Okay, so the title is a bit misleading. Not all the Batfamily has had a zero issue so far, and I haven’t picked all the zero issues yet. This will look at five titles though going in “order” of their crime fighting debut: Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood/Outlaws, Batman and Robin. Expect spoilers.
So as stated, lets start off with Batman #0 that Cal C. touched on last week. Basically, I have to agree with Cal from his review. The first story wasn’t bad, getting a look at Bruce’s vigilantism seemingly just before actually putting on the cowl. His mistakes, his dealing with Alfred and more importantly Jim Gordon. Just not a fan of all the tech he starts with, and that this is by far no Batman Year One. Could it end up that way? Maybe, but I highly highly doubt it will even come close. I say that though for this story promises to be continued next year. The face off with the Red Hood gang is just ‘meh’ at the moment though, and the fact that Bruce already seems to have a sizable armory going on so early some reason just ruins things a bit. I mean wasn’t that part of the fun of Year One? The fact that he didn’t have that many gadgets and vehicles at his disposal? The back up story getting a small glimpse at each Robin was really nicely done though.
Nightwing #0 takes a little different approach. Unlike Batman, Batgirl, and at least a slight bit Red Hood, Dick’s story is pretty much a rehashing of his previous one when he becomes Robin. The trapeze sabotage by Zucco, trying to hunt him down and coming across Batman, etc. DeFalco and Higgins run it quite like (excuse the comparison) Bendis’ did with Ultimate Spider-Man. Yeah they rehashed a story told not just in comics but even the 90s Batman cartoon. They do it though by highlighting points, and making a few small tweaks. They even end things with what I think is a nice teaser for next month’s issue.
Moving on to Babs (as it would seem she becomes Batgirl before Dick moves to Nightwing and Jason steps in) we get a story different than her previous Year One. While I really enjoyed her Year One, especially the end when Batman opens up to her, Simone does a very good job giving her a new origin. We get to see her using her brain, exploiting her connection to the police, and more or less by pure accident first becoming Batgirl. Its nicely handled, and nicely wrapped up by Simone and the art team. Shame Simone never managed to sell me on Babs being the current Batgirl.
Up next comes Jason, and those who have seen the cover ignore the fact Starfire and Roy are there as they get nothing in these pages. Most of this is a mopey tale on his childhood, followed by how Jason becomes the latest Robin. Fairly standard and I personally think it works a little better how he got picked up by Batman compared to the previous. The bigger thing that irks me happens to be the follow up story “The Man who Created Red Hood”. This sets up a very different look to the entire Jason life as it paints the Joker having set everything up to make Jason become Robin just so he could kill him later to mess with Batman. He even watches the Bat-family at Jason’s funeral from afar! Personally I don’t know how to feel about this entire thing from clearly pointing out Joker knows exactly who they are, to the idea he actually manipulated Jason into becoming Batman’s Robin. All I know is at this moment, its not sitting well with me.
We finish up with Damian’s story. Nicely written showing Damian’s child hood (and a very cute toddler Damian dressed in the cowl), it ends showing the Batman and Son storyline more or less is still cannon in this new universe. Annoying bit is this doesn’t seem to fit well timeline wise with the rest of things. Not unless Damian’s age was accelerated by a couple years somehow. Ignoring my continuity confusion though, its a good story that ends up connecting to a pre-52 story arc.