I'm starting to sound like a broken record, I know, but I really cannot stress this enough; the Zero Year arc of Batman has been utterly breathtaking from start to finish, and we’ve still got four issues to go. Whenever I pick up the next month’s Batman comic I truly do worry that Snyder and Capullo will drop the ball, that I would be underwhelmed, or that I might stumble on something I just dislike about the issue. I shouldn’t worry about this, because not only have they not disappointed me in the slightest so far, but also because they keep proving my fears wrong as soon as I begin to read. I honestly beg of you; if you are a Batman fan or not, if you buy comics books or not, or just want to read something great, just please buy these. I guarantee (as much as a biased reviewer as I am) that you will not be disappointed.
The issue opens, as many parts of Zero Year have, with a reference to a past event which then fades into the present. This is a tactic I am still enjoying in every issue, and it continues to pay off here, but I’ll be honest; after waiting as long as I have to see ‘what will happen next’, I will focus on the action and ‘big moments’ of this issue. And trust me, Batman #29 has plenty.
Do you remember the vehicles in The Dark Knight Trilogy? Good. Now d’you remember how each one is unveiled in an incredibly dramatic and awesome way? Good. Now let me tell you two words that could well shock even the people who loved the Tumbler, the Batpod and the Bat. Those words? ‘Bat’ and ‘blimp’. Yep, you heard me. Even Alfred is astounded at this beautiful beast that Bruce employs: “A Bat Blimp sir? Really.” Yes Alfred, really. Not only is this vehicle absolutely incredible alone, but it is described with these two lines, firstly Commissioner Loeb saying the famous line: “It’s the goddamn Batman!” and secondly Bruce saying in the snarky way that I’ve come to enjoy in this younger Batman: “And yes, it was already black.” The Dark Knight Trilogy is what got me into Batman, and to have a line like this truly sold me as a reader.
Batman #29 also features an incredible sequence of Batman somehow successfully making enormous leap of faith of 70 feet with a grapple gun that only reaches 50 feet away from his now-crashing Bat-Blimp. More important than Batman making this jump, because come on, he always would, he’s Batman, is that we see Bruce doubt himself. How often do we see Bruce genuinely scared? I don’t mean fear-toxin scared, tortured to madness scared, but a fear of death that we see in this young, inexperienced and not battle-hardened Batman. This issue reminded me why I love comic books, and specifically why I love Batman. He may be a badass, but he’s still one of us. This leap is also outstandingly well illustrated, inked and coloured. A single-page spread of the silhouette of Batman against a navy and pink sky illuminated by an enormous bolt of lightning? Yes please.
I’m running short of words in this review, and I’ve not even touched on the horrifying fight sequence between Batman and the now officially-titled Doctor Death atop the Riddler’s air balloon, the neon green scene of quiet between Gordon and the Riddler, and (spoiler alert, because this is a big one) Batman admitting that he has failed Gordon and failed his city.
Bring on #30, and fast.
Reviewed by Josh Clayton