“Detective Comics #0”
(w) Gregg Hurwitz, (a) Tony S. Daniel
$3.99, 40 pages
REVIEWED BY THOM OBARSKI September 6, 2012
It being Zero Month over at DC I feel like I would be a bad fan if I didn’t pick up at least one #0. “Detective Comics#0” features two stories this month.The main, “The Final Lesson” traces Bruce Wayne’s time training to become The Batman. What starts as an interesting concept with some stellar art and imagery quickly gets bogged down with repetitive dialogue and panels/lines being almost directly lifted from the Ra’s al Ghul scenes of Batman Begins. Bruce falls for a girl in the village in which he is training. He struggles trying to simultaneously balance his feelings for her and memories of his parents with the instruction he is being given by his sensei that, in order to become the man he wants to be, he must first turn his back on everything that makes him human. The plot is obvious, the action minimal (feeling almost obligatory), and the characters lack any depth or subtlety. Also, in a world of Aurora and Baltimore shootings, the main message that closeness, emotion, and familiarity are death is downright deplorable. Batman should be closer to what the sensei’s wife instructs: calculating, tempered, and a full person. He is a hero because in the face of darkness he can make the tough decision and rise above the implications, not because there’s nothing left for him to love or sacrifice.
The Zero Issues main focus is to fill in shadows of origin, back story, or character that were intentionally left open-ended or blank at the start of the New 52 reboot last year. This was generally applauded, as it allowed for New 52 titles to hit the ground running while neither overwhelming new readers nor pissing off returning fans with as many Year 1 origin stories. However, since the initial fade of excitement, the entire line has been plagued with issues of people still wanting continuity to the old world and stories as well as between the individual titles to create a cohesive universe. While I agree that Zero Month is a great way to build back up some of that hype, it will again be unsustainable if the individual titles don’t attempt to do greater than to put out more of the same.
The Bat family is currently diluted between a dozen different titles. Unfortunately, DC Comics titular book, which should be the center piece of the entire line, has consistently been the weakest of the Bat-books and has failed to re-spark any kind of excitement for me personally. Sure, there will always be people that keep reading and give any Batman book a pass simply because it has Bats on the cover. However, if that book flys directly in the face of what you find admirable about the character in the first place, contains poor writing and borrowed storylines, then you are allowing the publisher to bank merely on old memories and familiar imagery. And that is the most disingenuous thing about “Detective #0.”