Batman Eternal was a year-long celebrations of Batman. You have 52 weeks and 52 issues of pure Batman mythos that can never be forgotten! But of course, it’s not the only year-long Batman special to exist. We’ve also got Batman Zero Year, and boy if you thought Batman Eternal was something, then wait till you get a load of this.
Ever wondered what it was like for Bruce Wayne when he started? Sure there’s a lot of talk about what he did to get to the level he is at. Few people stop and think about his growth and eventual emergence as the Dark Knight? Batman Zero Year covers that, and in great detail.
It’s raw, it’s rookie levels, and it’s Batman like you’ve never seen him before. Technically, he hasn’t even been Batman at this point.
Batman Zero Year: Overview
It’s only been six weeks since Bruce Wayne, heir to Wayne Legacy and Wayne Legacy, returned to Gotham after a hiatus. Deep down, he is still hurting from his parent’s murder and wants to do something productive about it.
Little wonder when he finds that the Red Hood Gang is running riots in downtown Gotham, he is instantly pressed to stop them. Bruce moves out of Wayne Manor and into a brownstone on Park Row. This location sets up the show and monitors the gang, to infiltrate them.
Most people in their first year on something usually try to ease themselves into the processes. Not Batman. Instead, he decides to take the matter into his own hands, fighting crime and removing the dirt from his beloved city. Batman Zero Year is a spin-off of the epic Batman #0 and is a first-year to remember unlike any other.
History of Batman Zero Year
Origin stories can be fun. In fact, they are held closely by the hearts of readers. It’s a concept as old as time, and it possesses a working formula, so it’s quite understandable when publishing companies try and try this angle. However, where some origin stories are super relatable, you feel that the whole idea is overused and cliche at this point.
But Batman Zero Year is none of that. The story was fresh and had a few tricks up its sleeve, engaging readers all through. It was split into three parts; Secret City, Dark City, and Savage City.
Batman Zero Year: Overview
After his long stay away from the city, Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham that took his parents from him. Still grieving, he commits himself to Arkham Asylum, where he is almost administered a form of therapy involving electricity that would have seen him erase his entire identity. However, he reconsiders it last minute and keeps it a secret from Alfred.
We are introduced to his uncle, Phillip Kane, who is in charge of Wayne Enterprises. He was assisted by a strategist names Edward Nygma, who advised him to get Bruce back to the company.
Bruce declined, and Edward Nygma suggested that Kane have him killed. Bruce was more concerned with the Red Hood Gang, and he sought to remain off the grid, much to his uncle’s displeasure. He also found out that some of WayneTech’s high-tech weapons were getting into the hands of the Red Hood Gang through his uncle.
Unfortunately, events see Bruce’s Park Row Brownstone home blown up by the gangs, with Bruce inside. It is believed he died, but Bruce survived, ending up in the underground tunnels which he found led to the caves under Wayne Manor.
In his father’s study, he discovers a mapping device that projects an image of the cave below the manor and the bats in there. Seeing the bats, he becomes inspired to take on their appearance.
Further events inform us about the Red Hood Gang using blackmail to recruit new members and make them commit crimes. Phillip Kane is one of such members, but when he realized Bruce didn’t die, he comes clean to his nephew. In response, Bruce held a press conference outside the ACE Chemical plant to expose the Red Hood Gang’s plans.
The gang attempted to cause a disruption, with Bruce and Jim Gordon ducking inside the plant for cover. Bruce gets confronted by the Red Hood leader, and it is then that he reveals his first Batsuit after causing a power outage.
During their fight, he knocks the leader into a vat of chemicals. Despite this victory, an EMP detonation soon removed power from the entire city, with Edward Nygma taking responsibility under The Riddler’s name. He warned the citizens that power would not be restored unless he could be outsmarted.
Meanwhile, Bruce is tagged as a vigilante by the then Commissioner Loeb and tells other police officers to arrest Batman when they see him. However, the new superhero was too busy investigating the murders apparently committed by Dr. Karl Helfern, who had formerly worked with Waynetech.
He also tried to stop the Riddler, so he begins work on a jammer to prevent the Riddler from attacking again, should the power be restored. Finding Helfern a formidable opponent, Batman is forced to work with Jim Gordon; however, he does not trust him.
With Gordon’s help, Batman determined the location of the Riddler’s hideout. The plan was simple, hope to answer the riddle, planting the jammer, and putting a stop to the plan to take control of the entire city’s power grid. While Jim confronted the Riddler and failed, Batman confronted Helfern, and the jammer was destroyed.
At that moment, the police efforts to restore power succeeded, inadvertently delivering control of the grid to Nygma, who then flooded the city and shut off the power permanently.
Having been unconscious for months, Bruce woke to find the city overgrown and in chaos. With the Riddler in full control, he constantly challenging the citizens to stump him with a riddle. He wanted them to prove they were smart enough to earn civilization.
Jim Gordon had been trying to get help from outside the city but only received a six-man tactical team. They really were on a mission to cut a deal with the Riddler not to end him. He refuses and attempts to have them all killed, but Batman saves them.
Eventually, they end up at the museum, where the Riddler arranges for an air-strike to be launched against Gotham. To stop the airstrike, he would need to solve a series of riddles on a life-sized board game. He manages to solve a few, but the last answer doesn’t satisfy the Riddler. By that time, Lucius Fox had managed to trace and block the Riddler’s signals, Batman took him down.
However, the signal to call off the air-strike was linked to Nygma’s heart. To shut it off he would have to use thousands of volts of electricity – which would kill most men. Bruce took the device and let the current flow through himself, stopping both his heart and the air-strike. When Alfred resuscitated him, the power returned to the city as well.
Aftermath of Batman Zero Year
As time went on, Bruce Wayne worked with Lucius Fox to restore the Goodwill of Wayne Enterprises. Jim Gordon was made Police Commissioner, and Edward Nygma was arrested and placed into Arkham Asylum. Bruce informs Alfred of his time at Arkham. He then makes up his mind to remain as Batman to protect Gotham.