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Batman #32

Review by Paul Bowler

The endgame draws near in Batman #32, the penultimate issue of Zero Year, as Batman sets out to take back control of Gotham City from the Riddler. Having survived the chaos unleashed by the Riddler during the superstorm Batman, along with new allies Lieutenant Gordon and Lucius Fox, worked together to track the source of the Riddlers signal during his daily address to the city. Now, as Batman closes in on the Riddler, the Dark Knight must face the most deadly riddle of all as the final battle for Gotham City begins…

As the final act of Zero Year unfolds, Savage City continues Scott Snyders and Greg Capullos epic reimagining of Bruce Wayne’s early career as Batman. Weaving a compelling blend of classic and modern elements from the characters seventy five year mythology, Zero Year has brought an entirely new perspective to the many pivotal, and defining moments of Bruce Wayne’s life, while also effectively modernizing the Dark Knight’s origin within the framework of DC Comics New 52. Batman #32 continues to build on the uncanny symbiosis between the past and present that Zero Year has established, as this penultimate issue of Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s sweeping epic takes Batman’s conflict with the Riddler to a whole new level as Zero Year comes full circle to present the Dark Knight with his greatest challenge of all.

Having traced the Riddler’s signal from the screen in Gotham square, Batman and his allies prepare to make their move on Nygma. The flooded urban wilderness of Gotham City also provides the perfect cover for their mission, with Gordon and the Special Ops SEALS using the tunnels to their advantage, Batman also takes an equally stealth route, while Lucius Fox monitors their progress and relays instructions. However, the Riddler’s network of automated drones and robot weapons systems are everywhere. With Gotham’s fate now hanging by a thread, Batman must use all his skills to find the Riddler, but as the web of puzzles begins to tighten Nygma is ready to taunt the Dark Knight every step of the way.

Batman #32 Cover

Over the course of Zero Year we have witnessed events unfold as Bruce returned to Gotham after his years of training. Its been fascinating to see this brash, arrogant young man, embark on his crime fighting career, he’s had some tough lessons to learn along the way, arguing with Alfred and locking horns with Lieutenant Gordon, while the trauma of his parents murder continues impact on his actions. There have been crushing defeats along the way too, but perhaps the most important lesson of all has been for Bruce to finally realize that he can’t do it all. He needs allies, and it’s been fascinating to see Bruce overcome his differences with Lieutenant Gordon and begin working with Lucius Fox. Indeed, Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox both have pivotal roles to play in Batman #32, especially Lucius, and his scenes with Batman are excellent.

Similarly, I think the way Scott Snyder eloquently shifts the focus of this issue to the bond Bruce has with Alfred, is brilliantly handled, as we arrive at what proves to be the most significant moment in Zero Year so far. Snyder’s writing here will simply blow you away; he captures and bottles the very essence of what Batman is all about in one, superbly crafted scene that will have you hanging on every word, every step, and every narrative beat as the conclusion approaches.

Greg Capullos art is as incredible as ever, Batman #32 looks amazing. The combination of Capullo art and Danny Miki’s inks works wonders this issue, from the underground tunnels, to the shadowy depths of an elevator shaft, the Riddler’s robot drones are another highlight, as is the depiction of a ravaged, overgrown, Gotham City, Batman #32 perfectly captures every nuance of Snyder’s work, and FCO Plascencias colors are really stunning, with superb tones and textures throughout. Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, and FCO have really pulled out all the stops for this issue, and those last few pages will take your breath away!

Batman #32 is an exciting, action packed issue, and sets the stage for the Zero Year finale. The way Scott Snyder leads up to this so ingenious, that it will have your jaw hitting the floor with the sheer ingenuity of it all. Greg Capullo’s cover for this issue is also really striking, with Batman snared in the strands of the Nygma’s web, which in turn is suspended within a question mark, while a swathe of purple bisects the cover as the Riddler looks on. Batman #32 also has a Biker Batman variant cover by Tony Moore, a must for those who enjoyed Batman’s dramatic entrance from last issue. Batman #32 was a great issue, it keep me guessing right up until the final page, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the epic conclusion of Zero Year!