Comics and Cosplay: Comics Collection for May/June 2014

Stew Shearer | 26 Jun 2014 22:00
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Batman: Year Zero Volume 1: Secret City

When DC introduced its New 52 reboot, not every hero got a brand-new origin story. Characters like Batman and Green Lantern were already established from previous books, so creators just picked up where the old canon left off and assumed readers would notice any subtle changes. Year Zero is DC's first attempt to tell a New 52 origin after the fact, referencing New 52 events from The Court of Owls to Death of the Family along the way. Does it explain how Batman was able to raise and train four Robins in a mere five years? No. But thankfully it gets everything else right, fleshing out the early years of Scott Synder's Batman while paying tribute to classics like Batman: Year One and The Killing Joke.

After faking his death years prior, Bruce Wayne is a faceless vigilante, adopting countless alter egos in his endless war on crime. But when the Red Hood Gang and its charismatic leader introduce costumed super-villainy to Gotham, Bruce realizes he needs his own frightening persona to strike fear into his opponents. It's a nice step beyond the usual "parents die, train, become a bat" checklist, implying that Batman exists because of Gotham's rogues gallery instead of the other way around. On top of that, while Volume 1 is a perfectly adequate standalone Batman origin, its surprise cliffhanger introduces a game changer that raises the stakes exponentially for Volume 2.

-Marshall

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