Hello and welcome to the one place where you can never have enough Scott Snyder, the Comic Roundup. This week we enjoy a double dose of Snyder as we look at both part one of the new Batman arc Zero Year and the first issue of the highly anticipated Superman Unchained with Jim Lee. Plus, I throw in some Wolverine and the X-Men just for good measure.
By Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
When word hit that the legendary Batman: Year Once by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli would no longer serve as Batman’s origin in the New 52, fandom was understandably upset. Year One is a classic for a reason and to think it could be changed or improved upon was practically blasphemy. Even with the considerable talents of Snyder and Capullo, could they pull this off? Could they give us a Batman origin for a new millennium?
Oh yes, they most certainly can if part one is even a small indication.
Zero Year picks up shortly after the events of last year’s Batman zero issue and after just a few pages you know this is going to be one hell of a fun story to read. Take everything you think you know, take you memories of Year One and your fondness for that story and store them away in a safe, warm place. Zero Year is absolutely nothing I expected because Snyder has made this his story and no one else’s. He maintains the tone Batman has had since issue one, which means less Frank Miller-esqe noir and more superhero style storytelling, while making everything seem new again. Add in a twist at the very beginning, a pre-Riddler Edward Nygma and the off the charts incredible artwork of Capullo and you have all the makings of an instant classic.
Zero Year is not Year One, and it shouldn’t be. Scott Snyder isn’t Frank Miller and, after reading Batman #21, I can honestly say that makes me very happy. Especially after reading…
Superman Unchained #1
By Scott Snyder and Jim Lee
After almost two years, we finally get the New 52 Superman book we deserve.
Think about it. Action Comics has been an unreadable mess since issue #1 and Superman, while not quite as bad, has suffered from musical creative teams and a lack of direction almost since the start. Now comes along Superman Unchained, written by Batman scribe Snyder and drawn by none other than Jim “I can make any comic look good” Lee.
And it was completely worth the wait.
Superman Unchained is everything you could ever want in a Superman comic and more. Snyder has created a story that not only carries ramifications for the whole DC Universe but has in a single issue made me care about Superman again. This is how I remember the character from when I first started reading DC Comics; strong, powerful and a total bad ass when needed. Precious few writers “get” how to write Superman and in one short issue Snyder has proven he understands Clark Kent and is more than capable of the task.
We all knew that Superman Unchained was going to be a beautiful book to look at. This is Jim Lee we’re talking about here; the man in incapable of drawing something that doesn’t look incredibly awesome. But it’s a relief that the book is also going to be a great read to boot.
Wolverine and the X-Men #31
By Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw
In our only non-Snyder book this week, we have the beginning of the Hellfire Saga in the pages of Wolverine and X-Men. One of the few X-Men titles to survive the Marvel NOW launch pretty much unchanged, it has maintained a mix of creativity, action and humor that has helped make it a personal favorite since issue #1.
But after reading issue #31, I’m starting to have second thought about that last statement.
The issue sees a number of members of Wolverine’s school head off to the new and improved Hellfire Academy in order to see what’s going on and help their Brood classmate Broo. As such, the focus here is squarely on Quentin Quire, my least favorite member of the book’s cast. I haven’t liked him since he first appeared in the Riot at Xavier’s arc in New X-Men back in the day and that hasn’t really changed much over the years. Combined with a story that is a spoof (sort of) of the book’s own first issue and characters appearing as Hellfire Academy teachers that make absolutely no sense and Aaron has a rare misfire here.
On the up side, the art by Bradshaw is really quite good, with clear storytelling and detailed pencils that look even better when matched with the coloring magic of Laura Martin. Plus the final page has a great twist that will have longtime X-Men fans’ jaws hitting the floor.
Maybe it was just this issue. I don’t plan to drop the book quite yet so we’ll see how things go next month; Aaron’s earned that much after 30 solid issues.