DC seems to be doing something right, for the most part, with their new 52’s. However the biggest issue was this 5 year gap they decided on. With Superman, you got this nifty timeline outtake in which we get to see the first steps on one comic and the established hero identity on the other. But with Batman… he’s not only established already, but he’s already gone through the entire Robin gallery up to Damian. Explaining something like this is just never going to be done to everyone’s satisfaction. Careful, minor spoilers ahead.
Enter the zero issues. And to start it up, I wanted to see how Jason Todd’s story was retold on Red Hood and the Outlaws #0.
For the most part, he gets his story untouched. Just a couple of bits here and there that don’t detract from the character but rather foreshadow his fall.
The second story, which is Joker talking about he was involved is so crazy but works as a way to show Joker’s unique madness. There’s something crazier though… how much of what he says is true? You really should pick up this if you are a fan of Jason… or even if not.
It kinda may me glad to read that one, but the truth in a five year period no Robin is going to make an established past of more than a few years. And I dare say that the Robin that has taken a major hit is Tim Drake.
In Teen Titans #0, we find out a lot of things about Tim and… there’s so much erased here. Tim’s parents out of the picture is a different story. So is Tim’s investigations into Batman’s secret identity.
And of course his past as the original Red Robin is retconned. I loved when Tim started this hit list back in the old days pre-new-52’s when he was sure Bruce was alive and was investigating his past using a different identity. His deals with Ra’s Al Ghul. The romance with Tamara Fox that would become a real thing. His detective skills put to the test. Then Bruce showed up and somehow the hit list was absorbed into his planning (although it was really discarded). I wanted to see how far Tim would go with that one.
I do like the idea of him being an athlete to explain how he was really trained when he joined the Bat corps, and the idea of him being Red Robin rather than just Robin… but I haven’t seen him really go detective on Teen Titans. Their dialog borders too much on cool pop references but little substance.
And what about Bats?
Well, we get a rare glance at what Bruce Wayne does as a kid after the murder of his parents. I don’t think it’s going to be much of a spoiler if I tell you they were killed by Joe Chill.
Of course, seeing Bruce as a child detective may be foreshadowing but he gets quite too lucky with his findings… Although let’s face it, he’s got a demon driving him (not literally…).
I would’ve love to see more Alfred here. Dr. Leslie Thompson should also be here. Perhaps a young James Gordon even.
Not all zero issues have the same goal though. For some reason, Justice League #0 decided to continue on the back story of Shazam. I guess it makes sense if he joins the team, since #1 already addressed the heroes’ first encounter. Still, I didn’t see the sense in doing it this way.
Technically, we could have just not have the “zero” and just told the backstory of the character as part of the continuity… Ah! But DC knows their audience. Zero issues used to be part of the Free Comic Day. However, put a price tag and put a zero next to each issue of the new 52’s and in feels like a collectible… everyone will want to have that number.
In the end, zero will cause a bit of reinvention on the current timeline of each comic. Old villains will return. I’ve avoided talking about the actual Batman #0 but that’s one you should really pick up. Definitely will have some bearing on the future of Batman… not to mention Jason… and perhaps the Joker as well.
That wil do for now.