This review contains spoilers
Batman #25 is the start of the second phase of Zero Year called “Dark City”. The Riddler has shut off all the power in Gotham, and Bruce Wayne has just become Batman. With the Red Hood Gang seemingly defeated, an old and unexpected villain from the old DCU steps in to cause even more trouble from Batman (as if things couldn’t get any worse). We get the first introduction of the Batmobile, and we also check in on our good friend Harper Row to see what she was up to during Zero Year.
The new (old) Batmobile is fantastic. Scott Snyder seems very intent on bringing back Golden Age staples of Batman: the long forgotten purple gloves are back, along with a modern interpretation of the Batsuit from Detective Comics #27. The “Zero Year” Batmobile is clearly inspired by the red convertible which also appeared in Detective Comics #27, except the colors are modified to make it clash with Batman. The design by Greg Capullo is remarkable and visually appealing. It is a welcome addition into “Zero Year.”
One of the best, yet unexpected parts of this issue is the re-introduction of Doctor Death. Doctor Death was pretty much the first major super villain that Batman ever faced off against, all the way back in Detective Comics #29. He is again an ex-Wayne Industries scientist gone mad. In terms of aesthetics, Doctor Death is vastly different from the original. Greg Capullo really brings the creepy factor in this issue. Doctor Death and his means of operation are just plain frightening. Capullo really nailed the design, and it helps that he can draw really creepy characters thanks to his work on Spawn and album covers for bands like Korn and Disturbed. Doctor Death is easily one of the creepiest characters ever seen in a comic. Kudos to Scott Snyder for bringing him back.
The definition of Nightmare Fuel
James Tynion IV and Andy Clarke also provide a great back-up story about Harper Row. Much like Batman #12, it provides more development of Harper as a character, showing how she became so good at fixing things and how she cares for her brother. Harper is a character with lots of potential and tons of development, lets hope Snyder and friends make good use of her. Andy Clarke did an amazing job on the art. The last few issues he did were pretty mediocre, but he really hit his stride with this story. Just check out the breathtaking two page spread below. This will also be Tynion’s last back-up in Batman, as he moves into working on the new weekly series coming this spring, Batman: Eternal.
Hey look, it’s the tie-in books!
While it is cool to see Doctor Death show up, his introduction comes out of nowhere. After the first few chapters of “Zero Year”, it seemed like The Riddler would be the primary antagonist of the Dark City section. Now it seems like Doctor Death will be the focus in the coming issues (if the covers and solicits are any indication).
Just when “Zero Year” picked up speed with the brilliant Batman #24, it slows down quite a bit in this issue. There is a lot of dialogue and not so much Batman action. Next issue will definitely pick up the pace considering the cliffhanger ending.
Despite slowing down the pace, and changing the direction of the story slighty, Batman #25 is still quite a commendable issue. The introduction of Doctor Death was simultaneously incredibly creepy and nostalgically smart, while the Harper Row back-up story was a great look into her character. This isn’t the best issue of “Zero Year”, but it is still a pretty good one.
Don’t you EVER call me Walrus Breath.
Batman #25 is written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV with pencils by Greg Capullo and Andy Clarke. It is available in print or digitally for $4.99 USD