). The action and emotion depicted were handled very well, really helping bring the right tone and feel to the scenes. Of course, the coloring by FCO Plascencia deserves mentioning and praise. The coloring really makes the imagery and scenes jump out and feel more alive, like during the Riddler’s laser trap or when Gotham City’s power turns back on. It looks amazing and gives the artwork a big boost in quality.
Is It Good?
Batman #33 is a fantastic and solidly written finale to Zero Year storyline. While it dragged a bit getting here and there were some problems here in the issue itself, it really manages to overcome these problems and truly shine. The writing was great, the characters were well done, and the artwork was absolutely wonderful on almost every level. This issue will set you back an extra dollar this month ($4.99 this time around), but between the many extra pages that extend the length of the comic very well, and the overall quality of the comic itself, it’s worth it. Zero Year ended on a great note and I look forward to where the future of Batmanwill go from here.