Many of the elements established in past chapters of “Zero Year” further converge in “Batman” #27 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, as the “Dark City” sub-arc continues. It’s more character interaction than story progression this time around, as Snyder spends most of the issue focusing on Batman’s early and contentious relationship with the still-corrupt Gotham City police department, and the gradually thawing one between Bats and still-Lieutenant Jim Gordon. There’s also some advancement of the evolving relationship between Bruce and Alfred.
The story doesn’t really suffer for all the character exploration, but this is nonetheless a somewhat atypical issue because of it. Snyder spends no less than six pages with a very verbose flashback narrative, in a rare situation where Gordon actually gets that lengthy an opportunity to converse with Batman before he disappears while Gordon’s still talking. It’s worthwhile and revealing explanation of Gordon’s own unique dealings with the GCPD, and gives a convincing origin of Gordon’s motives and current actions. It just might also establish why the modern-day Batman ducks out while Gordon’s still blathering.
That sequence immediately is followed by a shorter but no less loquacious discussion between Alfred and Bruce, and highlights the tension that still exists between the two ever since Wayne’s return to Gotham. This tension adds an interesting dynamic between the two men at a time when their relationship wasn’t as harmonious, as it’s unexpected in the era between the pseudo-father/son relationship they had when Bruce was an orphaned boy, and the present day where the two have a well-established trust. It’s kind of uncomfortable, but Snyder provides good reason for there to be a slight conflict of minds.
It’s not all about extended conversations, though; Snyder provides an extended and intense opening action scene that picks up from last issue, where the GCPD closes in on Batman and actually gives him a pretty tough fight. It’s an excellent sequence that shows the corrupted mindset, lack of morals, and outright brutality of Gotham’s so-called protectors. It’s beautifully laid and drawn by Capullo and inker Danny Miki, and enhanced by FCO Plascencia with the usual shades of vibrant colors that have become part of the signature look of the “Zero Year” storyline. And as has become customary for the story, Capullo throws in a couple of iconic-looking tributes to past Batman artists.
The final segment of the issue brings some progress, as Batman closes in on last issue’s villain only to discover a far bigger threat. While the entirety of the issue has a more laid-back kind of feel, both Snyder and Capullo keep the atmosphere energized, both literally and figuratively, as the rain starts to fall in Gotham with the impending approach of an unprecedented super-storm that’s been an ongoing part of the story. It’s also suggested that there’s more to this storm than previously revealed, which is right in line with the kind of surprises that Snyder has been delivering throughout this story.
“Batman” #27 is a solid effort by all creators involved, even letter Steve Wands, who likely had to put in some long hours to get this one to the printer. “Zero Year” continues to expand the history behind Batman’s origin, as well as that of the supporting cast, and it continues to be a fresh story that surprises.