We are now in the second week of DC Comics’ “Zero Month,” showcasing stories from their characters’ pasts. This week was a little light for my reading pile, but there were still some solid Bat-books. After September wraps up I am thinking of introducing a new comic book review format that will include Marvel Comics and the independent publishers. Cheers!
*Note – There are a number of books with zero issues this week that I just choose not to read out of respect for good storytelling. These include: Deathstroke, Grifter, Resurrection Man, Suicide Squad and Superboy. Some of these books have great characters who are being held hostage by horrible creative teams. I pray that these characters are released someday soon to writers and artists who will respect them. 🙂
Batgirl #0 – Writer: Gail Simone, Artist: Ed Benes
Gail Simone is certainly a talented writer and is hands down the woman to be handling Barbara Gordon right now. Like her issues leading up to this point however, Batgirl #0 has a lot of heart but feels like it is missing something. We get an introduction to the Gordon household of “The New 52,” as well as Babs’ first caped adventure. Former Birds of Prey collaborator Ed Benes handles the pencils and inks, which is a step up from series regular Ardian Syaf. I’m not a fan of Ulises Arreola’s colors though, they’re too washed out and faded for an action book. This story was good, but could’ve benefited from another issue or two.
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5 Stars
Batman #0 – Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Greg Capullo
Scott Snyder brings us another great Batman story that takes place in what he describes as “an unseen pocket of Year One.” We get to see Bruce at work without the bat suit as he comes to blows with the infamous Red Hood Gang – drawn grittily by Capullo. It seems that Snyder is going to pick this story back up at some point in 2013, and I’m all for it. I never thought that I’d like a back-up feature more than the main story, but this month’s was phenomenal. James Tynion IV wrote a tale of Batman’s impact on certain individuals in Gotham, including three boys who would one day fight alongside the Dark Knight. This was a pleasant surprise of a story and I hope to see more like them in future back-ups.
Final Grade: ★★★★ 4/5 Stars
Batman & Robin #0 – Writer: Pete Tomasi, Artist: Patrick Gleason
A lot of old Batman continuity doesn’t gel in “The New 52” universe, but Pete Tomasi proves time and again that he is trying his hardest to remain faithful to it (especially Grant Morrison’s Batman work.) Part of this may be due to the fact that the Robin in Batman & Robin is a creation of Morrison’s. We see Damian’s journey from the moment of his birth right up to his first appearance in Morrison’s Batman & Son arc. I could have done without the replication of scenes from Batman & Son, but I see why they were included. Patrick Gleason’s pencils on the book are strong as usual, including a panel where little boy Damian was wearing Big Man Batman’s cowl; it was tragically adorable. Sorry, it just really was.
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5 Stars
Green Lantern Corps #0 Writer: Pete Tomasi Artist: Fernando Pasarin
I dropped Pete Tomasi’s “New 52” Green Lantern Corps series pretty quickly, feeling that it had lost some of the gusto that past Tomasi Green Lantern books had. But the zero issue focused on Guy Gardner, who is everyone’s favorite Earth Lantern to hate, so I gave it a whirl. Gardner’s origin before the reboot was a bit of a mess, so I have no problem with Tomasi cleaning it up a bit. Gardner is now the screw-up middle child of a family of Baltimore cops seeking approval from daddy. Sounds about right; I do miss the Michigan Football background however. Fernando Pasarin’s pencils are standard, which is a compliment in a world of artists rushing their work to meet “New 52” deadlines.
Final Grade: ★★★3/5 Stars
P.S. – Other excellent reads this week are Marvel Comics’ Uncanny X-Force #31 by Rick Remender and Punk Rock Jesus #3 published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, written and drawn by Sean Murphy.