Thank God Alfred Pennyworth never answered the front door when Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo came a calling. Because if he did, it's entirely possible Bruce Wayne would have labelled his alter-ego 'Captain Jehovah' instead of 'Batman'. Offf! Close shave, Publisher: DC Comics, sometime in July, 2013. Hallelujah!!!

Using GENERAL terms, answer the following 5 questions about this THIRD PART of 'Zero Year'.
  • WHAT'S THE MAIN THRUST OF THIS TALE: After he receives a savage beating from the Red Hood gang, a banged up Bruce Wayne has to make it out of his burning apartment alive and try to find shelter.
  • ARE THE MAIN OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED: Yeah. Thanks to Alfred everything does turn out spick and spam at the end of the day.
  • ANYTHING ELSE HAPPEN: Uncle Philip and Edward Nigma face off at Wayne Tower.
  • HOW DOES THIS STORY END: With a legend being born.
  • WHAT'S THE BACK-UP FEATURE ABOUT: In this tale of times past, a 24 year old Bruce Wayne learns how to use fear a weapon, within an arena located somewhere in deepest darkest Norway.

All in all, what is the most memorable SENTENCE OR CONVERSATION spoken in this issue?
Honest to God, I had a lump in my throat when I read that heartfelt yet timorous scene between Alfred and Bruce, where the amazing Mister Pennyworth said to him...

'You know, when it happened... when your parents were shot, I remember being at the hospital they were taken to afterwards. I remember talking to the doctors. And he told me, he told me that even if they'd been shot at the hospital, in the cardiac ward, the severity of their wounds would still have been lethal. The thing is, I was on the battlefield, Bruce, and I was good. There were times when I was sure... no, when everyone was sure that someone was done for and... and I was able to. What I am trying to say is that we might disagree, we might fight. But no matter what, I'll always be there to patch you up. That much I promise'.

Booo-Hooooo! Somebody pass me a bloody hanky will you!! I think I'm going to start blubbing again!!!  

What are the BEST bits about this issue?
(+) Simply put, this issue of 'Batman' was like being stranded on a nudist beach full of nymphomaniac porn stars wanting to fool around. Honestly. The art was both clear and poignant. Plus the overall tale was both eloquent and a pleasure to follow. Good on you Scott and Gregg. Thanks for yet another smashing instalment.  
(+) I thought that scene between Uncle Philip and Edward Nigma was so suspenseful in tone, that in many ways it reminded me of one of those old school showdowns you'll find in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Amazing. Really amazing. As it threw up so many questions and answers, I'm not entirely sure how this plotline with resolve itself in the future.
(+) Another scene I thought was just outstanding was the one I referred to up above. The one between Alfred and Bruce. I mean, what's not to like about that? In a couple of pages it just summed up Bruce's relationship with Alfred to a tea. A Knight and his faithful aide, ready to do battle with the forces of evil.
(+) Now I'm sitting on the fence where this month's back-up feature is concerned. I liked the concept behind the tale in itself, yet, the artwork was a bit too granny for my own tastes, plus the token teacher wasn't properly defined as a character in her own right.  50 / 50 at best.

What are the WORST bits about this issue?
(-) After thinking long and hard how I was going to answer this question, folk's, the only thing that I can come up with is that in some way this tale cancels out a certain fantastic scene between Bruce and Selina in 'Batman: Year One'. You know. The scene where they go at it hammers and tongs upon the streets of Gotham City. Plus that scene back at Wayne Manor, where a bat crashes through the window whilst Bruce holds a bell to call Alfred with. Hmm. What a shame.    

Choose TWO CHARACTERS out of this comic book, and then compare them to A REAL-LIFE HISTORICAL FIGURE.
FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE AS ALFRED PENNYWORTH: Do I honestly have to write anything here to explain to you why this helpful lady is like this helpful butler? No. I didn't think so either.

KING ARTHUR AS BRUCE WAYNE: Well, he was a knight, wasn't he? Plus he did defend his kingdom from any flipping f*ck-heads that wanted to invade medieval Britain.

What QUOTE would be appropriate to sum-up this story?
'That's it. I shall become a bat' -- Bruce Wayne

What SONG, THEME-TUNE, or MELODY, would complement this tale, as well as add and extra dimension to it by default?
'KISS FROM A ROSE' BY SEAL: Again, I should not have to tell you why I'm comparing this tune to this tale. If you know anything about Batman -- and I mean anything -- you damn well know why. Nuff said.

OK. So if Batman and Robin are called 'The Dynamic Duo', how would you sum up Alfred's relationship with Bruce? Could it be something like...

  • The Wholesome Twosome -- Oh, yuck!
  • The Lord and His Master -- I'm not sure which one is which though.
  • The Crusading Combo -- Nah! That sounds like a sandwich.
  • The Dashing Duo -- What is this? A cologne?
  • The Powerful Partnership -- Or is it a corporation?
  • The Caring Couplet -- Isn't that a ballet move?
  • The Brit and The Yank -- C*nt!
  • The Surely One And The Miserable One -- !?!?!?!?!?!
  • The Munch Bunch -- Hmm? I'm hungry now.

Anyway. That's enough of my cr*p for this month. All I help left to say is that this issue of 'Batman' was right on the money for yours truly. The art was superb. The story kicked it to the curb. And the only thing that let it down was a couple of continuity snafus.  

Say no more.

BATMAN #23 BATMAN #23 Reviewed by David Andrews on August 26, 2013 Rating: 5
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