Scott Snyder should most definitely be flying high after the finish to his epic Zero Year run. It was a fantastic year long ride that gave us a new foundation for a more adventurous, risk-taking New 52 Batman that can truly wow us. Now, alongside Gerry Duggan, Snyder’s looking towards the future or, more accurately, the present in this new issue of Batman.
The great thing about #34 is that, even if it just does so as a footnote, catches up to the happenings in present day Gotham as depicted in the weekly series, Batman Eternal. With the recent Penguin/Falcone gang war, Jim Gordon framed for murder, the Joker still on the loose and all other manner of horrors threatening to consume Gotham, its’s easy to see how Bats may not find time for the everyday citizen on the street. And make no mistake, the everyday citizen has their share of trouble waiting for them out there in the form of a serial killer. This is mainly a one-shot outing where the Caped Crusader gets right down to a little old school detective shit which is always an awesome fit.
The only real problem is that I wish it tied into the Eternal just a little more. It’s a great story that shows off what Snyder and Duggan do well as far as quirkiness goes, but perhaps a bit more showing than telling in regards to the happenings in Gotham would have been nice. Matteo Scalera’s artwork has carried on the torch in place of Greg Capullo and, despite two drastically different styles, Scalera is still a great choice as successor to the throne. His approach to shadows makes all the difference in making a truly atmospheric murder mystery. Too bad he couldn’t have lent his services to last week’s issue of Eternal.
Bottom Line: Zero Year set a great tone that leaves readers able to look at the Batman in this issue through different eyes. A great standalone issue that gives us a delicious taste of things to come from Snyder and Co. 8.5 out of 10.