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DC Zero Issues Review, Week 3, Part 2
Zero Month Reviews Continue
By Tim Janson
September 25, 2012
To mark the one year anniversary of DC Comic’s New 52, September has been tabbed as Zero Month. The New 52 titles will be getting #0 numbered issues all month featuring stand-alone stories that tell the origins of a character or team, or offer surprising new details about the New 52 Universe. Today we’re looking at some of the heavy hitters, Justice League, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern New Guardians, Captain Atom, and Blue Beetle.
Written By: Tom Defalco, Kyle Higgins
Art by: Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira
The cover might say Nightwing #0 but the story actually tells the origin of Robin (Dick Grayson). It replays the events that led to the deaths of his parents in a sabotaged trapeze accident by a mobster. Dick comes under the care of Bruce Wayne. Bruce does feel sympathy for the young, now orphaned youth but perhaps even more importantly Bruce sees something in the youth, a trait he also possesses. Bruce keeps an eye on Dick even as he slips out late at night to try and track down his parent’s killer.
Against Alfred’s protestations, and because Dick was able to recognize that he was Batman, Bruce brings him into the life once he determines what Dick intends to do once he tracks down the murderer. Once he determines that, he begins to train Dick and hone his skills.
Dick’s eventual turn to Robin comes off a little hackneyed…Batman is in trouble so Robin rushes to the rescue…and against a third-rate villain at that, but it’s all meant to lead into the current storyline in Nightwing so…I’m not sure this story adds much to Dick Grayson’s background, unlike what we’ve seen in some of the Batman zero issues. Heavy-handed and pedestrian. The art is better than average but it doesn’t dazzle you.
Birds of Prey #0
Written by: Duane Swierczynski
Art by: Romano Molenaar, Vicente Cifuentes
Birds of Prey primarily concentrates on Black Canary but also features appearances by Batgirl and Starling. The Black Canary goes undercover to join the Penguin’s criminal organization as a meta-human bodyguard. After proving herself she’s put on security detail along with Starling and looking to find out information about a deal the Penguin has coming up with the terrorist organization, Basilisk.
However as the deal is about to go down, Batgirl crashes the party, upsetting Black Canary’s plans. So we have our usual hero vs. hero misunderstanding fight until they discover they are both working on the same side. I quite enjoyed Birds of Prey #0. I think the continuity is somewhat flunky as I thought even in the new DCU Diana Lance new Barbara Gordon when she was paralyzed…which she is clearly not here but I guess I’m wrong on that point.
Black Canary was always one of my favorite female characters at DC so it’s nice to see her in a frontline role, utilizing all of her skills as a crime fighter. The book had fabulous art from Molenaar and Cifuentes and I particularly liked how they choreographed the fight scene between Black Canary and Batgirl. It was great action and laid out in a very fluid, cinematic way. And Stanley Lau contributed a gorgeous cover as well.
DC Universe Presents #0
Written by: Various
Art by: Various
What happens when your regular title gets canceled? You end up in an anthology title. Four of the five features included in DC Presents #0 were part of the first wave of the New 52 but were canceled less than a year into their runs. These include Omac, Mr. Terrific, Hawk & Dove, The Blackhawks, along with Deadman. I suspect that these stories may have already been “in the bag” before their cancelations so DCU Presents #0 was the obvious spot to place them.
I frankly don’t care much about Mr. Terrific, who simply seems like a poor man’s Batman, or Blackhawks who is essentially DC’s version of S.H.I.E.L.D. I suspect most of you feel the same way which is why their titles were canceled. OMAC is interesting more because it sheds a little light on Brother Eye’s creation and sentience. When it comes right down to it, Brother Eye is more interesting than the modern OMAC. I enjoy Keith Giffen’s art, especially when he does his Jack Kirby impersonation as he does here.
Hawk and Dove’s story was a compelling as it was told through the eyes of Peace, Goddess of Order and War, God of Chaos. War accuses Peace of manipulating the meeting between the Hall Brothers and Dawn Granger. Wow! A Rob Liefeld story I actually liked? Stop the presses!
Finally my favorite feature, Deadman. Boston Brand is a great character and one who has always been underutilized and utilized incorrectly. This tale picks up right after Brand was turned into the Deadman and enters the body of a two-bit mobster only to discover it’s the same man responsible for his death. Tony Bedard wrote the story and its quirky with a dark sense of humor.
Obviously this is a mixed bag as anthologies tend to be. I’ll give a nod to the stories featuring OMAC, Deadman, and Hawk and Dove. If you care about those three then it’s worth the $5.99.
Written by: J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman
Art by: J.H. Williams III
I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the history of comics and yet I sheepishly admit that I had no idea Batwoman dates all the way back to 1956. Supposedly, Batwoman was brought in as a love interest for Batman to disprove the allegations of homosexuality made by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham in his infamous book Seduction of the Innocent in 1954.
The zero issue relates Kathy Kane’s life from childhood to present day and the tragic and traumatic events that saw her lose both her mother and twin sister and eventually take up the mantle of Batwoman. There’s very little dialog in the book, most of it being told in first person narration by Kane and Williams and Blackman convey the pain of her youth to the ready and it hits you like a gut punch. And you think Bruce Wayne had it bad…at least he’s rich!
Love the art by Williams! Beautiful and emotional and one of my favorite Zero issues so far just because of the art. While I’m not sure the world needs a Batgirl and Batwoman, I’m willing to give this a chance if this creative team remains on the title.
Written by: Ann Nocenti
Art by: Adriana meo, Julio Ferreira
Wow talk about a character with a tangled origins, it might not get any worse than Catwoman who has undergone numerous changes since making her first appearance back in 1940. While the new ongoing series has focused on Catwoman’s early days, it hasn’t touched a whole lot on her past, until now. Nocenti maintains events which were first covered in the previous Catwoman series (Volume 2) of the 1990s. It shows Selina Kyle growing up in a series of group homes but already finding thievery to her liking.
When she bites off more than she can chew she finds herself beaten and bloody in an alley when a mysterious man comes to her aid. He offers to get her a job and follows through as soon Selina is working in a posh office and a dream job. But she’s determined to learn about her past and find the brother she lost long ago. But someone is determined to keep her past a secret even if it means killing her. But that doesn’t prepare Selina for the shocking revelation that could change everything we know about Catwoman.
Nocenti is a tremendous pro and she is especially adept at these gritty, street-level stories as proven during his classic run on Daredevil. Nocenti is particularly good at displaying a character’s insecurities as she does here with Selina who is determined to never again want for anything which turns her to her life of crime.