YA Graphic Novel Review – Batman Vol.4 : Zero Year – Secret City

Central Library’s Library Live volunteer, Eric R. reviews “Batman: Zero Year – Secret City” by Scott Snyder.

A madman known as the Red Hood terrorizes Gotham City, and builds an army of blackmailed citizens into a gang. The Red Hood gang commits a series of horrendous crimes and murders that are so random, they fade out any motive and pattern. The Red Hood plans to use Wayne Enterprise as the final attack on Gotham City. To stop the Red Hood Gang’s terror, Bruce Wayne must learn and strike back with terror himself. He must become something larger, and darker than himself. He must become Batman. He must become the bat…

Batman Vol.4 Zero Year – Secret City tells the story of Bruce Wayne and the path that lead him to become Batman and the protector of Gotham. The genre of the book is comic and fiction action/adventure. The book is a collection of issues in the Zero Year series.  The author of the series are Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV with the artwork by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, and Rafeal Albuquerque.  The series was published by DC Comics and began in June 2013 and ended in July 2014, featuring Batman as the superhero.

The story is meant to redefine the origin of Batman as a fresh story that is unconnected to previous stories of Batman’s origin. Though the story does include the elements that made Bruce Wayne into Batman in Batman: Year One, such as the long absence from Gotham City and the first acts of vigilantism.

The plot begins with Gotham City being destroyed by a flood, and Batman is presumed dead. The first arc of the story titled ‘Secret City’, is set five months before the flood and Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City after his long absence that made him to be declared dead. He disguises himself and fights Red Hood One, and he finds that there is much to learn when fighting masked criminals that are corrupting Gotham. Bruce noticed that the gang leader never shows his face and his henchmen never show there face to each other.

Afterwards, Bruce meets his maternal uncle, Philip Kane, who asks him to take over Wayne Enterprise that was in Bruce’s name but he declined the offer. In a flashback, Bruce’s father gives him a black orb that can be used to show a three-dimensional map inside a building. Edward Nygma, who is Philip’s strategist for Wayne Enterprise, wants him to kill his nephew, Bruce Wayne, to get public sympathy and avoid a power struggle. When Philip refuses to kill his nephew, Edward takes matters in his own hands and hires the Red Hood Gang to murder Bruce. How does Bruce find his destiny and become the bat? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

My favourite character in the book was Red Hood One. He wanted to evolve like Bruce did, when he turned into Batman. Red Hood One is the Joker, and falling into the vat of chemicals was how he turned into the psychotic and twisted criminal mastermind he is in the present. I liked how Scott Snyder portrayed Red Hood One in the story and when he told Bruce his motive for crime. The Joker will forever be Batman’s arch-nemesis and the two will have to fight continuously due to Batman’s unbreakable sense of justice and Joker’s instinct for random chaos. The Joker is one of the most iconic characters in popular culture and also one of the greatest comic book villains and fictional character ever created.

My favourite part of the book was when Batman was born. I don’t want to give too much away, but that was the moment that Gotham City gained a protector who would fight crime at any cost.

The artwork by Greg Capullo and Danny Miki in the book showed their point of view on the city of Gotham with very detailed artwork on the buildings and the general perspective of surroundings when walking in the city. Also, the design for Batman’s first suit was original but included an original bat design on the suit.

In conclusion, the origin story of Batman in this book truly stands out from others and the artwork of Greg Capullo and Danny Miki in the book was fantastic. I would recommend Batman Vol.4 Zero Year – Secret City as a must read for anyone that likes Batman.

Interested? Place a hold on one of our copies here.

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