After the considerable interruption set upon readers during Villains Month, “Batman” #24 gets right back to “Zero Year” with the first chapter of the latest installment in Batman’s origins. Unlike Villains Month, however, writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo give readers exactly what they want: Batman donning the cape and cowl and kicking ass for the first time.
Batman’s origin has been done to death again and again and again — but not for the relatively new DC Universe. To this point in the “Zero Year” story, Snyder has focused on Bruce Wayne’s struggle for identity and his desire to transform his pain and rage into motivation that can become some sort of positive force. In “Batman” #24, it all comes together seamlessly. Snyder sums it up in Bruce Wayne’s press conference where Wayne struggles to spit out the sentence, “My name is Bruce Wayne.” Following that, however, Bruce spins into his reasons for returning to Gotham City and Snyder proves he has Bruce’s voice completely figured out. This easily could have been the first issue of “Batman” released in September 2011, but as it comes about here, it’s a peek into everything that has shaped the past two years of Scott Snyder’s run with the character.
The issue is 43 pages of lead story filled with bold, loud colors from FCO Plascencia and dynamic Greg Capullo artwork framed by impenetrable darkness from inker Danny Miki. Oranges, yellows, reds, and purples explode around subtle blues and threaten to disburse the black ink, but Capullo and Miki invest way too much energy into building the shadows for them to be spoiled by color. Through that creative energy, Capullo delivers an apt tribute to Bob Kane that is stunning in its reconstruction of Batman’s iconic first appearance. On the whole, Capullo’s art seems more prone to inks and shadow, allowing color in and scaling back in spots from the standard hyper-detailed work he has delivered from start to finish. The detail is still there, visible in the silhouettes of bats protruding from the cave ceiling, bricks on the walls of buildings Batman swings or leaps over, but Capullo almost seems to be acquiescing to the bold colors. The merging of the two come together not unlike McFarlane’s artwork on “Batman Year Two.” This is a stunningly beautiful book that delivers a masterful transitional story of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman.
The final eleven pages drawn by Rafael Albuquerque and co-written by Snyder with James Tynion IV is the comic book equivalent to an extended post-credits scene. The main story is done, the finer details being buttoned up, but Snyder, Tynion and Albuquerque unleash a humdinger of a tease for the next story coming up in “Batman.”
While the seven-dollar price tag is a punch in the wallet, “Batman” #24 is worth the price, giving readers everything they could want in an origin story. It’s a richer experience for readers who have been plugged in to the “Zero Year” tale from the beginning and an even deeper experience for longtime Batfans, but this comic book is top-notch simply taken on its own. “Batman” #24 serves as a nice Bat-sorbet to cleanse frazzled Batfans’ palettes of the Affleck and Villains Month aftertaste. With tributes and tinges of “Batman Year One” and “Killing Joke,” “Batman” #24 delivers an ultimate primer for Batman in the current DC Universe and an incredibly enjoyable story to boot.